Photo by Wayne Crick Delta junior Brittanny Brasfield shoots a short jumper from the left side against Longmont last Friday afternoon in Pueblo. Callie Gafford watches the shot while a Lady Trojan defender blocks her out. Delta advanced to the ‘Sweet 16’ for the second straight year after defeating Longmont 51-37 in the first round of play in the top bracket of the Tracy Hill Regional.For the second straight year, Delta's Lady Panthers played through the 'round of 32' and then fell to an opponent in the 'Sweet 16'. Delta knocked off number five Longmont, 51-37, on Friday afternoon at Pueblo West High School and then fell to the one seed Pueblo West Cyclones, 58-45.
The season-ending loss was not without more records for the Lady Panthers. For the second straight season, Delta finished with just five losses for the year. Last year's squad was 20-5 and lost in a 'Sweet 16' game against D'Evelyn. This year's squad finished 19-5 and had the best record for any WSL team.
Delta 51, Longmont 37
Skylyn Webb was, more or less, back to her usual self as the Lady Panthers' leading scorer as she sifted 17 points through the nets, including a nine of 10 performance at the free throw line. Callie Gafford was next in line with her 12 counters, with six coming in the first quarter.
Delta jumped out to a 17-9 lead in the opening quarter and never trailed in the contest. A 30-21 halftime lead kept the Lady Panthers on track for the win.
Webb nailed five of six free throw attempts in the third quarter and had seven points overall to lead Delta in an 11-9 advantage in the period.
Photo by Wayne Crick Delta point guard Patti Chapman (23) beats Pueblo West’s touted man-to-man press by dribbling through two defenders and getting the ball in the middle of the court. Delta’s road to a state title ended with a 58-45 loss to Pueblo West.Delta's defense was more than adequate in the fourth quarter helping the Lady Panthers to a 10-7 run and a 51-37 win in the 'Round of 32'.
Erin Zunich and Patti Chapman had six points each for the winners. Longmont had three players in double figures with Kathryn Schell leading the way with 12 points. Ella Fallon and Sydney Wetterstrom scored 10 points each for Longmont.
Defensively, Webb pulled down four rebounds, three assists, and had four steals. In the rebounding department, Gafford grabbed 12 rebounds while teammates Patti Chapman and Shelby Curtis had seven and five boards respectively.
Curtis also had four steals as did senior Erin Zunich. Chapman was credited with four assists in the game for Delta.
P. West 58, Delta 45
This game was run-and-gun for the first half of the game with Pueblo West pressuring the ball all over the court. Delta handled the pressure for the most part but trailed 32-22 at halftime.
Taylor Leyva was instrumental in keeping the Lady Cyclones on top in first-half play with 16 points, 10 coming in the first quarter.
Gafford and Webb provided most of the Lady Panthers' offense in the first half with 10 and eight points respectively.
Second-half play was more evenly played with Pueblo West holding a slight advantage, 26-23, to make the final score 58-45.
Webb's 13 second-half points sparked the Delta offense. The Ft. Lewis-bound Webb had another great day at the free throw line with her second straight nine for 10 day at the charity stripe.
Webb's 21 points led all scorers in the game with Leyva collecting 20 counters for the Lady Cyclones.
Daisey Romero chipped in 14 points and Haley Simental another 10 for Pueblo West. Gafford scored 14 points to give Delta two players in double figures.
Gafford topped Delta rebounders with 12 while Brooke Taylor and Curtis hauled down five apiece. The smallest player in the game, Chapman, grabbed four rebounds. Gafford blocked three shots.
This year's seniors who have played for the past three seasons can boast a highly successful career while wearing the Lady Panther uniform. In 2011, Delta was 17-6, including a share of the 4A WSL title and a trip to the round of 32.
In 2012, Delta posted a splendid 20-5 record for the first-ever 20-win season for a Lady Panther basketball team. Delta lost to D'Evelyn in the 'Sweet 16'.
This past season was another record-breaker with Delta going on an 18-game win streak before losing to Montrose in the WSL/SWL District Tournament. After a bye in the opening round of state playoffs, the Lady Panthers met Longmont in the Round of 32 and advanced on to the 'Sweet 16' before bowing out of the 2013 State 4A Basketball Championships with a 19-5 record.
In all, the seniors were part of an era that produced 65 wins in four years with just 25 losses. Over the past three years, Delta's Lady Panthers have posted a remarkable 56-16 record, three league titles, and three state playoff appearances.
To a player (seniors) the most special thing about this season's play was the chemistry between the entire team. For Skylyn Webb, her thoughts reflect a lot of what others have felt. "There couldn't have been a closer team. We've played together (excepting Erin Zunich who moved in from Nucla her sophomore year) for the past 10 years."
Zunich's thoughts on how special the past two seasons have been started with her acceptance into the group of girls who have played together for so long. "I'm so glad we moved to Delta. This is the best group of girls I could have played with."
Delta point guard Patti Chapman, who had struggled earlier in the season with entering the ball on offense, had been playing very well the past few weeks. Her perspective on what changed the way she finished the season included several aspects. "After practices, I would go home and my dad and I worked on dribbling and passing skills. Another thing that helped was working against Coach Hamm and Coach Hilbig in practices. Knowing they were confident in me made me more confident. I didn't want to be the point guard at first, but now I like it."