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Kira Horvath / Staff Photographer
The Broomfield blue runs deep for high school senior Brenna Chase, just like the Monarch gold and black does for Coyotes junior Jasmine Jeffcoat.
But with the exception of one or two times a year, the pair of prep basketball stars are truly in each other’s corner.
When the Eagles were battling ThunderRidge (yet again) last year at the Coors Events Center for the Class 5A state championship, who was there sitting next to Chase’s parents but Jeffcoat, cringing at every close moment in what proved to be a tight game.
Chase conceded on Wednesday that if Monarch were in the same position this coming March, one might find her right alongside the Jeffcoat clan hoping the Coyotes pulled it out.
A budding rivalry won’t come between a friendship fully blossomed.
They first became friends through club basketball — and at a time when Chase’s Broomfield and Jeffcoat’s soon-to-be Monarch were competing in different classifications and therefore never, ever played each other.
“I couldn’t believe she was in eighth grade; I mean, she was just as tall then as she is now,” Chase said of the 6-foot-2 Jeffcoat, daughter of former NFL sack master Jim Jeffcoat.
“Hey, no I wasn’t,” Jeffcoat said, “I’ve gained like an inch since then.”
If neither of them have gained any height since then, so be it. But they both have gained tremendous skill — which will be on display this year and for years to come at the next level.
Chase, a heady point guard, has already committed to Brigham Young University after considering and visiting a few other schools. Jeffcoat is knee-deep in the recruiting process, an exhausting one the versatile forward admitted.
This past summer, as members of that same club team (the Boulder Rockies), the pair won a national championship tournament in Washington, D.C. It was the U.S. Junior Nationals/Nike Championship, and the Rockies competed and beat top-level teams from Maryland, Massachusetts and Arizona.
Chase and Jeffcoat were vital to the team’s success, and the title gave Jeffcoat a small taste of what Chase accomplished with the Eagles earlier in the spring.
“We were the first Colorado team to win that tournament,” Jeffcoat said. “It’s something you carry with you the rest of your life.”
Jeffcoat, known as Jazzy, played hurt through the summer. She suffered a broken rib late in the year, and as the team was together it was Chase who provided ‘very motherly instincts’ by trying to alleviate the pain.
That speaks to the friendship. But so does any subtle attempt to acknowledge each other pregame when the Eagles and Coyotes — now both members of the Class 5A Front Range League — meet up in the regular season.
Last year was the first time the teams had played, and Broomfield’s 65-52 win was Monarch’s lone league loss. This season, come Jan. 26 at BHS, the two teams might again go head-to-head with first place in the FRL on the line.
The Eagles start the season ranked fourth in the CHSAANow.com media poll, while MoHi sits eighth.
The rivalry may gain stature with each and every meeting given the annual success of both programs, but for Chase and Jeffcoat, it only exists on the surface for now.
“Before a game, we always go say hello even if it’s kind of secretly,” Chase said. “It’ll be a rivalry but we’re still friends.”
“It makes it fun,” Jeffcoat said. “Even in the middle of a game, I see Brenna shoot a 3-pointer from half-court basically and I’m like, ‘wow, that was a nice shot.’ I know her tendencies so well, which is funny because we don’t play the same position. But we respect each other, completely.”