PARKER — It took one game for the Fairview Knights to dispel all the myths about them.
Everything that the prognosticators were saying might be true, but what those things don’t measure are the intangibles a that team brings to the court each night.
Coach Frank Lee knows his team might take a few lumps along the way, but it will only make his team better in the long run. If Wednesday night against CHSAANow.com‘s preseason 5A No. 6 Chaparral is any indication, then it might happen quicker than anybody thought.
The word that will best described the Knights all season long will be scrappy, and they were just that in a 55-49 loss to the Wolverines in the opening round of the Tip Off Classic.
“I thought we competed really hard tonight and that is one of the main things we wanted to do,” Lee said. “Basketball can be a game of runs and I thought we answered every one and if there was a little more time, then we might have answered that one.”
There were several occasions in the second half where the game could have easily gotten away from Fairview, especially in the fourth quarter. Chaparral went on a 6-0 run midway through the fourth to go up 50-44, only to have it answered by Fairview senior Kamran Shahbaz’s five straight points.
Fairview had a chance to take the lead with 1:20 to play, but Johnny Feauto missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw attempt, and Chaparral made them pay on the other end.
Wolverines senior Chris Coon, who led his team with 15 points, drilled a 3-pointer in the corner with one minute to play that put his team up 53-49.
“The biggest thing we can learn from this game is that that scrapping and fighting has to start right from the first minute,” said Shahbaz, who finished with a game-high 19 points. “We can’t be playing catch-up all the way throughout.”
The Knights had several opportunities in the final minute to make it a one-possession game, but a couple of sloppy sets didn’t produce any points.
“When they made their run, they did a pretty good job of penetrating our defense and we didn’t have great rotation and that lead to those three big baskets they had,” said Lee, whose team will play Denver South at 7 p.m. on Friday at Chaparral. “We didn’t have as great of offensive possession as we needed to have.
“And again it’s a learning thing. Our kids have improved a lot since that first practice and we expect to keep going that way.”
Chris Arehart, who was quick to draw the ire of the Wolverines student section, chipped in with 10 points and Feauto added eight.
There may be no such thing as a moral victory, but to see how his team’s effort translated into a game situation gave Shahbaz reason to believe.
“I feel better now than I did going into it,” he said. “I think we just need to have more confidence overall and we need to work that much harder from the start and we can beat any team.”
In addition to Coon’s 15, the Wolverines — who started three players at 6-foot-6 — got 13 points from Chris Moody. Standout senior Jake Holtzmann, who is committed to the University of Denver, finished with nine points.
Follow Jon on Twitter: twitter.com/JonEYunt
Chaparral 55, Fairview 49
Shahbaz 6 4-5 19, Mercer 1 0-0 2, Feauto 3 2-3 8, Patrov 0 0-0 0, Brennan 0 0-0 0, Graham-Bell 1 0-0 2, Arehart 3 2-3 10, Pykkonen 0 0-0 0, Weatherly 0 0-1 0, Grainger 2 0-0 4, Simmons 2 0-0 4, Kaufman 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 8-12 49.
Sheaman 4 0-2 8, Wilson 0 2-2 2, C. Moody 6 1-4 13, Holtzmann 3 2-4 9, P. Moody 2 0-0 5, Lehman 0 0-0 0, Coon 6 0-0 15, Sheek 0 0-0 0, Lane 1 0-0 3. Totals 22 5-12 55.
Score by quarters:
Fairview 12 8 13 16 — 49
Chaparral 15 8 15 17 — 55
3-point field goals — Fairview (5): Shahbaz 3, Arehart 2; Chaparral (6): Coon 3, Holtzman, P. Moody, Lane. Total fouls — Fairview 15; Chaparral 17.