Somebody finally figured out how to slow down the Chandler High boys basketball team.
Over the last two weeks, the fourth-ranked Wolves have overwhelmed opponents with their up-tempo, offense-first style of play.
No. 7 Corona del Sol put a stop to that Monday night, frustrating the Wolves with an impenetrable zone defense to run away with an 81-61 home victory.
The loss ended Chandler’s five-game winning streak, during which the Wo lve s averaged 82.2 points per game and sunk preseason top 10 teams Paradise Valley, Tucson Salpointe and Phoenix Trevor Browne.
It was Chandler’s lowest scoring output of the season by 13 points.
"The deal is we tend to score a lot of points if the tempo is way up," Chandler coach Jay Troutt said. "But they put the zone in and that changed the tempo on us, dramatically. We had a tough time keeping the pace up."
By shifting between a 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone, Corona (7-2) limited Joe Shaw’s ability to penetrate. The lanky, 6-foot-6 junior scored 14 points, but 12 of those came from the foul line or 3-point range.
The zone also allowed Corona to contain sophomore Laurence Westbrook’s scoring. He finished with 16.
"What the zone did was it took away their penetration," Corona coach Sammy Duane Jr. said.
"Nobody’s zoned them this year. So we thought we’d take a chance with that and force them to put up some shots."
The Aztecs were guided by point guard T.J. Benson, who didn’t score much but set up plenty of easy shots for teammates Dan Winterbottom (25 points) and Craig Borengasser (17 points).
Benson finished with eight points and six assists while keeping the game’s tempo decisively in his team’s favor.
"It’s great playing with a point guard like him," Winterbottom said.
"He sees everything and he’s unselfish. He can see the court really well."
Benson was at the top of his game during a 19-4 firstquarter run in which he didn’t score a point. Instead, he set up his cutting teammates with deadon passes.
During the run, Corona’s lead ballooned from two to 17 points.
Chandler (6-2) cut the lead to 11 on a 3-pointer by Shaw early in the third quarter, but Benson assisted Winterbottom on a 3-pointer and a transition layup, then scored on a layup to push the lead to 54-36.
"I always have my head up and I know Dan is always running, so I’m looking up looking to hit him," Benson said. "Whenever I get the opportunity I want to hit him."