Panthers claim back-to-back Northwest Ohio Athletic League girls basketball titles


By Joe Blystone - For the Expositor



Wymer & Wymer.

New law firm in northwest Ohio?

Uh nope.

New TV and movie stars like sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen?

Uh try again.

On a day when back-to-back outright Northwest Ohio Athletic League titles were on the line for the Delta girls basketball team, sisters Braelyn and Brooklyn Wymer spearheaded the offense and wreaked havoc defensively to spur the Panthers to a 48-28 win over Bryan to claim the 2018-19 title by themselves with a 6-1 league mark.

“Our girls were just really focused,” Panther coach Ryan Ripke said. “They knew what was on the line for us and they weren’t in a sharing mood, they wanted to win this title outright.”

The Panthers forced 11 first quarter turnovers and ran out to a 12-point lead with the Wymer sister-act doing most of the damage.

Brooklyn’s curl in the key for a hoop, steal and score, then a backcut pass to Braelyn for a layup gave the Panthers a 6-0 lead before the halfway point of the first quarter.

While the Bears were having trouble just crossing halfcourt against the Panthers’ trapping pressure, Braelyn bombed a triple and Brooklyn sliced through on a baseline drive to help put the Panthers up 14-2 late in the first before settling for a 14-4 lead after one.

“We knew what Bryan was going to try to do on offense,” said Ripke. “We came out with a lot of energy and got the job done.”

It was Brooklyn scoring the first six on the second on a score off another Bryan turnover, and 4 of 6 from the foul line to put the Panthers up 20-9.

Abby Freeman’s sidestep from the right side and Brooklyn Green’s up-and-under move gave Delta a 24-9 advantage at the half.

Delta blew the game wide open in the third.

Green’s seven third quarter points, plus two more hoops from Freeman and another by Alayna Mitchell more than covered up baskets by McKenna Grube and Baylee Krupp to give Delta a 38-15 lead.

Then it was Braelyn with the exclamation point with a steal-and-score, a fast break hoop from Freeman, and a long triple to give Delta a 45-18 lead heading into the fourth.

The last quarter wasn’t exactly the Panthers finest as they caught the turnover flu, coughing the ball up 11 times and scoring just three points.

Two buckets each from Delilah Taylor and Maci Tinkle helped Bryan close the gap to 48-28.

Delta forced 27 Bryan turnovers and shot 19 for 40 from the floor, compared to the 11 for 39 the Golden Bears put up from the field.

The Panthers outrebounded the much bigger Golden Bears 28-22.

“We have been doing a lot better job rebounding the basketball in the last couple of weeks,” explained Ripke. “I think it comes down to our girls bringing an extra level of energy rebounding wise.

“We have been attacking the basket a lot better lately and the girls knew what they had to do.”

It only made sense that Brooklyn and Braelyn each had 12 points to lead Delta. Green chipped in with 11.

No Golden Bear had more than six.

Delta faces off with Genoa in the first round of the Division III tournament Wednesday at Springfield with an approximate start of 8 p.m.

“We have talked about how this league title was just one of the goals we had this year,” said Ripke of the upcoming tournament. “We still have a few more that we want to achieve for the season and I think the girls understand that heading into next week.”

Delta outshoots Swanton

On Thursday Delta shot the ball well from the outside, burying 10 triples in the game to beat Swanton 57-28 in a league contest at Delta.

The Panthers came right out and buried three triples to start the game. Braelyn Wymer connected on the first two, plus Brooklyn Green added one for a quick 9-0 Panther lead.

“We came out and hit the first three 3s, then we thought we could hit them all and we stopped attacking the basket,” mentioned Ripke. “Our plan was to attack the basket – attack and kick. I thought we did a better job of that in the third and fourth quarter.”

It set the pace as Swanton only got a pair of putback baskets in the period and trailed 10-4 at the end of the opening stanza.

“They made their’s and we missed ours (shots),” Swanton coach Eric Oakes said of the start of game. “We fell behind pretty quick.”

The offensive rebounds also set a pace for the scrappy Bulldogs. They pulled down 12 offensive rebounds in the contest.

Delta went on a 13-1 run over the final four and a half minutes of the half to take a 29-10 lead into halftime. Swanton had switched to a zone, with Delta shooting over the top of it.

“We were trying to stay away from foul trouble,” the Swanton coach said of moving to a zone defense. “We have key people we can’t lose to foul trouble. We only have so many guards. The zone has been working, just today the rotation was a little off. They have so many good shooters, it’s hard to find them all.”

The game also hit a dry spell in the third period. Up 20, Delta went on a scoreless drought that lasted nearly four minutes. Wymer split free throws at the 2:49 mark of the quarter to end it.

“I don’t know what it was,” Ripke said of the run. “We just didn’t seem to have that sense of urgency that I thought we needed. It went through most of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter we picked it up.”

Swanton came back and got six points in a row from Aricka Lutz on a triple and three-point play, but Delta scored the final bucket of the period on a drive to the hoop by Abby Freeman.

The Panthers added the first seven points of the final period, plus picked up triples from Freeman, Brooklyn Wymer and Sam Maurer to close the game.

Braelyn Wymer led all scorers in the game with 20 points. Brooklyn Green added 11 for Delta and Abby Freeman chipped in 10. Averie Lutz led Swanton with 9 points.

Delta finished the game 22 of 47 from the floor while Swanton hit 9 of 44 shots. The Panthers committed 11 turnovers to 16 for Swanton. Delta did win the rebounding battle, 32-30.

By Joe Blystone

For the Expositor

Randy Roberts contributed to this article

Randy Roberts contributed to this article