The Delta High School girls basketball team is rolling into Christmas break with some momentum at their backs.

The Panthers pulled off two lopsided victories and one narrow loss at the Black Canyon Tournament in Montrose this past weekend to finish the first portion of the season with a 4-1 record.

“We’re still so young and we’re trying to figure out how to execute on offense as a team,” Delta coach Kyle Crowder said. “But each game our shooting continues to get better and better.”

The tournament opener against Palisade illustrated this perfectly, where the Panthers led by only 10 points at halftime but buried their opponents 39-14 in the second half en route to a 64-29 victory.

Crowder said the contest was one of the best they’ve had on defense despite minor mistakes and they carried that momentum into Montrose, where the Panthers lost 47-40. Delta led 17-7 after one quarter, but the Indians swung back to take a 24-21 lead at the break. The Panthers knotted it up at 32-32 but the host school was too much in the fourth quarter.

Erika Kuta led the way with 16 points and Tatem Miller had 10 points on 2-of-4 shooting from deep.

Still, Delta had 26 turnovers, only eight coming off steals from Montrose, and Crowder said those must be cleaned up moving forward.

“Turnovers have been an issue overall through the whole season,” the coach said. “That comes with playing young girls and it’s something we work to address every week. That will translate into better offensive looks and hopefully more wins once we address that.”

The Panthers closed out the tournament with a 71-14 win over Roaring Fork.

Delta returns after Christmas break to host Centauri on Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. They face Alamosa the following day with tip-off at 4 p.m.

“I’m excited that we got some court time,” Crowder said of the tournament. “That’s been our downfall heading into this. We have a bunch of these teams who already played five or six games. That’s been as beneficial as anything, finally getting on the court. The more games we play, we’re going to find more successes in different parts of the game.”

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