Revenge or retribution was nice for the Chandler girls basketball team, but its 73-59 win against Dobson in Monday's MLK Basketball Classic opener was about something simple straightforward.
Namely, getting a variety of contributor to beat a team that could re-unite these two schools next month.
A physicaly, feisty contest for the first 2 1/2 quarters, the Wolves eventually pulled away behind a terrific all-around display by senior guard Simone Westbrook and some Dobson troubles both inside and finishing shots.
Against Chandler's pressure and track-meet style, a young Dobson squad made two runs after Chandler opened up leads, but the Wolves returned the favor for the final time late in the third quarter and into the fourth.
We made some changes - especially defensively - and we decided under no circumstances would we get out of them," Chandler coach Zon Thompson said. "I thought they were changes we needed to make."
In early December, the Mustangs beat the Wolves, 78-75, though both schools were without their top players in Westbrook (disciplinary reasons) and Dobson's Katherine Hamilton played limited minutes.
With her athletlicism and quickness to the basket, Hamilton scored 29 points and had three of the Mustangs' five assists (a total that didn't sit well with Dobson coach Tyler Dumas). Hamilton also had eight rebounds and three steals.
It wasn't enough, however. Westbrook matched that athleticism and has averaged close to 25 points per game the past week. She did it again without much help from her outside shot, and finished with 28 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and five steals.
While both standouts were on full display Monday, the Wolves held a 46-39 rebounding advantage (24-15 on the offensive glass) and Dobson committed 27 turnovers.
Chandler got another steady performance from point guard Dezirae Elias but Thompson was most pleased with Jazmyne Bartee's 14 points and 16 rebounds.
The Mustangs wanted to wear down Westbrook and Elias, but the other Wolves negated that with offensive rebounds and turnovers.
"Give them credit, they made plays and stuck it out," Dumas said.
Miyah Leith added eight points and a couple steals for Dobson before she fouled out. But Dobson only made half of its free throws (10 of 20), missed a couple easy shots that could have further cut into deficits, and Dumas wasn't pleased with the interior play of his team.
"We played really well in California (the LaJolla Country Day tournament in early December) and haven't played as well ever since," Dumas said.
The Wolves are still battling for one of eight spots in the new Division I, Section II tournament, but a full cast (at least since the season started) and a recent five-game winning streak has the Wolves moving up quickly, though will it be enough?
"A win is a win," Thompson said. "We got some payback (against Dobson) and we're hanging on. The key for us is we got people making contributions everywhere."
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.