Tickets were expected to be sold out at 6, but were gone by 5. The Rock Canyon Jaguars were projected to assert their dominance over the up-and-coming Wolverines, but lost their fire early. The fans were expected to create an intense atmosphere, but no one could project the baffling magnitude it reached. Very little could be foreseen heading into the battle for the top of the state on Friday night, with possible exceptions to the crowd of media coverage and Coach Truesdale’s lucky red pants. When it was all over, Chap succeeded in shocking the state with a 73-57 victory, the perfect ending to one of the Wolverines’s greatest games in the athletic program’s history. Friday night gave high school basketball fans the most exciting underdog story of the year, but everything this basketball program has developed in the past couple of years has led up to this moment. December 2, 2015. The Chaparral Wolverines begin a new season with new faces. Rob Johnson, who had coached the Wolverines to an impressive record of 122-80 over his tenure, turns the job over to a young, energetic Tellus Truesdale. Dominic Coleman is the Senior star, but the starting lineup consists of an unheralded three Freshman: Ronnie Degray, Bryce Matthews, and Joseph Dalton. Chap kicks off a new year with a hope to continue on the winning traditions of the program, but lose by 20 points in the first game, then by 30 points in the next one, then three more insurmountable defeats, limping their way to an 0-5 beginning to the year. Ever since that disappointing fifth consecutive loss, a 76-39 demise on December 11 at Overland, Chaparral has gone from underachieving to overcoming the continually raised bar of fan expectations, taking only two years to jump from the bottom of the state rankings all the way to the top. December 1, 2017. Nearly two years to the date when Truesdale, Degray, Matthews, and Dalton entered the program, and now add Junior Tanner Giles and Sophomore Kobe Sanders: two floor generals whose chemistry blends in perfectly with their three superstars. Chap kicks off a new year with a hope to rekindle the winning traditions of the program, and succeeds in doing so, winning by 26 points against Fairview, then by 13 in the next game, then four more to start the year 6-0. At this point, Degray has established himself as a top class of 2019 prospect in Colorado, grabbing the interest of top college basketball programs such as Missouri and Kansas State. He’s told reporters since his early days at Chap that he’s one of the best players in Colorado and that his team could compete for the state championship, and this is probably the first time that his confidence was directly translating into results. The challenge of staying on top was not easy, especially when the time had come to take the number one ranking for the first time since 2012. February 2, 2018. Number one Rock Canyon comes to Parker to face number two Chaparral. Not only has the program improved their placement in Colorado’s elite over the past couple years, but the fans that call themselves the Red and Blue Crew have grown in numbers. The first Red and Blue Crew members wait outside for their tickets at 3 pm, 4 hours before tipoff. Sometime around 4:50, the tickets sell out, leaving hundreds of more fans out of luck. Fully embracing the College Gameday theme, the students come in with countless signs, almost every one discrediting the Jaguars 18-0 record up to that point. Then, the game tipped off. From the beginning, Chap wasn’t shy in setting the tempo, taking a 19-7 lead after the first quarter. For their lack of size and length against the big Rock Canyon squad, the Wolverines made up for it with speed and athleticism. While performances from guys like Giles and Degray kept the offense running, rebounding and defending the paint became an issue. The 29 rebounds and 24 fouls kept the Jags in the game, so heading into the fourth quarter down 46-33, Rock Canyon remained determined. Senior guard of the Jags Sam Masten found a way to explode to the rim at will, which made the animated Red and Blue Crew a little nervous. When Chap realized that Rock Canyon’s transition defense was waning down the stretch, they attacked every time, drawing fouls and finishing easy layups and dunks. When the final buzzer sounded, Chap won 73-57. Ever since the game of the year reached the media outlets, the Wolverines have been rewarded for their players and fans alike. Not only did major local networks such as Comcast Xfinity and CHSAA, cover the dominant performances such as 27 points and 11 rebounds from Degray and 18 points and 5 rebounds from Matthews, but even 9News featured the Red and Blue Crew with the interviews of four of the top fans. Right now, Chaparral couldn’t be anymore on cloud nine, but work is still to be done. Chap returns to the floor on February 6 at Thunderridge, the second best team in Colorado. While it will be a challenge to face another top-ranked team just a few days after the incredible upset, the Wolverines have a win against the Grizzlies under their belt, giving Thunderridge their only loss of the season on December 9. Senior Kaison Hammonds leads this group, averaging 17 points and 5 rebounds per game. Knowing that he can create matchup problems for the opposition, Chaparral defended him amazingly well in their previous game, limiting him to 5 points on 2-for-15 shooting. With only four more games of the regular season to go, the sky is the limit for one of the best teams this school has ever seen. No one foresaw the quick sellout or animated crowd or unbelievable Chaparral Wolverine’s execution against the number one Rock Canyon Jaguars, but maybe it’s about time that people begin to believe what they see.

Story by Carson Frost

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