Canyon girls basketball coach Sara Brown accomplished rare feat by winning CIF-SS title

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When Canyon coach Sara Brown hoisted the championship plaque over her head at Toyota Arena on Feb. 24, she became a unique winner in Orange County girls basketball.

In guiding the Comanches to the CIF-SS Division 4AA title, she became one of the few known O.C. girls basketball coaches to have claimed a section title as a player and coach.

Brown accomplished both feats in the county.

She won three section titles as a player at San Clemente in 2001-03 under Hall of Fame coach Mary Mulligan. She guided Canyon to its title last month in her first season at the Orange Unified school.

“It’s a bit surreal,” Brown said. “I am grateful I had the opportunity to be in the position to win three times as a player. But as a coach, it’s a different type of feeling because you don’t have the level of control that you have as a player, so it’s a little bit more stressful on the sideline.

“I’m just happy that I could give this experience to this particular group of girls.”

The Comanches finished 7-19 last season but jumped to 23-12 in Brown’s first campaign.

Brown arrived at Canyon after a successful four-year run at Fairmont Prep.

She came close to winning a section title as a coach in 2020. Fairmont Prep lost in the Division 2AA final to Orangewood Academy 57-49.

Sierra Canyon girls basketball coach Alicia Komaki is another county product who has won section championships as a player and coach. She captured a title as a player under coach Kevin Kiernan at Troy and guided Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth to the CIF-SS Open Division crown in 2023.

“In junior high, we played on a travel ball team (together),” Brown said Komaki. “We played for the team called the Hoyas. It was coached by William Stovall.”

JSerra coach Chyanne Butler also completed the feat this winter. She guided the Lions to their first section title on Feb. 24, adding to a resume that includes a championship as a freshman player at St. Bernard in Playa del Rey.

Brown appears to have found a home at Canyon. She also is teaching business at the school and has the support of athletic director Nate Harrison, also the boys basketball coach.

“I feel like I can continue to be build something special here,” she said.


Jillian Angell has resigned after nine seasons at Newport Harbor to focus on her growing family, she said.

Angell had her first child last year.

She guided the Sailors to their first section title in 2021. They defeated Rancho Christian 58-45 in the Division 4A final.

This past season, the team finished 9-18 overall, 1-5 in the Wave League.

Newport Harbor has announced that former boys varsity assistant and freshman coach Tony Zeddies will replace Angell.

“The program needs to be completely rebuilt and I want to make sure they have someone who can properly dedicate the time and energy to do it the right way,” Angell said.

Please send girls basketball news to Dan Albano at or @ocvarsityguy on X and Instagram

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