Peters, Kron lead Desert Mountain boys basketball past Chaparral

Desert Mountain guard Dylan McGirt passes the ball into the lane during Desert Mountain’s 77-70 win over Chaparral Friday, Dec. 15. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

It took until the third quarter but once Desert Mountain High School boys basketball took control of the game — it never let go.

Leading by as much as 15 points, the Wolves (7–4) staved off a young Chaparral High School (6–6) for a 77–70 road win Friday, Dec. 15. That victory brought DMHS’ win streak to three while the Firebirds have now lost five straight.

At the half, Desert Mountain had a 34–29 lead over the Firebirds after a back-and-forth first half.

The Wolves got just enough separation with an 11–4 run to start the third quarter, leading to a 45–33 advantage close to the five-minute mark and allowed for future building.

Desert Mountain Head Coach Mark Schumaker said the message at halftime was to stay consistent but to come out of aggressive.

“We knew Chaparral had some runs in them but if we threw the first punch early in the second half, we’d be OK,” he said after the game.

Chaparral guard Blaise Threatt drives against Desert Mountain guard Jackson Kilburg during Desert Mountain’s 77-70 win over Chaparral Friday, Dec. 15. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Four Desert Mountain players finished with double-digit points with forwards Hayden Peters (19) and Brandon Kron (18) leading the charge. Guard Joey McNeely chipped in 17 while guard Jackson Kilburg had 11.

A big part of the Wolves’ success was ball movement, which has been a focus over the past few days, Coach Schumaker said.

Ball movement lead to Kron, who played in his fourth game back from a football injury, finding success in the paint. Most of his damage was in the second half where he scored 14 of his 18 points off several second-chance points and layups.

Kron said the difference between the two halves was his mindset.

“I calmed down and I have faith in my team when we were up by a lot,” he said after the game. “I just played comfortable and it started working.”

Peters’ 19 points came over both halves with 11 in the first and eight in the second.

Coach Schumaker said Peters is Desert Mountain’s second big man and while teams can key in on Kron, Peters can burn opposing teams because opponents don’t have second big to guard him.

On top of that, Peters is quicker and more athletic than typical forwards, which led to him, at times, bringing the ball up against Chaparral. This, he said, catches opponents off guard.

“I feel like (opposing teams) think just because I’m big, I’m slower like other bigs but having the quickness and agility really help my game,” he said after the game.

Chaparral guard Xavier Dusell fires away 3-point shot during Desert Mountain’s 77-70 win over Chaparral Friday, Dec. 15. (Independent Newsmedia/Josh Martinez)

Despite the Wolves’ big lead late, Chaparral did not give up. The Firebirds kept chipping at the lead with an 8–4 push that pulled them within eight points late in the fourth quarter.

Chaparral kept fouling down the stretch to try to close the gap further but couldn’t make the difference completely.

“The guys never gave up,” Chaparral Head Coach Dan Peterson said after the game. “We just have to fix some of our earlier mistakes so we don’t dig ourselves that hole but that’s all part of the process. We’re learning.”

Guards Blaise Threatt and Xavier Dusell led the Firebirds in scoring with 20 and 17 points, respectively. Both played big roles late as they combined for 14 of the team’s 24 fourth-quarter points.

However, Coach Peterson said his team gave up some open looks at the basket and didn’t adjust, allowing the Wolves to go on some runs.

Chaparral’s late push came as no surprise, Coach Schumaker said. It just forced Desert Mountain to play its game, he said.

“We just kept executing and we grind games out and that’s just what we do,” he said. “We’re never going to win by 40 or 50. We continue to move the basketball and get stops at the other end, we’re always going to be in games.”

News Services Reporter Josh Martinez can be contacted at jmartinez@newszap.com or at 623-445-2738

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