With one last test before the Division III girls sectional basketball tournament starts this week, Delta shot blanks on Saturday afternoon.
The Lady Panthers shot 25 percent for the game, including a critical 1 for 14 in the fourth quarter as probable sectional final foe Otsego pulled away to a 62-48 win.
“The disappointing thing is we came out Tuesday night against Holgate and shot really well,” said Panther coach Ryan Ripke. “We shot the lights out and we come to our home court and we couldn’t throw it in the ocean. We just couldn’t get over the hump and the big reason why is we just couldn’t get that big bucket.”
The Panthers survived a 4 for 15 first quarter from the field to take an 8-6 lead, mostly thanks to Morgan Mattimore’s back-to-back hoops and Otsego’s equally as poor 3 of 12 shooting.
However, while the Panthers stayed cold in the second, Otsego heated up.
Jenni Davis scored on Emily Clifton’s feed to give the Panthers an 11-10 lead with 4:23 left in the half but Otsego scored the next six capped by Hannah Fonseca’s steal and score and Delta seemed to keep climbing in quicksand every second after.
Davis’ three-point play pulled the Panthers within 18-16 at the 1:16 mark but another Fonseca score off a steal and Kim Forshey’s baseline jumper after a second Delta turnover bumped the Otsego lead to 24-18 at the break.
Morgan Mattimore’s score off a Knight turnover and Maddie Mattimore’s pair of three-balls gave Delta life as they trailed by a bucket, 28-26.
Another Davis hoop with 5:29 left in the third kept Delta within two, 32-30, but Otsego scored the next seven keyed by Froshey’s basket against the press and yet another Fonseca hoop off a steal.
Maddie Mattimore’s third triple of the quarter kept Delta within five at 39-34 but despite Delta’s 11 for 12 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, the Panthers couldn’t get any closer.
Clifton’s one-plus the bonus with 6:41 left closed the gap to six at 46-40, but Otsego countered with the next eight that included two more Fonseca thefts that went for baskets to open the lead to 54-40.
“I felt like we just didn’t come to play,” said Ripke. “I didn’t think our effort was all that great. Defensively giving up 62 points in a game is not something we are proud of even though we play fast. It was a tough game to watch.
“With us having a possible matchup with them next weekend, I liked that going into it because we can prepare for them a little bit more but I didn’t feel the energy was there. You saw it in spurts but we just did not have it on a consistent basis.”
Morgan Mattimore led all scorers with 19 while Davis kicked in 13 for Delta. Forshey and Morgan Smoyer each had 16, and Fonseca 14 for Otsego.
Delta (15-6 overall) plays the second game at Sylvania Northview tomorrow night against Eastwood, while Otsego (17-5) opens with Ottawa Hills in the first contest.
If both win, a Saturday afternoon rematch will take place for a sectional title.
Joe Blystone can be reached at email@example.com