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Panthers began hoops play last week

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Delta's Panthers took on Hotchkiss Dec. 6 with all four teams recording victories in basketball action. The Panthers' junior varsity girls won 50-18 while the boys junior varsity claimed a 68-24 decision. In varsity play it was 63-43 for the girls from Delta and 72-44 for Delta's boys.

On Dec. 8 the Panthers won three of four games with Delta's varsity boys the only loser on the night.

Delta Girls
Delta 63, Hotchkiss 43

After pushing to a 16-8 first-quarter lead, Delta continued building its lead with an 11-7 second quarter effort and a 27-15 halftime advantage.

Delta's Emily Nortnik and Missa Webb paced the Panthers' offense with 14 points each. Nortnik scored 10 of her points in the fourth quarter while Webb put up seven counters in the third frame.

Emily Baier finished the game with eight points while Jenna Sutliff and Sara Geddes scored seven points each. Hotchkiss' Carson Collins was 7-8 at the free throw line, hitting five of six in the fourth quarter, for a total of 11 points. Kaiya Firor had the hot hand for Hotchkiss as she finished with 19 points in the game.

Delta's defense held the Bulldogs in check with single digit figures for the first three quarters of play. A fourth quarter rally by Hotchkiss netted more points (22) in one period than the Bulldogs had scored in the first three quarters (21) combined.

Delta 51, Basalt 16

The Panthers' defense dominated play for three quarters against Basalt on Thursday. Basalt managed just one point in the first quarter and added another four in the second period. Meanwhile, Delta rattled home 13 points in the first frame and poured in 24 more in a second quarter to take a 37-5 to halftime.

Delta didn't carry its defensive effort to the second half allowing the Longhorns to score 20 points, 12 in the fourth quarter. The Panthers outscored Basalt 24-20 for a 61-25 winning margin.

Baier had a monster night offensively with 24 points with teammates Nortnik and Geddes adding 10 points each in the win. Cintia Miramontes had 12 points to lead the Longhorn offense.

Delta will meet Paonia in the first round of the First Colorado National Bank Basketball Tournament beginning on Friday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. The tournament features the four Delta County High School teams, Cedaredge, Delta, Hotchkiss and Paonia. Delta and Paonia play each other the first night and will face the winner of Cedaredge and Hotchkiss' game on Friday night on Saturday in a championship game at 7:30 p.m. The losers play at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Delta Boys
Delta 72, Hotchkiss 44

Delta was the aggressor in first-half play and bolted to a 38-17 lead after two quarters of play. The Panthers used a 34-27 second half scoring advantage to build a final score of 72-44.

Five players scored double figures for the Panthers in the win. Jaspar Carmichael and Logan Freed shared team scoring honors with 12 points each. Jon Robinson, Dylan Hollenbeck and Kyle Mock scored 10 points each for the Panthers.

Zack Allen's 14 points paced all scorers in the game and Sam Rodriguez added 11 points for the Bulldogs. Hotchkiss did not have a single free throw attempt in the game.

Basalt 64, Delta 53

Delta lost both games against the Longhorns last season. Basalt matched, and exceeded the Panthers' speed of play with an excellent defense and a few players who could shoot the ball. It's not often Delta is outplayed in many phases of the game of basketball.

The Longhorns were seven points better at the end of the first eight minutes of play and held a 31-21 lead at the break.

Delta's leading scorers for the game, Mock (17) and Carmichael (12) had seven and eight points, respectively, after two quarters of play. Mock finished the game with five of six from the free throw line and two field goals to account for his 17 counters in the game.

Michael Glenn spread his 22 points over four quarters to lead Basalt's fast-paced offense. Wade Soho scored all 15 of his points in the game's first three quarters.

A 22-point fourth quarter for the Panthers evened second half play but left Delta too far back when the game ended. Basalt scored 18 points in the third period and 15 in the final stanza for 33 second half points. The Panthers scored 10 in the third and 22 in the fourth for 32 points.

The Panthers will host the First Colorado National Bank tournament this weekend, Dec. 16-17. Teams from Delta County are the featured teams with competition returning to the old format of the Bank of the West tournament, which was played from 1994 to 2013. This year's tournament will begin a new chapter in the pre-Christmas competition with the same challenges. Teams will vie for county bragging rights, scholarship monies and most valuable player accolades.

Delta's boys begin tournament play on Friday, Dec. 16, with a 7:30 p.m. contest against Paonia. Cedaredge and Hotchkiss play in the other first round game at 4:30 p.m.

Winners from the first round square off for the tournament title on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Losers from the first round play on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Photo by Wayne Crick Delta senior Beau Byers glides past Hotchkiss’ Zack Allen (24) during Delta’s season-opener in Hotchkiss on Dec. 6. The Panthers had five players in double figure scoring and came away with a 72-44 non-conference win.
Photo by Wayne Crick Megan Sandovall (00) has company as she reaches for a rebound against Hotchkiss on Dec. 6. Hotchkiss’ Kaliegh Little (33) and Andi Todd (13) scrap for the ball as well. Delta had the most firepower in the game and won 63-43.
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