Delta's boys basketball team opened the week with a purpose in mind. A chance to redeem losses suffered earlier in the season, and a raise in seeding rankings, were goals targeted by the Panthers.
Tuesday's start against Olathe in quarterfinal action proved to be a solid effort to get the ball rolling toward a desired goal. Delta made short work of the Pirates in a 73-22 win.
Second seeded Roaring Fork changed Delta's plans in semifinal action on Friday in a shocking 52-49 win which sent the Panthers to the third-place game on Saturday morning. Delta came from behind against Grand Valley to score a 50-48 win and claim third place.
Delta 73, Olathe 22
A track meet broke out during Tuesday's quarterfinal round game between Delta and Olathe with the Panthers racing to a 26-2 opening quarter and racking up 48 points by halftime.
Dylan Hollenbeck fueled the 26-point surge by the Panthers in the first quarter with eight of his 12 points. Sophomore Felipe Bedoy followed with an eight-point second quarter to help Delta score 22 more points.
Delta's second half produced another 25 points to make the final score 73-22.
Logan Freed scored a game-high 15 points, spread over four periods, to lead three other Panthers with double figures. Bedoy and Hollenbeck finished with 12 points each and Andrew Baier scored 11.
Olathe's Giovani Padilla had eight points for the Pirates.
Rams 52, Delta 49
Things were moving in a positive direction in the first half of play and Delta took a 35-21 at the break.
Third-quarter play was nearly even with Roaring Fork claiming a 14-12 advantage at the end of the period. Delta seemed to have control of the game as the fourth quarter began.
A sudden lack of offensive presence handed the Rams an opportunity to seize momentum and take charge with a 17-2 run and a stunning victory, 52-49.
The loss landed Delta in Saturday's third-place game against Grand Valley, a team the Panthers had recently defeated 63-62.
Delta 50, Cardinals 48
Delta had extended its lead to double-digits against Grand Valley the last time these two teams played (Feb. 17). The Panthers owned a 51-40 lead heading to the fourth quarter. A determined, and hot-shooting Grand Valley team, made the game more interesting than Delta fans wanted with a 22-12 run which left the Cardinals a point short on a last second shot, 63-62.
The most recent game, Grand Valley got the quicker start and was leading at halftime 27-21, paced by Kade Hurst's 10 points.
Delta found the right ingredients for its missing offense in the game against Roaring Fork, and put up 20 points to take a 41-34 lead with one period left to play.
Hurst tried single-handedly to forge a win with eight points in the fourth quarter of a 14-9 Cardinal run. Jaspar Carmichael's three for four from the charity stripe helped preserve Delta's 50-48 win, and a third place finish.
Hurst was the game's leading scorer with 20 points and Freed was Delta's leading scorer with 15 points.
Delta coach Rob Ames was somewhat dismayed with the way last week's tournament played out for the Panthers. What he has going for him is deep belief in his team and its belief in each other. "To me it's obvious the players trust what they're doing. We've become an offensive team with a good defense. We're trusting what we are doing and we can be better. We haven't played our best yet."
Delta finished district play with a 15-7 overall record and drew a 16th seed to enter the 3A state basketball tournament beginning March 2.
Delta travels to No. 1 Sterling (22-0) and is scheduled to face 17th seed Arrupe Jesuit (17-4) at 8 p.m. On the other side of the bracket, Sterling will play 32nd seed Ridge View Academy (14-8). Winners of these two games play on Saturday (March 3) in the Sweet 16 round.
Sweet 16 winners play in the Great 8 at Denver University (Hamilton Gym) on March 8 with those winners advancing to the Final Four March 9. The 3A state title will be determined on March 10 at DU.
The seventh annual Eckert Crane Days, the annual viewing of the sandhill cranes migrating north from New Mexico through Colorado's West Slope, will be March 16-18. Representatives from the Black Canyon Chapter of the Audubon Society (BCAS) will be at the viewing site east of Eckert at Fruitgrowers Reservoir, 9 to 11 a.m. each day, to answer questions and provide binoculars and spotting scopes.