TUCSON - None of Brophy Prep's five state tournament participants got a chance to play in last year's event. But many got to watch, and didn't like what they saw.
Determined not to let another opportunity slip away, the Broncos' five junior entrants came out motivated and powered the school to the Division I boys golf championship, the school's first golf title in 12 years.
Brophy shot a 4-over-par 284 in Saturday's second round, combining with a 277 on Friday to finish at 1-over on the par 70 Dell Urich Golf Course. The Broncos' 561 was three shots better than Desert Vista and four ahead of Hamilton and defending Division I champ Red Mountain.
"We saw what happened last year, and wanted to avoid that," said junior Tyler Kertson, referring to a senior-laden 2010 Brophy team that was among the state title favorites yet finished far back in the pack. "We just wanted to come out fast."
That fast start - which included a hole-in-one by Kertson on the fifth hole on Friday - enabled the Broncos to hold off their challengers on a day when the scores were far higher due to the tees being moved back.
Brophy coach Jon Shores, finishing his 11th year with the team, said his players were out to prove they could have led the school to a title a year ago. To that end, he said he saw clutch contributions from his entire lineup.
Kertson was the top individual on the team, finishing fourth with a two-day score of 5-under 135, while Ryan Theisen was 12th at even par for the tournament.
Theisen and Blake Toolan were especially solid down the stretch, both notching birdies on the 16th hole to essentially clinch the title.
"That's probably what won it for us," Shores said.
Finishing second for the third straight year, Desert Vista once again put in a strong performance but couldn't get over the hump. Coach Paige Peterson wouldn't say it was frustrating to be the bridesmaid yet again, though, considering how tough the opponents were.
"I'm proud of the team for finishing second in this very competitive field," Hamilton said. "I just wanted these guys to play well, and they did."
Desert Vista's top finisher was senior Cody McManus, who was fifth at 136.
While the team title went down to the wire, the individual medalist honors were taken in runaway fashion by Pinnacle senior Zach Wright. The LSU commit followed up Friday's 8-under 62 with a 63, finishing an astounding 15-under for the championship and besting runner-up Anthony Quezada of Glendale Independence by five shots.
"I was just kind of hitting everything well," Wright said. "My approach shots were going to like within three feet" of the hole. I had a lot of tap-in birdies."
Wright said he also holed three putts of more than 40 feet, two for birdie and one for eagle.
Eleven golfers finished the two days under par, including Hamilton's Ken Iida, who took third place with a 6-under 134.
As with last year, the Division II team standings were dominated by Southern Arizona schools. Oro Valley Canyon del Oro took home the title with a two-day score of 3-over 591 on the par-72 Randolph North Golf Course, 26 strokes better than Tucson Salpointe Catholic.
The top East Valley team was Seton Catholic, which finished fifth among the seven squads that qualified for state.
Individually, CDO's Jaime Waltmire and Glendale Cactus' Kale Davidson tied for first with identical 142s, prompting a playoff. Waltmire beat Davidson on the third sudden-death playoff hole with a birdie a par-5.
Third place went to Queen Creek's Ajay Wilson, who finished with a 1-over-par 145 and cemented his high school career as one of the best golfers in Q.C. history.