Lady Kadets conquer Sierra Stallions on the court

Coach Phil Roiko strategizes with members of the Air Academy girls’ basketball team in the fourth quarter against Sierra High Feb. 26. Photo by Liz Copan

Air Academy will be looking for a new girls’ basketball coach to start next season.

Blue Anderson, the Kadets’ athletic director, confirmed in an email to The Gazette that Phil Roiko recently resigned his post as coach of the successful girls’ basketball program.

“Phil was always great at building relationships with athletes, coaches, teachers and the community,” Anderson wrote. “He will be missed as our girls basketball coach but we are glad he will be around the building as a substitute teacher and helping with boys golf.”

The Kadets — led by 2020 Gazette Preps Class 5A/4A Girls’ Basketball Peak Performer of the Year, Kylee Blacksten — earned a spot in the Class 4A playoffs each of the last four years. In 2019, the Kadets advanced to the state championship game after an undefeated regular season.

Roiko also enjoyed success coaching other sports, including state championships as head coach of the girls’ soccer team and while assisting boys’ soccer and girls basketball. In total, Anderson said Roiko coached the Kadets in some capacity for 33 years.

“Phil has been successful at all of his endeavors as a coach at Air Academy,” Anderson said, noting his “true passion” came from coaching basketball.

Though Blacksten will be in Boulder playing for Colorado after recently signing with the Buffaloes, the Kadets cupboard isn’t empty heading into next season. Blacksten was the only senior on this year’s team that went 18-7, finished second in the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference, earned the No. 10 seed in the 4A playoffs and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive season, all under Roiko’s direction.