As the race for team titles nears the end of a competitive season, Delta's Panthers find themselves in place to claim 3A WSL hoops titles for the 2018-19 season. Delta's girls and boys are currently sitting on top of their respective divisions with just four games remaining, including three of four conference tilts on the schedule.
This Thursday's (Feb. 7) is a non-conference matchup with 5A/4A Southwestern League member Central, which is 1-4 in league play and 6-12 overall (girls) and 2-3 and 5-13 (boys).
Both Delta teams, however, have more than a passing interest in keeping winning streaks alive. The girls have a 10-game winning streak on the line after losing theironly game of the year to Centauri, 53-43, on Dec. 12, 2018. Delta's boys are on a mini-streak of three wins following a recent loss to Palisade, 50-34, on Jan. 22.
Delta's girls are 6-0 in league play and 14-1 overall. There's a lot at risk for the Panthers after regaining the top spot in RPI rankings ahead of Colorado Springs Christian. The Panther boys have the state's 12th-place RPI rating, with Coal Ridge still clinging to an eighth-place standing (even though Delta defeated it, 62-55, three weeks ago).
Delta's girls reached their lofty perch in the RPI rankings after defeating a pair of top ranked 3A WSL, and state teams Delta played in Cedaredge (Jan. 29) and traveled to Craig to face Moffat County's Bulldogs on Friday to break a tie for the league's top spot.
Cedaredge is fifth in league play and is 11th in 3A RPI poles. The Bulldogs are in second place (6-1 and 12-4) with a 10th place standing in 3A and 15th in the RPI poles.
Delta's boys are 6-0 in league play and 11-4 overall with a 12th place ranking in the RPI poll and 15 in 3A standings. The one team with distinct potential to derail the Panthers ride toward post-season play is second place Gunnison (6-1 and 13-3). That contest is schedule for Feb. 14 in Delta.
Delta 52, Bruins 24
The short trip to Cedaredge wasn't a heartbreak ride it has been in the past for Delta. In previous seasons, the Bruins have owned Delta. That trend was reversed this season with Delta winning the two times the teams have played this season.
Last week's 52-24 win for Delta was a dominant effort for the Panthers on both ends of the floor. Delta's defense limited the Bruins to 14 points in the first half and shut out Cedaredge's offense in the third quarter in a 15-0 run for the Panthers.
Cedaredge senior Courtney Freeman led the Bruins' offense with eight points, including a five-for-six night at the free throw line. Senior Hannah Gardner finished with six points for Cedaredge.
Sophomore Keely Porter had a six-for-seven night at the charity stripe and finished with 15 points to lead Delta's offense. Sophomore Alexa Huff was next with 12 points and senior Missa Webb had 11 for the Panthers.
Delta 49, Bulldogs 43
Tension was high at tipoff time as the two top 3A WSL teams battled for the league title. Both teams were unbeaten in league play coming into last Friday's game in Craig.
Delta headed into the second quarter with a 10-9 lead. That security of any kind of a lead soon vanished with the physical style of play favoring the homestanding Bulldogs. Moffat County used the offense of Kinlie Brennise's nine points to grind out a 17-10 advantage and a 26-20 halftime lead. Junior Sara Geddes dropped in five points for the Panthers to keep them within striking distance.
Halftime benefitted Delta more than the Bulldogs with a third quarter 22-point barrage giving the Panthers a 42-35 lead that Moffat County could not recover from.
Kinlie Brennise scored 14 points for the Bulldogs and was the game's leading scorer. Geddes' 12 points paced Delta's offense with Porter adding another nine counters, Webb eight and Marcy Schaal with seven.
Delta 74, Bruins 34
The Panthers' run to a league title began in Cedaredge last week. A 22-4 first quarter saw six Delta players record at least two points in the offensive surge. Junior Felipe Bedoy came off the bench to score a pair of 3-point goals to lead the way in the first quarter.
Senior Rowyn Carmichael scored four points in the second quarter to lead the Panthers in a 17-11 run and a 39-15 halftime lead.
A pair of treys from senior John Ames ignited a 23-point explosion for the Panthers in the third quarter and Delta's defense held the Bruins to 12 points in the period. Junior Nathan Workman's six points sparked a 12-7 final quarter and a final score of 74-34.
Senior Kyle Mock spread 11 points over four quarters to lead Delta's offense with Ames and Workman finishing with nine points each. Junior Hunter Hughes, and seniors Jonathan Robinson and Joe Bules scored eight points each in the win.
Cedaredge sophomore Jacob Brown scored 13 points to lead the Bruins with senior teammate Jared Reynolds finishing the night with 11 counters.
Delta 67, Bulldogs 29
This 3A WSL contest was key for Delta and the Panthers delivered a dominating 67-29 victory to remain in control of the WSL.
Delta's 15-5 first quarter set the tone for success. After a 21-5 second quarter there was little doubt as to which team was in control.
The Panther's lead grew in the third quarter following a 20-10 run that pushed the score to 56-20 and a running clock for the remainder of the game.
All but one player contributed to Delta's win with at least three points. Senior Adrew Baier had 12 points to lead all scorers in the game with Workman adding 10 points and Hughes nine.
Moffat County's leading scorer was Jerod Chacon with three 3-point goals and nine points.
Delta is Aspen (0-5 and 3-11) this Saturday, Feb. 9, for girls and boys varsity games at 2:30 and 4 p.m. respectively. Next week's schedule has the Panthers hosting Olathe (2-4 and 7-9) on Feb. 12 with varsity games tipping off at 6 and 7:30 p.m.