Photo by Wayne Crick Brittanny Brasfield (12) and Brooke Taylor (34) play defense against Olathe during a pre-season scrimmage in Olathe. The Lady Panthers finished 20-5 last season and advanced to the ‘Sweet 16’ before bowing out of state title contention.Delta High School's Lady Panthers are coming off the school's best season ever after going 20-5 in 2011-12. Not only did the 20-5 mark set a new school win record, the 'Sweet 16' appearance in post-season play was also a first for the program. Delta lost 74-58 to the Class 4A runner-up D'Evelyn to end its season.
This year's squad will feature five seasoned seniors who should provide leadership and work-ethic role models. A good core of junior athletes will augment the chances of Delta repeating its high finish in league (first) and propelling it into playoffs for another run at a state title.
Matt Hamm returns to guide the Lady Panthers and is in his fifth season as the head mentor. He has been with the program for seven years and has coached for 10 seasons. Rosie Johnson is in her third season with the freshmen and Ryan Hilbig is back for his second season with the junior varsity/varsity. Wayne Crick will assist with all three programs as needed.
The five seniors who will be instrumental in providing leadership and guidance include Skylyn Webb (guard), Callie Gafford (forward), Brooke Taylor (guard/forward), Patti Chapman (guard) and Erin Zunich (guard). All will see extensive playing time throughout the season.
Two juniors have been mixed with the senior core to form a solid seven group. Those juniors are Shelby Curtis and Brittanny Brasfield. Both play in the post for the Lady Panthers with Curtis capable of playing at a guard's position as well.
Hamm will complete the varsity roster with an additional three to five players from the junior varsity roster as the season progresses.
The tough 4A WSL has several teams that are capable of causing problems for the Lady Panthers. One of the Panthers' nemeses has been Glenwood Springs and this year will be no different. Another difficult team to play over the years has been the Rifle Bears. After playing down a league previously, the Lady Bears return to the 4A WSL and will warrant careful consideration as well.
Delta's goals are lofty once again in 2012-13. According to Hamm, "We are working to win the league title and then take the state title this season."
Delta's first court action is slated for Dec. 13-15 at the Black Canyon Tournament in Montrose. The Lady Panthers face Grand Junction at 4:30 p.m. on the 13th, Fruita at 4:30 p.m. on the 14th, and finish with Montrose on the 15th at 2 p.m.