Chandler Hoops Drawing Inspiration From Football Success

At Chandler High School it appears the winning has become contagious. Just a couple short months after the Wolves’ football program won their third-straight 6A State Championship, the CHS boy’s basketball program is hoping to etch their own legacy in school history-winning 15 of their first 21 games entering Friday’s showdown at rival Basha.

“I think it started in the summer and went into the fall,” head coach Jonathan Rother explained to Sports360AZ.com regarding the Wolves rise to success. “Our chemistry is one of the best in the state.”

Much of the chemistry can be attributed to a veteran group who have grown together as they have gained maturity and experience on the floor. Four of Chandler’s top five scorers are seniors.

“Sophomore year is when it really started,” senior forward Isaiah Somers said to Sports360AZ.com. “We’ve really grown since then. I had confidence in [this] team because everyone had counted us out. It’s a little chip on our shoulder.”

The Wolves have also gotten some inspiration from the football team, specifically how to prepare, execute and win under former head coach Shaun Aguano who recently moved on to ASU. 

“The biggest takeaway that I’ve taken from him is he’s great with kids and he’s always honest,” Rother said. “As long as you’re doing those two things, kids will want to come to your school, kids will respect your coaching staff and you, as well. The success shows.”

Now the campus is buzzing not only in the fall but the winter, as well as the Wolves look to improve on last year’s improbable run to the Elite Eight, despite a losing record and only 11 regular-season wins.

“My first three years…whenever the basketball team had stuff going on, it didn’t really matter,” Somers said with a wry grin. “The only thing that was emphasized was football. Everyone is talking about the basketball team now. It feels good.”

It’s amazing what winning can do, even at a football school. 

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.