Broomfield building a dynasty, looks to defend state title |

Broomfield building a dynasty, looks to defend state title

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

BROOMFIELD ” Mike Croell sat back in his office after Saturday’s Final Four-clinching win over Glenwood Springs and reflected on what’s been a dynastic run for his Broomfield High School girls basketball program.

The head coach pointed to the pictures of every Eagle team he’s coached since he took over as head coach in 1995, noting that not a single team was worse than a Great Eight qualifier.

“Final eight, final eight, final four, state runner-up, final four, state runner-up … final eight, final four, final eight and this team here won the state championship,” Croell said, summing up the accomplishments of each season’s squad.

That’s quite a run, and the 2007-08 Eagles ” led by four girls taller than 6 feet and a slew of talented guards ” are Final Four-bound and looking to defend last year’s Class 4A state title.

Broomfield faces Golden on Wednesday and, if the Eagles win, will go up against Silver Creek or Pueblo East in Friday’s state championship game. Silver Creek is the only team to beat Broomfield all year.

With a junior- and sophomore-laden group, Croell may be watching his best class pass through the Broomfield halls.

Six-foot-6 Anna Prins and 6-1 Chaundra Sewell are the cream of the Eagles’ crop, and they’re just juniors. It’s entirely conceivable that this team could vie for three straight 4A titles.

“We’ve been blessed with a lot of years of good talent,” Croell said, “but as far as having a team, you know, that is this deep and good, I don’t know. Girls like Anna Prins and Chaundra ” well, that kind of height anyway ” comes along once in a lifetime. This team’s had big girls, but …”

Both Prins and Sewell are weathering loads of looks from Division 1 colleges, and senior teammates Alyssa Bonham and Mariah Metoyer are headed for Northern Arizona University and the University of Denver, respectively.

“Last night we had the head coach of the University of Texas here, the head coach of the University of Colorado here; Northern Arizona was here,” Croell said. “It’s been a smorgasbord. … It’s a pretty loaded bunch.”

And, as you might expect from a team that’s enjoyed such a ridiculous run, that’s par for the course at Broomfield. Croell credits solid youth feeder programs and a heavy club basketball involvement with sustaining the success.

“It’s the feeder programs, definitely,” he said. “We try to stack stuff up on top of the feeder program. They come to us and we get them involved in a lot of stuff in the summer. On top of that, a lot of them are playing club ball these days.”

Playing together year-round only cements the Eagles’ chemistry, Prins notes.

“We’ve been playing together since eighth grade,” the lanky post said. “We know each other really well. The whole team feeds off each other really well, I think.”

And Broomfield is showing no signs of letting up as it barrels through the late rounds of the 4A playoffs. What’s scary is that, while it’ll lose four seniors after this season, there’ll be more than enough left in the tank for title pushes in years to come.

“There are four seniors in the bunch this year and only two of them start,” Croell said. “Our core group, a lot of the girls out there in key moments, are sophomores. So, as I say, they’re young for the most part, and we’ll be back.”

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