It is a statistical fact that the average high-school athlete will go through his/her entire prep career without going to state even once.
It’s because many athletes play a year of freshman ball, then a year of JV, followed by a couple years on the varsity. That leaves only a two-year window for reaching the postseason. In addition, in an eight-team conference, probably only two teams will make it to state and finally there are some programs that simply aren’t very good year after year.
Bianca Castillo doesn’t have to worry about any of that. The junior guard from Flowing Wells is firmly ensconced in a monster basketball program, one that not only goes to state every year, but has actually reached the Class 5A State championship the past two seasons. It’s a good feeling knowing that you and your teammates won’t have to sweat out the vagaries of the AIA Power Point system. But being part of a monster program also carries with it the expectation to maintain a level of excellence in both practice and in games.
“I’m really happy to be part of this,” she says. “Basketball is all I’ve ever really wanted to do and our team is so good. It’s a nice feeling knowing that we should probably win every game.”
Castillo puts in the work in the classroom, as well. She’s just shy of being a straight-A student, a point she recounts with a roll of the eyes. “I’m taking some hard classes this year. It’s a challenge.”
She plans on attending the UA after she finishes at Flowing Wells, hoping to major in either sports medicine or psychology.
During the brief interview, she picked up a couple cool math tricks, including one involving six-digit numbers that boggles the mind. When asked if she wanted to know the secret behind the maneuver, she politely declined. “No, I want it to remain magic. Or if I ever do, I want to discover the secret myself.”
Flowing Wells High School has an enrollment that is right on the borderline between classes 4A and 5A. For this year and next, at least, the Caballeros will be in the smaller-school 4A. But that won’t make it any easier to get back to a state championship game. Flowing Wells is in the 4A Kino Region, a grouping that appears to have been put together by the Marquis De Sade.
Four of the members of the Kino — Sahuaro, Flowing Wells, Salpointe (which doesn’t belong in the 4A), and Pueblo — have all been in state championship games in the past four years. Added to that mix is poor, unfortunate Canyon Del Oro, a team that is much improved over last season but will have to face the aforementioned four teams twice each in January.
Despite being one of the top teams in the entire state, it’s anybody’s guess if Flowing Wells will even be the best team in their region. “This will be a great season,” Castillo said. “We’re going to see just how good we can be.”