Delta’s Abby Freeman scored 15 of her 19 points in the first half, allowing the Panthers to build a 14-point halftime lead, as they defeated Wauseon 46-31 Thursday in a non-league girls basketball contest.
The loss dropped the Indians to 3-4 on the season. But, they are much improved noted Panther coach Ryan Ripke.
“We got on them early. They just didn’t quit,” he said of Wauseon. “I thought they handled our press really well. They got some easy buckets there in the third quarter. Our offense started clicking there in the third, but then we were giving up layups in our press. But a lot of that was to their (Wauseon’s) credit. Because they were doing a good job of attacking and finding the open girls.”
Delta gained the advantage in the opening quarter, 10-3, after Brooklyn Green’s basket inside and consecutive three-pointers from Freeman. They only increased that margin in the second stanza, taking a 25-11 lead into halftime.
Wauseon got three hoops from Sydney Zirkle to start the third around a Green basket for the Panthers, getting within 10 with 3:08 left in the period. However, the Panthers countered with a triple from Braelyn Wymer, then after a bucket by Zirkle, Braelyn Wymer and Alayna Mitchell each hit from long range to extend their lead back to 17.
“I think that’s part of what makes us so tough to guard,” explained Ripke. “Abby went off in the first half. She carried us through that first half. And we still had a 14-point lead, and she had a majority of our points. Then all the sudden Braelyn got hot. Alayna hit a big three. Reagan (Rouleau) hit a big three in the first half. It was just a matter of time before the other girls started hitting as well.”
Delta got steal and scores from Brooklyn Wymer and Mitchell early in the fourth to help extend their lead to 19, 44-25, by the midway point.
“The biggest thing is, they’re trapping everything. Or trying to,” said Wauseon coach Dan Seiler on the Panthers’ pressure defense. “And if you can move the ball fast enough, you don’t have to worry about that trap. There was times that we were very successful at it. And there was times there where we, I don’t know if we got tired or we just made bad decisions, but it’s just one thing we’ve got to fix.
“We just got to get better. But, I can’t say enough from where we were (to start the season) to where we are now. We are better. We’re not great but we’re better.”
“We didn’t turn them over as much as we have in the past couple of games,” said Ripke. “But like I said, that’s to their credit. They did a pretty good job of handling it for the most part. You know I think we wore them out a little bit. But that’s kind of what we try to do.”
Wauseon’s improvement from last year to this year can be seen on the defensive side of the ball. No bigger than the last four minutes of the contest where they limited the Panthers to just one made field goal.
“We are coming,” stated Seiler. “Our help side (defense) is getting to where it needs to. We are getting a good rotation of kids I think. Obviously, that’s a very good team. And to give up 46 points, that’s not terrible. That team’s got so many weapons and it’s a great team. They are coached very well. That’s where we’ve got to get to.”
Delta traveled to Otsego Saturday where they defeated the Knights 50-32. The Panthers (7-0) are at Fairview tomorrow night.
Wauseon travels to Ayersville Tuesday.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010