Photo by Wayne Crick The Delta Panthers scored a 76-59 decison over Hotchkiss to win the 2012 First Colorado National Bank Classic Tournament. Team members pictured above include, left to right, Sergio Andrade, Mitch Whiteside, Keaton Reiher, manager Christian Gallegos, Cade Gafford, Chris Black, Robin Milabo, Jorge Olivas, Douglas Hawkins, Ryan Whiteside, Eian Baier, Jaden Cowley, and First Colorado National Bank’s Jennifer Abila. The Panthers are coached by Von Mitchell (head coach), Lane Varner (junior varsity), and Rob Ames (freshmen).Both the boys' and girls' basketball teams came into the First Colorado National Bank Classic Basketball Tournament with 0-3 records. After visits from Eagle Valley on Dec. 20 and play in the tournament, both teams are now 3-3 and are on three-game winning streaks.
Delta's boys opened their season at the Warrior Challenge in Grand Junction. The Panthers opened their season with a 50-47 loss to Fruita and fell to Grand Junction Central 51-50. Legacy (Broomfield) used a strong offensive and defensive game to defeat Delta 82-51 accounting for the Panther's 0-3 start.
The Panthers got on the winning tract beginning on Dec. 20 with a 77-56 win over the visiting Eagle Valley Devils. On Dec. 21 and 22, Delta participated in the annual Delta County basketball tournament sponsored by First Colorado National Bank of Delta. The Panthers defeated Cedaredge 69-51 in opening round play and won the tournament title with a 76-59 win over Hotchkiss in the title game.
Matt Hamm's Lady Panthers also entered the final week of December with an 0-3 record after suffering three losses in the Montrose Black Canyon Basketball Tournament. Delta lost to Grand Junction, 46-39, in game one, 58-48 to Fruita in game two, and fell to host Montrose 52-39 in the final game of the tournament.
The Lady Panthers' fortunes took a turn for the positive on Dec. 20 with a 74-42 win over Eagle Valley in a 4A WSL match up.
Delta played Cedar-edge in round one of the First Colorado National Bank Classic and eventually scored a 53-28 win against a scrappy Lady Bruins team.
The title game against Paonia was close for a while with the Lady Panthers pulling away for a 55-36 win and the 2012 tournament title.
Tournament Play Opening Round Delta 69, Ced. 51
Photo by Tina Timbreza This year’s First Colorado National Bank Classic Tournament winners, Delta Lady Panthers, are pictured above. Members of the team include, left to right, Shelby Curtis, Callie Gafford, Skylyn Webb, Brooke Taylor, Erin Zunich, Patti Chapman, Brittanny Brasfield, Katie Puderbaugh, Kenzie Jones, and Reilly Quist. Delta defeated Paonia to win the tournament. Delta is coached by Matt Hamm (head coach), Ryan Hilbig (junior varsity), and Rosie Johnson (freshmen).The Panthers picked up where they left off with Eagle Valley on Thursday night. A solid first quarter led to a 21-9 advantage for the Panthers and they went on to score a 69-51 decision over Cedaredge in first round play of the First Colorado National Bank Classic.
Chris Black, Mitch Whiteside, and Eian Baier all collected four points in the big first-quarter run.
The game's tempo slowed in second quarter action. Black and Jaden Cowley scored six points each for the Panthers. Reid Gates had four counters for the Bruins in a 12-12 tie in the second quarter. Delta held a 33-21 halftime lead.
ln the third quarter Delta re-established a potent offense to outscore the Bruins 22-8 and essentially put the icing on the cake. Black and Jorge Olivas led the way for Delta with six points each in the period. Tylor Beach and Corey Reynolds had four points each for Cedaredge.
The Bruins had their best quarter of the game in the fourth period in a 22-14 advantage for Cedaredge. Aaron Henrie held the hot hand for the Bruins with nine points in the period and Gates had six.
Delta had three players in double figures with Black's 16 leading the way. Baier finished with 14 and Olivas had 13.
Delta suffered a loss of a different kind in the Cedaredge game when Black dislocated a shoulder in a scuffle for a loose ball. The tough senior missed the second half of the game and exited the title game in the first quarter when he tried to play. His return is pending further medical evaluation.
Tourney Title Game Delta 76, Hot. 59
Hotchkiss and Delta met in the title game of the First Colorado National Bank Classic. The Bulldogs used solid play from senior Taylor Schriener to help Hotchkiss stay close through the first half of the boys' championship game. Schreiner scored six points in the first quarter and dumped in 11 points in the second. Hotchkiss trailed the Panthers 34-31 at the break.
