Taylor Smith scores one of his five layups against the Palisade Bulldogs in first-quarter play.
The Delta High School Panthers have a 10-game winning streak after defeating Palisade 63-58 in overtime last Tuesday (Feb. 14). The game, played in Palisade, avenges an earlier season loss (53-49) on Jan. 10 in Delta.
Palisade (9-3; 17-6) fell to third place with the loss after leading the 4A WSL for much of the season. Delta and Eagle Valley completed their regular season schedules with identical 10-2 marks in league play with the Devils showing an 18-5 overall mark and Delta a 17-5 slate.
The Panthers began play in the first period against Palisade with determination and hustle that netted them a 21-7 lead that gave way to 21-12 going into the second quarter.
Taylor Smith was everywhere for the Panthers as he funnelled 10 first-quarter points through the net to lead the way. Ethan Jack Baier chipped in six for the Panthers during the run. Kyle Monger's seven points led Palisade's offensive effort.
In the second quarter, Jake Ames gave Delta a boost with a nine-point effort to keep the Panthers ahead in an 11-10 edge for Delta. The Panthers led 32-22 at the break.
Photo by Wayne Crick
Delta High School’s head basketball coach, Von Mitchell, makes a point during a time out in last week’s crucial game against the Palisade Bulldogs. Delta needed a win to assure themselves a piece of the league championship with Eagle Valley, and win they did....63-58 in overtime. After taking an early 21-7 lead in the first quarter, the Panthers held on for their 10th straight win.
Palisade's halftime chat must have sparked some momentum as the Bulldogs came out growling in the third period for a 22-14 run. The explosion for Palisade narrowed the Panthers' lead to 46-44 heading into the final stanza. Baier and Ames provided six and four points respectively for the Panthers to keep Delta on top with one quarter left to play.
Palisade outscored the Panthers 10-8 to force an overtime with the game tied at 54-54.
Delta won the extra period with help from Ames' four-for-four free throw shooting and Colin Fraser's two field goals in a 9-4 run for the Panthers to make the final score 63-58.
Ames led Delta's offense with 19 points while Smith finished with 14. Baier ended the game with 13 points and Fraser 11 to give Delta four players in double figures.
Monger finished with 13 to lead Palisade, Kane Gunther had 11, and Jesus Aguirre had 10 to give the Bulldogs three players in double-digit scoring numbers.
With the release of state pairings, Delta's Panthers have to be excited. Delta ended up in the Ron Shavlik Region and is seeded fourth with its 17-6 record. The Panthers will have a bye in the first round (Feb. 21) and face the winner of Greeley Central (13-10) and Harrison (8-15) on Friday, Feb. 24, in Delta.
Other 4A WSL teams in the playoffs include fourth seeded Eagle Valley (18-5), seventh seeded Palisade (17-6), 10th seeded Steamboat Springs (7-14), and Glenwood Springs at number 12 (10-13). Montrose crosses over from 5A to take a three spot at 19-4.