The self-appointed “House of Payne” was rocking Friday night, as the Brophy Broncos came to visit the Chandler Wolves. The game was a nail-biter, but the Broncos were able to pull out the victory 59-56 in overtime.
Chandler, who falls to 11-12 on the season, had a chance to tie the game with six seconds left. Junior Jacquez Barrow had been fouled following an offensive rebound, and was sent to the line needing to hit both free throws to tie the game at 58. He missed the front end of the one and one, and the victory had essentially been sealed for Brophy. Postgame, Chandler coach Jonathon Rother acknowledged how big a role missed free throws played in this loss for the Wolves.
“We missed a lot of free throws,” lamented Rother. “A game like that, a bounce here a bounce there can be the difference in the game. Clearly though we need to work on our free throws.”
It would be unfair to Chandler to not mention the role the refs played in this game. While there were questionable calls throughout the matchup, there were a few towards the end of the game that had an undeniable effect on the final score. With 1:39 left in the fourth quarter, Chandler trailed by one and had possession of the ball. A Chandler player drove to the rim and put up a shot which missed, but the rebound was collected by another Chandler player who immediately went back up with the ball. During the shot, a whistle was blown and it appeared to be a shooting foul on Brophy. Instead, the ref called a loose ball foul on the Chandler player who grabbed the offensive rebound and sent Brophy to the line, where they extended their lead to three. While it inevitably didn’t end up mattering as the game was sent to overtime, the refs impact on the game was undeniable.
“I’m not going to blame this loss on the refs,” said Rother. “Our kids went out, they competed, we fought through adversity, and we stuck together. They defended, they played together and if we make a couple free throws and get a couple bounces that’s our game.”
Regardless of the final outcome, Chandler fans should be excited by what they say Friday night. The Wolves were only down one at halftime thanks to a last second three from junior Jacob Conover, but got off to a slow start at the beginning of the third quarter. Brophy’s lead grew to double digits, peaking as high as 14 but was 10 at the end of the period. But, Chandler stormed back in the fourth quarter, using their intense full court pressure to trim the Brophy lead. Eventually, Chandler gained their first lead of the second half with 4:40 left in the fourth and traded leads with the Broncos until time finally expired in overtime.
“We definitely should’ve won this game,” said senior Mike Anderson. “It just didn’t go in our favor. We hurt ourselves out there. We missed a lot of free throws, at the beginning and the end, and that really hurt us.”
Next week, Chandler once again faces a tough test as they take on Perry at home. Brophy, who improved to 21-1 with the victory, will face Hamilton on the road.