A promising 2017-18 hoops season didn't look that promising in the early going against either Hotchkiss or Basalt last week for the Delta High School boys basketball team. Hotchkiss was determined to stay with the Panthers in the early going of a game played on Dec. 5, but couldn't keep pace in an 84-62 loss at Delta.
On Thursday, Delta was in a battle from the start and trailed 17-11 after one period of play in Basalt. After trailing by 10 points, the Panthers rallied in the next three quarters for a 64-58 decision.
Against Hotchkiss, Jaspar Carmichael and Dylan Hollenbeck held hot hands offensively. Hollenbeck nailed a pair of treys and two regular goals for 10 points in the opening eight minutes while Carmichael hit two threes on his way to nine points in the first quarter. The Panthers managed to open a 12-point lead by the end of the first quarter, 30-18.
Hotchkiss senior Sam Rodriguez was a one-man offensive show for most of the opening frame and scored eight of his team's 18 points.
Junior John Ames sparked Delta's offense with a pair of three-pointers in the second quarter helping the Panthers score 15 points. Rodriguez and Jonathan Gonzalez netted six points each for Hotchkiss as the Bulldogs outscored Delta 17-15 in the period.
Delta's offense stayed active to open the second half and poured in 21 points on the strength of Carmichael's trio of three-pointers. The Bulldogs countered with Gonzalez's nine points in an 11-point run that left Hotchkiss trailing 66-46.
Carmichael had his sixth trey of the game in the fourth quarter helping Delta earn an 18-16 advantage in the final quarter. The Bulldogs went to the charity stripe 12 times in the fourth quarter and made seven of their 16 points.
Carmichael was the game's leading scorer with 27 points and Hollenbeck finished with 17. Ames contributed 13 points and Logan Freed finished with 11.
Hotchkiss had two players score in double figures with Rodriguez's 18 leading the way and Gonzalez close behind with 17.
A fast-paced style of play from Basalt caused some disruptions for the Panthers. Turnovers and missed shots kept the game close for longer than Delta coach Rob Ames wanted.
Ames, and the Panthers, stayed calm through the first quarter and eventually tied the game in the second quarter. John Ames came off the bench in the second quarter and nailed two three-point shots from deep in the left baseline corner, and Freed added another six points in Delta's 18-point run. By the end of the second frame, Delta had taken an 18-14 advantage and trailed by just two, 31-29, at halftime.
Another seven points from Freed in the third quarter provided the needed spark that allowed the Panthers to overtake Basalt and gain a 49-43 lead to the final eight minutes of action.
Carmichael led the Panthers on a 17-15 run in the final period with a pair of field goals and four of four free throws.
Basalt's J. Henderson wreaked havoc on Delta's defense with 14 points in the first half and finished with 21 counters. W. Hawkins did most of his damage in second half play with 15 points (eight in the fourth period) and finished with 22 points for the Longhorns.
Freed and Carmichael finished with 16 points for Delta.
Basalt's Alex Seibert made his presence felt in the game with 11 rebounds, six offensive and five defensive.
Delta takes on Paonia in this year's First Colorado National Bank Tournament Friday night at 7:30 p.m.