Brown receives MHSA Class B all-state accolades

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Thompson Falls golfer Ethan Brown comes from excellent bloodlines.

Ethan Brown, the brother of former Lady Bluehawk standout golfer Elsie Brown, achieved Montana High School Association Class B All-State accolades for the second season in a row.

Brown, who finished eighth as a sophomore, finished fourth and if that pattern continues during his senior season, he’ll aim to become an MHSA Class B state champion next season.

Brown, who has showcased one of the essential attributes for a golfer, captured fourth place at the MHSA Class B golf tournament, firing 77 on back-to-back days.

“He just gets stronger and stronger (every year),” Thompson Falls’ coach Mike Bates said. “That was a solid showing for him.”

Brown, who will enter his senior season in the fall of 2019, continues to get better and continues to desire to get better, according to Bates.

“Brown always finds a way to the peak,” Bates said. “He’s hard working at the practice, and takes (the game of golf) seriously. He always finds a way to peak at the right time, and just played solid both days.”

Bates expects Brown will continue to improve on his game and the junior’s track record is indicative of that.

“I am sure he will continue to work hard, and (next year) he will be ready,” Bates said.

Bates, who credits veteran Bluehawks assistant coach Gary Thompson with providing his young golfers with plenty of insight, knows Brown will continue to improve but sticks to the Bluehawks’ fundamental approach towards competition.

Bates, whose boys team captured an MHSA Class B state championship title in 2015, continues to apply his philosophical approach that has worked well with his team in the past: take it one round at a time.

“The first step is getting through Divisionals, and state,” Bates said. “Once you get into the (state tournament), anything can happen. You have as good of a chance as anyone, and I believe it when it comes to the state.”

Baxter excels at state

Thompson Falls High School girls golfer Megan Baxter experienced the postseason in both golf and track this week.

From Monday through Wednesday, Baxter competed and held her own with the top-tier golfers the state had to offer, then she competed at the Class B Western Divisional track meet in Missoula Thursday and Friday.

“It was a long week for her,” Bates said.

Throughout all of the competition, Baxter remained consistent.

Baxter, who shot a 107 on both days, overcame a rough front nine to improve on the back nine.

Bates was impressed with Baxter, now a sophomore, who improved her mental toughness on the greens.

“She just gets stronger and stronger,” Bates said. “She gets more mentally tough every season, and I think she is going in the right direction (with her game). She improved 15 to 18 strokes from her front nine, and that shows how strong and determined she is. I was pleased with the way she played.”

Baxter and Brown, who are both projected to return next season, should provide a nucleus for Bates to build a team around.

“I am hoping we can get three returners and pick up a couple of more golfers to field a team on the boys or girls side,” Bates said. “We will have to do a little recruiting, and try to get some interest and a little bit of feedback. We will have to work harder; come next season.”

Regardless of the season, Bates said the goal for Bluehawk, and Lady Bluehawks golf is always the same.

“We just try to get as much experience as possible, and get through Divisionals,” Bates said. “We don’t talk about state until Divisionals. That is always our goal is to get through Divisionals.”

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