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Delta basketball now 3A

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Photo by Wayne Crick Sophomore Jon Robinson lays in two points during an early season scrimmage at Delta High School. Kyle Mock (background) is another sophomore who coach Von Mitchell will use extensively in the 2016-17 prep basketball season.

The move to 3A basketball has many Delta fans thinking well past regular season play. Last year's Panthers were 9-12 in the Class 4A ranks.

Delta had 32 boys out to start the 2016 basketball season.

Head coach Von Mitchell is gearing for a 'pedal to the metal' game each week with the stable of players on this year's roster.

The number of seniors on the roster (matches the number of junior hopefuls) and represents the lowest number of players, in individual classes, represented on this year's roster. Beau Byers, Blake Reiher, Tre Johnson and Nate Sanders are all on the varsity roster for 2016. All have seen court-time from previous seasons for the Panthers.

Junior hoopsters are Jaspar Carmichael, Logan Freed, Dylan Hollenbeck and KC Carlson. All but Carlson are members of this year's varsity team. Carlson is expected to see plenty of playing time on the junior varsity squad.

There are a number of talented sophomores vying for starting positions. Leading the way is Kyle Mock, Andrew Baier, Jon Robinson and Joe Bules. These four sophomores are on the varsity roster.

The remaining sophomore players are members of a talented junior varsity team. Those players include Eli Farmer, John Ames, Rowyn Carmichael, Ryan Cooper and Caleb Miramontes.

Freshmen make up the largest number of roster members in 2016. Nate Workman, Alex Fausto and Felipe Bedoy were selected to this year's junior varsity squad after tryouts were concluded.

The remaining frosh team members include Shad Lewis, Gadiel Mendoza, Sheldon Cox, Evan Baier, Jesus Saldivar, Jason Violett, Jose Medina, Noah Abeyta, Garrison Paniagua, Caewlin Porter, Michael Wells and Hunter Hughes.

Von Mitchell returns for his 17th season as a head coach. Joining Mitchell as assistants are Matt Hamm (13 seasons in coaching), Rob Ames, who is a 23-year veteran of freshman coaching and volunteer coach Wayne Crick (not enough fingers and toes to count the years coached).

Mitchell is optimistic about his team's chances in 2016. "I hope we're right in there for the league title. Basalt and Coal Ridge are going to be tough."

One of Mitchell's main priorities is team play. When all is said and done, the Panthers are going to be a well balanced squad. Several players have proven to be valuable assests to the program in past seasons. "Beau (Byers) has led us in assists for the last two seasons. Jaspar (Carmichael) is a third year starter as a junior and Kyle Mock returns after posting several double-doubles last year as a frosh. Keep an eye on newcomers Logan Freed, Dylan Hollenbeck and Jon Robinson. The Panthers are relatively young, but they've also got some experience already. Hopefully we can put it all together."

Delta was in Hotchkiss on Dec. 6 and will face Basalt at home on Dec. 8. Preliminary games begin at 3 p.m.

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