Delta pulled away in the second quarter, then put the game out of reach with a sizzling 73 percent shooting in the second half, as the Panthers opened Northwest Ohio Athletic League girls basketball action with a 74-41 win Friday at Wauseon.
Up 17-10 at the end of the opening period, Wauseon cut the gap to begin the second period with free throws from Sam Aeschliman and a putback bucket by Sydney Zirkle. After that, the next five minutes belonged to the Panthers.
Braelyn Wymer knocked down a triple for Delta, which started a 13-0 Panther run. Jessie Giguere added a score on a backdoor cut, plus Wymer hit her second of three triples she had on the night. Brooklyn Green sank a pair of free throws and Giguere made the front end of a one-and-one to make the score 28-14 with 2:50 to go before the half.
“Jessie’s nine points were huge,” admitted Delta coach Ryan Ripke. “She came off the bench tonight. I’ve got six or seven girls who could start, but I can only start five girls at a time.”
Even on missed shots, the Panthers were scoring points. After a missed trey, Green was open cutting the basket for a score.
“The girls really take pride in making the extra pass to an open teammate,” added Ripke.
Zirkle ended the long Wauseon drought with a score, and the two teams traded points for a 32-18 lead for Delta at halftime.
The Panthers added another scoring run in the second half. Once Wauseon cut the lead to 15 thanks to a triple from Aeschliman, Delta went on a 15-2 tear, with Abby Freeman scoring 10 of the points. She closed the third frame with a bucket for a 58-28 advantage.
“That’s the effort that they always give,” Ripke said about his team. “I very rarely get less than 100 percent, and when I don’t get 100 percent, its usually 90 to 95 percent. These girls really only know to play one speed.”
Wauseon got no closer the rest of the way as the Panthers went to the bench in the final period.
Delta finished 31 of 56 from the floor, including a 19 of 26 second half. Wauseon made 13 of 35 shots. Delta won the rebounding battle 31-22 and committed 10 turnovers to 20 for Wauseon.
Freeman, Wymer and Green each had 15 points to pace the Panthers. Zirkle led Wauseon with 17 and Aeschliman added 11.
Delta (11-0, 1-0 NWOAL) hosts Patrick Henry this Friday and plays Saturday at Stryker. Wauseon (3-9, 0-1) visits Defiance Tuesday and Archbold Friday.
Reach Randy Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org