Photo by Wayne Crick Sophomore Eian Baier finds himself in tall timber against Eagle Valley last Saturday. The Devils were beaten soundly by the Panthers in their previous matchup, but Eagle Valley eeked out a heartbreaking 63-62 decision in their latest encounter.The intensity was there for most of the game against Eagle Valley last Saturday, but the results weren't exactly what the Delta High School boys' basketball team wanted.
The Devils (8-2, 12-3) were able to ward off Delta's furious rallies to defeat the visiting Panthers, 63-62.
A much more enjoyable evening was had by Delta on Friday against Battle Mountain where the Panthers rolled to a 77-56 victory.
Delta 77, BM 56
Friday night's contest against the Huskies was never in much doubt, even with a 29-point fourth quarter by Battle Mountain.
Delta rolled to a 21-10 advantage in the first quarter.
The Huskies got plenty of firepower from Alex Banegas who rained threes on the Delta defense for 18 points. Banegas had three bombs in the fourth quarter and finished the game with four three-pointers.
Chris Black was on fire for the Panthers in the early going as he pumped in 11 points (nine coming from behind the arc) in Delta's 21-10 first-quarter run.
The defensive pressure continued in the second quarter while Douglas Hawkins took over the Panthers' offense in second-period play with seven points. Hawkins and company outscored the Huskies 17-7 to take a 38-17 lead to their locker room at halftime.
Both teams scored 39 points in the second half with Battle Mountain's totals coming in a different manner than Delta's.
Delta used balanced scoring to build a 60-27 lead after three quarters of play.
A furious rally that included some extremely long-range shooting helped Battle Mountain close the gap to 21 after a 29-17 Husky run.
Delta's offense was paced by the double-figure scoring of four players. Douglas Hawkins led the way with 13 points with Chris Black and Eian Baier chipping in 11 counters each. Jorge Olivas was close behind with his 10 points.
EV 63, Delta 62
Despite shooting nine three-pointers in the game, Delta could not contain the inside game of Eagle Valley in a one-point loss.
Delta had defeated the Devils by more than 20 points in their first meeting.
Eagle Valley (8-2, 12-3) got off to a strong start and ran its way to a 17-9 first quarter. The game settled into a slower-paced game for the second quarter with Delta outscoring the Devils 13-12 to trail 29-22 at halftime.
Keaton Reiher hit a pair of threes in each of the third and fourth quarters to pace Delta's offense in second-half play.
The Panthers (7-3, 9-6) shot only six free throws in a game that was, in appearance, much more aggressive and physical than the free throw stats show. Delta hit five of the six charity tosses while Eagle Valley was seven for 14.
Delta's mental miscues and weak shooting accuracy hindered the Panthers in first-quarter play.
The loss marked the second time in as many weeks the Panthers lost a game by one point. Rifle sneaked past the Panthers 42-41 more than a week ago.
Reiher's 13 points topped four Delta players who finished with double-digit scoring. The other three scorers in double figures were Hawkins (12), Black (11) and Ryan Whiteside (10).
Travis Edgar led Eagle Valley with 20 points and Sam Lounsberry had 17. Ryan Werner finished with 11 to give the Devils three double-digit scorers.
Delta is back on the road to Glenwood Springs on Friday, Feb. 8, for a 7:30 p.m. start.
A Saturday contest with Steamboat Springs is set to begin at 3:30 p.m.
The Panthers will wrap up their regular season on Feb. 15 and 16 with games at home against Summit and in Palisade against the Bulldogs.