Photo by Wayne Crick Sophomore Eian Baier (33) takes a shot over Rifle’s Tanner Quick last Friday in Delta. The Bears had just enough on both sides of the ball to sneak past the Panthers 42-41.Puzzling is the description of Delta High School's boys basketball play over the past couple of weeks. A loss to bottom-dweller Summit two weeks ago and a win over the 4A WSL leader Palisade (59-56) on Tuesday, Jan. 22, seemed to get the Panthers back on a winning track.
Then Rifle comes to town. The "stumble-bug" returned as Delta fell by a 42-41 decision to the Bears, whom it defeated 57-50 in Rifle on Jan. 18.
The up and down play returned to an "up" on Saturday with a 65-55 win at home over the Battle Mountain Huskies (3-5, 7-6).
Delta (6-2, 8-5) is resting in third place after sharing the league lead with Palisade (7-1, 9-4) a week ago. Eagle Valley is second with its 6-1 and 10-2 record.
Delta 59, Palisade 56
A big win on Tuesday against the visiting Bulldogs put Delta right where it wanted to be — on top of the 4A WSL.
The Panthers started with a 13-9 first-quarter run and kept their offense warmed up enough in the second quarter to take a 25-22 lead to the locker room at halftime.
Douglas Hawkins led the Panthers charge in the period with all 10 of his points coming in the first half.
Each team netted 19 points in the third quarter and followed that with a 15-all fourth quarter to make the final score 59-56.
Chris Black scored eight of his team-high 15 points in the second half with Hawkins' 10 points giving the Panthers two players in double digit scoring.
Rifle's Zach Marengo (15 points, 11 coming in the fourth quarter) shared game-high scoring honors with Black. Skyler Miller had 13 for Palisade's second player in double figure scoring.
Delta's JV won by two points, 23-21.
Rifle 42, Delta 41
The Panthers were outscored 26-21 in the first half of play with Tanner Quick scoring 10 of his 14 game, and team-high, points for Palisade.
Delta had too many turnovers and missed shots in the second half to make a difference offensively. The half-court offense of both teams was stymied by a variety of mistakes. The Panthers cut into the Bears' lead with an 11-8 third quarter and came up short in a 9-8 final period of play.
Keaton Reiher, with four three-pointers, led Delta's offense with 12 points while Hawkins finished with nine. Rifle's Quick had 14 to lead all scorers in the game.
Delta 65, BM 55
It wasn't a fast start for the Panthers, but they played steady throughout the game to post their eighth win of the season against five losses with a 65-55 decision over the Huskies of Battle Mountain.
Balanced scoring from the Panthers helped them take a 12-9 lead after one period of play and a 32-24 lead at halftime. Joe Lybarger had a hot hand for the Huskies and scored 14 of his 21 game-high points in the first half.
Defenses were the main weapons in the second half as neither team could pull away. Delta did manage to outscore the Huskies 33-31 in the second half.
Reiher scored at least two points in each of the four quarters played to finish with 13 points for the winners. Three other Panthers finished in double digits as well. Hawkins had 12, Black 11, and Ryan Whiteside netted 10 points.
The Panthers are still in the thick of things in the 4A WSL. This week's schedule has Delta on the road once again. Friday's contest is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start in Edwards against the Battle Mountain Huskies. On Saturday, Delta is in Gypsum where the Panthers are slated to play Eagle Valley at 2 p.m.