With a season of experience under their belts, Delta High School's girls basketball team is straining at the bit to kick off the 2018-19 hoops campaign.
After a 16-8 season last year the Panthers defeated Resurrection Christian in the opening round of the 3A state tournament and lost in the Sweet 16 round to top-seeded Kent Denver, 57-52, to end the season.
Though this year's squad is without some of the key figures in last year's season the Panthers are more physical and have a great attitude for the coming year.
Coach Kyle Crowder will be in his third season with 16 years of experience and Harold Clay returns to assist with Kayley Archuleta taking over the reins of the freshman program.
This year's squad has some key players who serve as a solid core for a talented roster. Missa Webb is back for her senior year after being selected to the Honorable Mention squad last season. Junior Sara Geddes was an all-conference selection last season with sophomore Keely Porter, another Honorable Mention selection last year, leading the way. Senior Kaley St. Peter also returns to add valuable experience to the mix in 2018-19.
Impact players for the Panthers include Webb, who has great athleticism and can shoot with speed and leadership abilities. Geddes is another athletic player who plays inside with great finishing moves around the hoop with leadership qualities as well. The youngest of the impact players is Porter who exudes athleticism with a good shot and an uncanny ability to finish shots.
Crowder sees Cedar-edge as one of those teams in the 3A WSL to beat in 2018-19 due to its past record and there is still lots of talent for Russell Coleman, the new girls coach at Cedaredge.
The Panthers won't overlook Grand Valley which has a tradition that always breeds success. Moffat County is another team boasting tradition that warrants an "A" game play each time.
Delta kicked off its basketball season at last weekend's Faith Christian Invitational in Arvada.
As for Delta's outlook... "Hopefully we can be league, district and regional champs! We want to play at state," noted Crowder.
The Panthers opened season-play with The Vanguard School out of Colorado Springs on Friday. A 15-5 first quarter set the stage for Delta's 39-29 win.
Game two on Saturday matched the Panthers against Manitou Springs in the tournament's title game. Delta used a 35-point first half to build a nine-point lead and from there cruised to a 52-31 win.
Webb led Delta's offense with 10 points on Friday against The Vanguard and scored 12 on Saturday against Manitou. Alexus Huff scored eight points on Friday and had 11 on Saturday.
On Dec. 2, officers of the Delta Police Department responded to a report of an assault. Officers spoke with a 64-year-old male with a bleeding injury on his neck.