Nate Bjorkgren resigned as Cave Creek Cactus Shadows’ boys basketball coach late last week, and will return to his native Iowa to become an assistant with the NBA Development League team in Iowa.
Bjorkgren coached three years at Cactus Shadows, and took the Falcons to the Class 4A state tournament all three seasons. The Falcons were 13-16 this season.
“Now is the time to do it,” he said. “I don’t have a wife or family to think about yet. If I don’t do it I’ll kick myself forever. You never know if you don’t take the chance whether it was right or not.”
The Iowa team is coached by Nick Nurse, who was an assistant at the University of South Dakota when Bjorkgren was a player there in the mid-1990s.
A native of nearby Storm Lake, Iowa (where his parents still live), he will also be a physical education teacher at a Des Moines high school.
He informed the Falcons during open gym late last week of his decision, and plans to help out during open gym sessions at Cactus Shadows until July 1.
“I still haven’t slept very well,” he said. “It’s a quality place. They were good to me.”
North wins nail-biter
It was supposed to be a half-hearted showcase of many of the area’s best high school basketball players, but it quickly turned into tense competition.
The 5A-4A and 1A-3A All-Star games were played at Mesa Skyline on Saturday, an impressive collection of high school talent divided (for one game) between north and south Phoenix.
The night featured Scottsdale Notre Dame’s Tom Fow and Chris Bonham (Paradise Valley) for the North. Mesa Mountain View’s Harper Kamp and Kendall Wallace, plus ASU-bound Ty Abbott (Phoenix Desert Vista) led the South.
Four region players of the year were on the South team, but Louis Barraza (Phoenix Trevor Browne) scored the final seven points to give North a 105-103 come-from-behind victory.
Fow scored 23 points for North, and Bonham added 13 points while battling Kamp most of the game. Kamp finished with 17 points, and Abbott hit four 3-pointers en route to 24 points.
In 1A-3A, North won 114-97 behind Shane Johannsen (Chandler Valley Christian), who was selected the North’s outstanding post player after scoring 11 points. The North team was coached by Gilbert Surrey Garden’s Steve Currier, who led the Knights to the 1A state title.
Mesa Dobson volleyball player Sean Ostrander has been nominated for the 2007 National High School All-American Athlete Award. The senior was a first team all-East Valley Region player at outside hitter.