Scottsdale Chaparral’s girls had two losses to Tolleson earlier in the basketball season, but the Lady Firebirds weren’t about to allow a third setback.
In their Division I state tournament first-round game on Wednesday night (Feb. 19), the Firebirds rolled up an early lead and then held off a too-little, too-late rally by visiting Tolleson in the second half for a 69-57 victory.
Chaparral, the 14th seed (13-15), advances to the second round and will play a road game against No. 3 Peoria Liberty on Friday night (Feb. 21). Liberty defeated Chaparral by 20 points in the recent Division I, Section III tournament.
“It was close for awhile, but then we turned the ball over and it got away from us. We will have to take better care of the ball this time,’’ said Chaparral coach Brian Porth.
Against 19th-seeded Tolleson (11-17), Chaparral hit four 3-pointers in the first half to build a 34-21 lead at intermission.
The lead reached 21 points (54-33) with 5:51 left in the game, when Tolleson started to battle back.
Tolleson pulled to within seven (61-54) with a little more than a minute to play, but Chaparral went on an 8-3 run over the remaining time to put the game away.
Tolleson’s post player, Aaliyah Torres, has been out much of the season with a leg injury, and her absence allowed Chaparral to crash the boards with greater emphasis. Chaparral also was more aggressive defensively.
“We continued to force them to take contested jumpers,’’ Porth said.
Kayla Shaw scored 23 points to lead Chaparral, including four 3-pointers. Hannah Hiland finished with 18 points, including 12 in the second half.
Tolleson had three players score in double figures – Alexis Delgado (23 points), Lizette Cantu (13) and Kalicia Bryant (10).