Delta outscored the Bulldogs by just two points in the first quarter and only one in the second frame. Cowley had six points in the first quarter and Keaton Reiher hit three shots from beyond the arc in the second with Baier chipping in six points.
The game's complexion changed in the third quarter with Delta taking command with an 18-9 run that put it ahead 52-40 entering the final quarter of play.
Ryan Whiteside and Doug Hawkins ignited a fourth quarter rally for Delta with 11 and seven points respectively.
Schreiner finished with nine points in the fourth quarter and was easily the game's leading scorer with 28 points. Schreiner was four-for-four in the period from the free throw line and was eight-for-nine for the game. Five players finished with double-digit scoring for the Panthers.
Ryan Whiteside paced the Panthers with 15 counters while Doug Hawkins finished with 14 and Reiher had 13. Cowley and Baier chipped in 10 points each for the winners.
This year's MVP came from the Delta starting lineup with Doug Hawkins being honored.
The Bulldogs are 0-1 and 4-2 overall in the 2A/1A division. By playing upper division schools, the Bulldogs gain valuable experience as the core of their season nears.
Head coach Kyle Crowder remains optimistic about the coming season for his Bulldogs. After the title game with Delta, Crowder provided positive thoughts concerning his team. "We missed too many opportunities both nights. Against Delta, a one-possession game quickly jumped to a five possession game. We'll work on things to help us become the best we can be. The kids are getting better each game. This is a very special group of kids. They play hard and wanna get better. They take a lot of pride in what they do."
Delta Girls Tournament Play Delta 53, Ced. 28
Mistakes and a determined Cedaredge Lady Bruins' basketball team combined to keep the first quarter of play even. Delta rode the coattails of Callie Gafford's six points to post a 13-12 lead after the first eight minutes of play. Kristen Gardner knocked in five points for the Bruins while Jordan Smith had four.
Second quarter play began the slide for Cedaredge in this game. Skylyn Webb's 13 points helped Delta bolt to a 15-4 advantage in the period and gave the Panthers a 28-16 halftime lead. Webb hit four field goals and was five-of-five from the charity stripe to lead the way.
Gafford and Webb combined for Delta's 13 points in the third quarter while Cedaredge made five points, all from the free throw line.
Delta closed the game with a 12-7 fourth quarter run and a final score of 53-28. Webb finished the game with 21 points and Gafford had 16 to lead the Delta offense. Smith finished with 10 points to lead Cedaredge.
Title Game Delta 55, Paonia 36
After a very close title game in last year's tournament, the Paonia Lady Eagles were looking to duplicate that feat and possibly take home the tournament title. Unfortunately for them, the Delta Panthers had other thoughts.
Delta jumped to an early 8-0 lead and things looked bleak for the Eagles. Two free throws from Abby Campbell put Paonia on the board. The Panthers, behind Webb's six points, eased their way to a 12-6 edge in the first eight minutes of play.
Paonia stormed back in the second quarter with tenacious defensive play and held Delta to a 12-11 advantage in the period. Delta led 24-17 at the break.
The two teams battled each other to a 15-13 Delta advantage in the third quarter. Chelsy Reed sparked the Lady Eagles' offense with seven points, including a three-pointer. Webb and Gafford countered with seven points apiece for Delta. It was still anyone's game heading to the final quarter with Delta leading 39-36.
Paonia turnovers and steals by the Panthers' defense propelled Delta to a 16-6 run over the last eight minutes of the game. Webb accounted for 10 of the Delta points as she stole passes and received assist passes from her teammates.
Webb had another monster offensive day for Delta with 27 points. Gafford was good for 17 as the Panthers evened their season record at 3-3.
Paonia's top scorers were Reed and Annavah Kropp with eight points each.
Delta also picked up added hardware with the selection of Webb as the tournament's MVP. Her comments about the award reflected how much the team theme has evolved in Delta High School Lady Panther's basketball. "It feels great to have this honor, but it was the team that won it. The team deserves as much credit."
Delta Coach Matt Hamm praised his team for their efforts in the tournament for finishing on a high note and playing up to their ability.
Delta will kick off the new year with a visit from Glenwood Springs on Jan. 11.
Game times for the girls' and boys' varsity games are 6 and 7:30 p.m.
Junior varsity action precedes each varsity game with start times of 3 and 4:30 p.m.
Delta travels to Steamboat Springs on Jan. 12 for games at 12:30 and 2 p.m.