Rob Ames took the reins of the Delta High School boys basketball team a year ago and enjoyed a ride through a 16-8 season which included a trip to the Class 3A State Basketball Championships. Delta defeated No. 17 Arrupe Jesuit before falling to No. 1 Sterling in the Sweet 16.
The loss of three starters means it's someone else's turn to step up and keep the hopes of a return to the next state tournament in March of 2019.
For Ames, his second season of being the head coach at Delta High School just might be another fun-filled adventure which eventually leads the Panthers back to the state playoffs. Ames spent 24 seasons as Delta's freshman coach and has the temperament and expertise to guide the Panthers to another successful campaign.
Standing in the way of success is the likes of Coal Ridge and Roaring Fork, both of which dealt Delta defeats a year ago and were in the state tournament field. Ames sees the two powerhouses as teams to contend with again in 2018-19 because both are well-coached and have winning traditions.
Delta will be on all the 3A WSL teams' radar as the team to be wary of. The Panthers are explosive and unconventional defensively with quickness and savvy.
This year's varsity squad is composed of eight seniors and four juniors. Seniors listed include Kyle Mock (returning after an injury in his junior year), Andrew Baier, Jonathan Robinson, Joe Bules, Eli Farmer, John Ames, Caleb Miramontes and Rowyn Carmichael.
Juniors listed on the 2018-19 roster are Alexis Fausto, Nathan Workman, Hunter Hughes and Felipe Bedoy.
Coach Ames is guardedly optimistic about the season. "Replacing three starters will be tough, but we will play hard, improve, and have fun along the way."
Delta opened the season in Denver at the Faith Christian Invitational last Friday. The Vanguard School was Delta's first round opponent and an evenly played game for the first quarter and a half turned into an 82-62 loss for the Panthers. Too many mistakes and poor team shooting also contributed to the loss.
Ames had an early rhythm in the game and finished with 16 points against the Coursers with 10 points each from Andrew Baier and Jonathan Robinson.
Double-digit scoring in each of the four quarters against Manitou Springs on Saturday propelled Delta to a 52-33 victory. Mock's 14 counters led the way against the Mustangs followed by Baier's 13.
Delta played Olathe Dec. 4 and does not play again until Dec. 8 in Alamosa (6/7:30 p.m.) and again on Dec. 9 in Centauri (12:30/ 2 p.m.).