Craig Cerise's Panthers have been working hard on the basketball court and last week's efforts, along with the prior week's play, are beginning to show some dividends.
After a 2-3 beginning over the past two weeks, the Panthers have put together a good stretch of games that includes three wins and a loss. Following a nasty defeat at the hands of Palisade on Dec. 11, Delta won its next two games against Basalt (61-47) and Roaring Fork (50-38). A loss to Glenwood Springs (52-44) on Friday might have taken the fight out of the Panthers but instead they rolled to a 58-38 win at home against Battle Mountain on Saturday.
With the recent wins, Delta is 4-4 overall and 1-2 in 4A WSL play. Glenwood Springs (1-0) and Palisade and Eagle Valley at 2-0 lead the league early on.
Rifle is lurking in the wings with its 1-1 record and is 4-1 overall.
The Panthers will resume their prep schedule after Christmas break on Jan. 8 in Rifle. Junior varsity action is set for 3 p.m. and varsity play tips off around 6 p.m. On Jan. 9 Delta will host Steamboat Springs (0-2 and 2-5) with junior varsity play beginning at 10 a.m. Varsity girls are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Delta 50, RF 38
Last Tuesday's contest in Carbondale was closely contested in the first quarter with Delta using four points each from Jenna Sutliff and Megan Sandoval to hold a 12-10 lead going to the second quarter. Katie Weimer scored five of the Rams' 10 points to keep Roaring Fork close.
Delta began utilizing inside play by Emily Nortnik and Lily Lockhart. Nortnik paced the Panthers' offense with seven points and Lockhart another four to guide Delta on a 15-8 run and a 27-18 halftime lead.
Roaring Fork's Lily Ramos hit three baskets to lead the Rams on an 11-9 run in third-quarter play. Lockhart kept the Panthers close with her five points.
Sandoval came to life in the final stanza for Delta with six points in a 14-9 run for the Panthers.
Nortnik's 13 points topped all scorers in the game while teammates Lockhart and Sandoval contributed 12 points each in the win.
Ramos and Weimer had eight points each for Roaring Fork.
Demons 52, Delta 44
Glenwood Springs got off to a rousing start that left the Panthers behind by double digits in the early going. Delta managed to get back into the game before the first period ended and trailed 17-12 at quarters' end.
Mykayla Music scored eight of her 11 points in the opening period, keeping the Panthers close. Tatum Peterson drilled five field goals to lead the Demons' offensive opening run.
Both teams found ways to score in the second quarter with Glenwood Springs netting one more point than the Panthers for a halftime lead of 31-25. Lockhart's seven points led the way for Delta while a number of Glenwood's players were at the free-throw line to score six of ten shots.
Following intermission, Glenwood's six-point lead stayed the same as both teams scored eight points. Sandoval's six counters were much needed to keep the Panthers within striking distance.
The Panthers closed to within two points a couple of times in the fourth quarter but could not get the tying bucket on several attempts. Free throws, again, played a big part in the final stanza as the Demons shot 14 times from the charity stripe and made nine points. Delta, on the other hand, had just six opportunities from the line and made four of them in a 13-11 run by the Demons.
Lockhart tossed in 13 points to lead the Panthers and Music's 11 gave Delta two scorers in double figures. Peterson canned 23 points, including nine in the final quarter of play to lead Glenwood shooters.
Delta 58 Huskies 38
Lockhart brought her lunch pail to Saturday's game against Battle Mountain. The junior post-player scored at least four points in each of the four quarters of play to finish with 20 points for Delta.
Delta built a double-digit lead early in the game but could not maintain it as the quarter wore on. Lockhart's six points in the frame enabled the Panthers to finish the first period with a 12-11 lead.
Neither team could break away from the other in second-quarter action. Each team posted 17 points with the Panthers clinging to a 29-28 lead at halftime.
Battle Mountain sent the Panthers to the free-throw line for 10 shots in the third period. Delta cashed in on six of those shots and went on to outscore the Huskies 12-8 and a 41-36 lead with eight minutes left to play.
Sutliff's seven points in the fourth quarter sparked a 17-2 Delta run that sealed the deal for a 58-38 win. Sutliff finished the game with 13 points. Jessica Sullivan had 11 points to pace Battle Mountain's offense. Monique Stevens was also in double figures for the Huskies with her 10 points.