Prep Notebook: Widefield settles on new basketball coaches

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A little more than a month after Widefield’s longtime boys’ and girls’ basketball coaches called it a career, the school has found their successors.

Gladiators athletic director Shelli Miles said longtime assistant Alex Johnson will be promoted to take over the boys’ program, while Indiana transplant Jonathan Haas will take over the girls’ team.

The hires come after a 21-year career for boys’ coach Mark Munoz and a 22-year career from girls’ coach Jim Mason. Miles said the process of finding their replacements took about three weeks and involved a lot of candidates.

“It was very thorough,” she said.

Johnson was the school’s final choice for the boys’ position after he spent the last decade as the Gladiators’ assistant coach. The 1978 graduate of Widefield said relief washed over him when he received the news.

“I was sitting home wondering if I’m going to be the guy or not be the guy,” Johnson said. “When I got the news, it was just a great relief.”

Miles said Johnson was one of four finalists for the job and they picked him based on his entire resume.

His knowledge of the program was a factor, she said, “but it wasn’t the only factor.”

Miles said Haas won’t be in town for another few weeks. When he arrives, he will take over a team that soared all the way to the Class 4A semifinals in March.

Stallions' Robinson makes it official

Sierra’s Aubrey Robinson has signed her letter of intent to play basketball at Colorado State-Pueblo.

Robinson, dynamic and often underrated, was a can’t-miss talent in her final year with the Stallions, leading them all the way to a Class 4A quarterfinals last month. She flicked her wrist to the delight of her friends and family inside the school Monday.

The Harrison transfer arrived at Sierra as a junior and averaged 14.7 points and 6.6 rebounds in 40 games with the Stallions.

She was her best when it mattered most. With the team’s best rebounder out with injury, Robinson averaged 12.5 rebounds to go along with 21.8 points in last season’s playoffs as the Stallions won three straight before finally bowing out against 4A runner-up Pueblo South.

Sierra coach Joe Williams pointed to Robinson’s work ethic when asked about the growth during her career. The guard would call the coach to ask to use the shooting machine to further develop her shot.

Williams said she would use the skills trainer for “countless hours”.

“Aubrey was always the first person in the gym and last person out of the gym,” Williams said. “That’s just her work ethic.”

Robinson said she had some other offers around the country but felt at home with the ThunderWolves. When asked what she hopes her legacy in high school will be, she said she it starts with her leadership and heart.

Perhaps a tip for future teams at Sierra: “Just always fight,” she said. “Keep fighting.”

Indians aim to keep streak alive

Cheyenne Mountain has, one way or another, found its way to the top of the state podium the past nine years in girls’ tennis. In two weeks, it’s on for No. 10.

The Indians, contenders once again, will head into this week’s regionals after taking second at the Cheyenne Mountain Indian Invite on Saturday. Only 5A power Cherry Creek was better as the Indians beat the likes of Ralston Valley, Palmer Ridge, Fossil Ridge, Air Academy and Coronado.

Cheyenne Mountain will host 4A Region 6 starting Thursday.

“I think we’ll contend and it’s going to be a very interesting tournament,” Indians coach Dave Adams said. But added, "we're still finding our way a bit."

The Indians have brand-new pairings in each of their doubles teams and have three new players on varsity, Adams said. One of the few carryovers from last year is No. 1 singles player Morgan Hall, who has been sensational in her junior campaign after tweaking her approach.

Hall said earlier in the season that her all-out-attack mindset has been met with a more level head. Over the weekend, she won three matches and lost just two games.

“We’re going to have to lean on our top half of the lineup a little more than we typically do and then we’re going to have to hope our doubles team are able to play at a high level and finish high,” Adams said. “I hope we can continue to build and go into the regionals on Thursday with a lot of confidence and playing well.”