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Delta girls 3A WSL titlists

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Photo by Wayne Crick Delta senior Missa Webb scores two of her 10 points on this layup against Gunnison's Cowboys last Thursday. The win gave Delta an undefeated 3A WSL campaign (9-0) to go with an 18-1 overall record for the season.

Matt Hamm started the ball rolling for Delta High School girls basketball teams to be regular participants in post-season and state tournament play in 2011. Hamm led the Panthers to a 10-2 4A WSL record and 17-6 overall which led to a share of the league title with Moffat County. Though Delta lost to Thompson Valley in the first round, a proud tradition of winning had been established.

Hamm returned in 2012 with another 10-2 season in the 4A WSL and a three-way tie for the title. Delta finished at 20-5 overall on the 2012 season. The Panthers were seeded fifth and defeated No. 12 Conifer in the first round and No. 4 Silver Creek in the second round. A loss to No. 1 D'Evelyn in the Sweet 16 ended Delta's year.

Hamm's charges were 14-0 in 2013 and 4A WSL champions that year with a 19-5 overall mark. The Panthers, seeded fourth, had a bye in the first round and knocked off No. 5 Longmont in the second round but was eliminated, again, by No. 1 Pueblo West in the Sweet 16.

Enter Kyle Crowder in 2017. The Panthers finished a paltry 5-4 in the 3A WSL with a 13-9 overall record to finish fifth in the league. Delta was No. 26 heading into the state tournament and defeated No. 7 The Academy in a first round game. A loss to No. 10 Liberty Common ended Delta's season in the round of Sweet 16.

In 2018 the Panthers were 7-2 in the 3A WSL and had a 16-8 record at season's end. Delta (No. 17), defeated No. 16 Resurrection Christian in the opening round and lost to No. 1 Kent Denver in the Sweet 16 round to end the season.

All the Panthers did in 2018-19 was build a 9-0 3A WSL record to win the league title and are heading into this year's post season with an amazing 18-1 overall record and a number three RPI ranking in Class 3A

Delta had the WSL title well in hand before finishing its regular season with a 52-30 win at home over Olathe and cruising past Gunnison 62-42 on Valentine's Day.

Delta 52, Olathe 30

The Panthers had balanced scoring in the first quarter and took a six-point lead into the second period.

Keely Porter's five points led Delta scorers in the second quarter as the Panthers outscored Olathe by 10 to take a 30-14 lead at the break.

Porter continued her strong offensive play in the third quarter with eight points and Madison Gieck tallied seven of her 10 points in the game in the final period to help Delta outscore the Pirates 22-16 in the second half.

Delta's offense was led by Porter's 18 points with Gieck finishing with 10. Maddi Brown had seven points to lead Olathe.

Delta 62, Gunnison 42

Delta took a 12-4 lead after one period and all but had the game salted away with a 29-15 halftime lead.

Both teams were offensive-minded in the third quarter with Delta holding a three-point advantage following a combined 39-point performance. Sara Geddes had seven points and Missa Webb another six to lead Delta's offense. Gunnison got six points each from Jenna Wise and Kylie Travis on four shots from behind the arc.

A free throw shooting contest took place in the fourth quarter with Delta winning on six of eight shots and Gunnison four of eight. Erika Kuta scored six points to pace the Panthers in a 12-9 run.

Kuta finished as the game's leading scorer with 15 points and Geddes contributed 12 with Webb and Porter adding 10 points each.

Wise and Maddie Nelson had nine points to lead Gunnison's offense. Hayden Powers finished with eight points.

Delta's girls played a play-in game against Basalt on Feb. 19 for pairings purposes in this weekend's district tournament at Grand Junction Central High School on Friday and Saturday.

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