St. Mary’s has ruled the Division I girls basketball scene as local teams can attest.

The program has won three state titles without being challenged very often.

The Knights knocked Desert Vista out the last two postseasons and Mountain Pointe had the same fate in the 2011-12 campaign.

Many have argued that the Knights were example of all that is wrong with club basketball and its influence on the high school game.

Head coach Curtis Ekmark, who resigned last week in order to help run boys and girls Nike-sponsored club teams, was able to bring in top players to the private school, many of whom he coached and/or played with his daughter, Courtney, who will be a senior.

It led to great success as Ekmark had a 154-21 overall record for the Knights and had the team ranked No. 1 nationally after the 2011-12 season with a 30-0 record.

Now that he is gone will the pipeline continue? A lot will depend on the new coach of course, but his resignation has to bring hope to the rest of Division I after essentially playing for second place in recent years.

Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe both could be top 10 teams next season with talented Division players on both rosters so the change at St. Mary’s should be seen as an opportunity.

The Knights lost an amazing senior class so there was hope even before news of Ekmark’s resignation so it is easy to see how opposing coaches are probably a little more amped up this summer.

For the first time in a few years they could actually be working toward a state title trophy instead of the runner-up version.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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