The wait is about over for Delta High School girls basketball season to begin. Second year girls coach Kyle Crowder is probably as anxious to tip the season off as his team is.
The 2017-18 version of this year's girls team is seriously young in experience but has some potentially explosive youth that might sneak up on teams when the season kicks off.
Delta has several returning varsity players who figure to be a solid core for Crowder. Sophomore Sara Geddes is expected to be productive on offense at the post position and solid in the rebounding department as well.
Juniors Jenna Sutliff and Missa Webb return to play in the front court with senior Aubrey Jones figuring to be a valuable asset both inside and out for the Panthers this season.
Junior Kaley St. Peter will see action at the guard position with sophomore Hailyn McCollough and freshman Keeley Porter in line for plenty of action as well.
Last year's Panthers finished 13-9 and played in the 3A State Tournament as the 26th seed. Delta took on number seven The Academy in first round play and won a 57-50 decision to reach the Sweet 16 to play number 10 Liberty Common. Liberty ended the Panthers' season with a 53-29 win.
Assistant coaches Harold Clay, junior varsity, (over 25 years experience and a boys state championship at Hotchkiss High School in 1992), Austin Hale, freshman, (second season) and Kayley Archuleta (first season) help oversee practice sessions at Delta High School.
Crowder doesn't want to get crazy with predictions for the Panthers. "We want to contest for a league championship."
There are many teams from the 3A WSL which stand in the way of a league title. Olathe, Grand Valley, Moffat County, Cedaredge and Delta all played in last year's state tournament, and all but Cedaredge's Bruins made it to the round of Sweet 16. None of those teams, however, advanced to the Great 8 for final four opportunity.
Crowder's final note expresses his hopes for what the season brings. "We want to be a shut-down defense with improved outside shooting and better conversion of post opportunities. I would like to see the girls continue to raise expectations as player/student/people. I fully expect the team to improve over the season and grow together as a unit."