Eaglecrest High School graduate Brandon Brown is back in the Centennial League as a head boys basketball coach, as he has been hired at Cherokee Trail ahead of the 2022-23 season. (File photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

Brandon Brown loved his brief time leading the boys basketball program at Horizon High School, but he’s back in the Centennial League where he belongs.

After one very successful season leading the Hawks, Brown — a former player at Eaglecrest High School who teaches physical education his alma mater — returns to his old conference stomping grounds in a way as he has been hired as the new head boys basketball coach at Cherokee Trail High School.

“It feels good to be home,” Brown said. “I played in the Centennial League at Eaglecrest, so I’ve been a part of the league for a long time. I remember how tough it was and how grueling of a schedule it can be. I’m really excited to get the opportunity at CT and bring it back to how competitive it used to be.”

Brown follows Gary Childress — who used to coach at Grandview when Brown played at Eaglecrest under coaching legend John Olander — with the Cougars, who haven’t qualified for the Class 5A state playoffs since 2019. Brown made it to the 5A postseason dance in his one season at Horizon, where he was 18-4. The Hawks, the Front Range League runner-up, were one of several upset victims of Legacy in the playoffs along Regis Jesuit.

MONDAY, APRIL 11: A Predators Cup has found its way to Cherokee Trail, after the girls won the traveling trophy that has been recent to its rivalry with Grandview.

While the Grandview boys have found a way to keep its version of the Predators Cup away from talented Cherokee Trail every year since its debut in 2014 — including a 20-12 victory Friday night (story, here) — Cherokee Trail was able to snap the Grandview girls’ two-year hold on their trophy with a 15-5 victory at Legacy Stadium.

In quite a reversal from last season’s 18-6 win for the Wolves, the Cougars built a 6-3 lead by halftime and kept their foot on the gas pedal in the second half with nine more goals to earn their first win in the series since 2013.

Senior Kaley Bruning and sophomore Aubrey Benton scored four goals apiece to lead the way for Cherokee Trail, which improved to 4-5 on the season. Senior Lana Howell added two goals and two assists as coach Blake Macklin’s Cougars matched their season-high in goals scored that was first achieved in their opener against Northfield.

Simultaneously, Cherokee Trail matched its season-low for goals allowed as the goalie tandem of seniors Lexi Roybal and Annalise Whitaker combined to save nine of the 14 shots on goal.

Grandview, which had some momentum after picking up its first win of the season with a 12-9 win over Arapahoe April 8, is now 1-7.

Sophia Capua, right, an 8th grader at Aurora’s Vista PEAK Exploratory, receives a medal from Nancy Lopez for winning the girls 14-15 chip portion of the Drive, Chip and Putt national finals on April 3, 2022, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo via Drive, Putt & Chip)

SUNDAY, APRIL 10: Over the past weekend, the eyes of the golf world were on Augusta National Golf Club, where as one of the sport’s greatest spectacles — The Masters — took place.

A week before the major, the national finals of the annual Drive, Chip & Putt competition for boys and girls from across the country in four age groups took place at the venerable venue.

There was Aurora representation in the field in 8th grader Sophia Capua of Vista PEAK Exploratory along with Anthony Chen, a 7th grader at Fox Ridge Middle School, who made the girls 14-15 and boys 12-13 competitions, respectively, for the April 3 finals.

Participants accrue points based on how they rank against the field in the drive, chip and putt events, with their two attempts in each discipline added together.

Capua made it through two rounds of competition on her home course (Murphy Creek G.C.) and then won a regional qualifier at Colorado Golf Club last September to earn one of 10 spots in the national competition, representing the Upper Midwest.

The top performer in each event received championship medals and Capua got one in the chip portion of the competition, where she was the best in the field by more than 10 feet in that discipline. She received her medal from Nancy Lopez, a former star on the LPGA circuit.

In the overall standings, Capua finished fifth as she got 10 points from the chip, five from the putt and two from the drive for a total of 17 that put her fifth overall. Mia Hammond of New Albany, Ohio, won the competition with 28 points.

Chen also made it through the Murphy Creek and Colorado Golf Club qualifiers and nearly won the title in the putt portion. He made a hole-in-one on one of his attempts — which was matched by Michael Jorski of Clarendon Hills, Illinois — and Jorski topped Chen by three inches on the second attempt to win the event.

Chen finished ninth in the overall standings.

Colorado’s other representative in the national finals came in the boys 14-15 category in Columbine High School’s Matai Naqica. Naqica, who lists Aurora as where he was born, finished ninth out of 10 competitors.

Sports Editor Courtney Oakes

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments