Delta coach Rob Ames congratulated his Panther basketball team following last Saturday's championship win in the second annual First Colorado National Bank Basketball Tournament. Ames also praised his squad for accomplishing one of several team goals for the season. The first goal was to win the annual FCNB tournament and take an undefeated record into the Christmas break.
Delta has been in post-season play for the past several years and is looking to extend that streak a few more years.
The Panthers return eight off last year's Sweet 16 team and six have substantial experience at the varsity level. Seniors Logan Freed, Jaspar Carmichael and Dylan Hollenbeck lead the way this season. Juniors Andrew Baier and Jonathan Robinson compliment the three seniors and together make up a starting five that has been potent.
Delta faced Paonia in its opening game of the First Colorado National Bank Basketball Tournament. The Panthers used constant pressure and a stingy defense to score a 60-32 win in their opening game.
Saturday's title game was more demanding as both teams play an up-tempo game and like to pressure the ball as much as possible. Delta had an early advantage and kept an offensive edge throughout the contest to score a 71-54 decision for the tournament title. Delta's win represents its 14th victory in the tournament, which began as the Bank of the West Basketball Tournament in 1994.
Friday's opening round game against Paonia had solid first quarter starts for Freed and Carmichael from their guard positions allowing them to score four points each in the first quarter. The play of junior Joe Bules on the inside generated six points helping Delta score 19 points.
Freed was persistent from his guard's position and found his way to the rim for eight more points and John Ames drilled a three-pointer and a regular goal for five points. At quarter's end, Delta owned a 42-12 halftime advantage over the Eagles.
In the third period, it was Baier's turn to go to work on the inside with six points to lead Delta on a 16-8 run.
Paonia's Enoch Kropp was busy in the fourth quarter and scored seven points to lead the Eagles on a 10-4 run to make the final score 62-30.
Freed's 19 points led all scorers in the game with Delta teammates Carmichael, Baier and Bules adding 10 points each to the win.
Kropp had 16 points to lead Paonia shooters and Sean Devlin added 11.
Against Cedaredge in the title game, a fast-paced game caused miscues for both teams. The Panthers seemed to have control early with a 14-8 scoring advantage in the first quarter. Freed scored two field goals and four other Panthers contributed a single goal each.
Second-quarter play produced more offense from both teams. Jacob Lewis got hot from the left corner and helped himself to a pair of three-pointers and two regular field goals. A free throw was added to Lewis' totals giving him 11 points in the quarter. Baylee Piper added a trey and a two-pointer for five more points in a 16-point run by the Bruins. Delta countered with Carmichael's 10 points which helped lead Delta on a 17-point spree to keep the Panthers on top, 31-24, at halftime.
Freed kept Delta ahead in the third quarter with an eight-point shooting effort that was aided by Robinson and Hollenbeck's four points each that helped the Panthers gain a 21-17 advantage over the Bruins in the frame.
Piper had six of Cedaredge's 17 points in the third quarter with Lewis and Jared Reynolds adding four points each to the team total.
Delta was able to hold off a determined Bruins' squad in the fourth quarter. Carmichael and Freed contributed five points and Bules chipped in another four in Delta's 18-point run. Peter Carlson, one of the state's top scorers, scored six of his 10 points in the fourth quarter and Piper tossed in another five for the Bruins.
Piper and Lewis finished with 18 points to pace Cedaredge scorers. Carmichael's 19 counters gave Delta the game's leading scorer with Freed completing the night with 18 points.
Freed averaged 18.5 points a game in last weekend's tournament and was honored by coaches with the MVP trophy.
Delta heads to Christmas break with a 5-0 record and the Bruins are 4-2 following last week's tournament play.