Posted On: 12/7/18 1:14 PM

Scottsdale Chaparral defeated Henderson Liberty High, 64-51, in the opening game of the Hoophall West Invitational in Scottsdale on December 6.

The Firebirds ran out to an 11-0 lead in the first quarter, and rarely let the lead dip to more than double-digits, closing out the game with good defense. Here are five key questions answered by Chaparral’s victory:


What is Chaparral’s biggest strength on the floor?

The Firebirds are pretty tall at every position, especially at guard. Senior guards Blaise Threatt and Jordan Josephs are a pair of tall, athletic guards who dribble, shoot and play good on-ball defense against opposing guards. This, along with the other sizable players, allows the team to be dominant on the boards and not have mismatches against tall opposition. Threatt was given recognition by Hoophall West as the game’s top player.


How did the Firebirds slow Julian Strawther down?

Liberty’s Strawther was obviously the top player on the court, and did not sit a second until the last two minutes when the game was decided. He has the ability to score from all parts of the floor, and plays great defense. He shoots well from beyond the arc, but is even more effective with his size and length in getting to the rim. Chaparral gave him some space, and he settled for a few too many jumpers.


What do Chaparral’s big men offer?

Much of the Firebirds’ scoring comes from their guards, who are quick to get steals and lead the team in transition. However, big guys like Alec Bryan set great screens in the half-court offense and rebound very well on both ends. Everybody on the team can pass, and it’s easy to see why Chaparral looks like a team that could find success on the offensive end.


What else does Liberty need on offense?

This is the first game, before anybody gets too worked up about the double-digit loss and relative lack of scoring. Strawther is the dominant player, but the others need to be able to contribute when he is struggling or has extra defensive attention. I liked guard Jordan Wafer‘s ability to pull-up and hit shots off the dribble, getting good verticality while stopping on a dime. He and the other players will need to hit open jumpers when the opportunity arises.


What is Chaparral’s ceiling?

The Firebirds are in one of the toughest sections in Arizona, 6A Desert Valley. Their schedule will only increase in difficulty from here on, but this game showed they can win against most teams if they hit perimeter jumpers. Their bench specifically, anchored by Jeff Poppe, will need to be able to hold its own against opposing units, but if they hit their threes, it should work out very well.