MILLBURY – For the first time in school history, the Delta girls basketball team will play in the regional tournament after the Panthers defeated Woodmore 44-29 in a Division III district final Saturday afternoon at Lake.
“It makes me think about all the people that helped this program and me get here,” Delta coach Ryan Ripke said of playing in the regional for the first time ever. “On the way here, I was thinking about Cory Sprow. He coached in three district finals and I coached with him in one of those district finals. He never made it to the regional but I was thinking about him.
“I think about the players that have come before and a lot of them were here today,” added Ripke. “They didn’t get this opportunity. We had some really good teams that just weren’t quite good enough to get to this level.”
Stuck in a tie game after one period, the Panthers took a lead of 10 into the halftime break and never looked back.
Delta gave up six offensive rebounds early to the Wildcats, but the Panther team speed caused problems on the other end of floor. Delta was also able to shoot over the Woodmore zone, as Braelyn Wymer – who led the Panthers with 17 points points – dropped in four shots from behind the arc.
“We’ve got some really good shooters,” mentioned Ripke. “I don’t want to pull us out of our rhythm. We just wanted to keep our rhythm going.”
Brooklyn Wymer, who was tasked with slowing 6’0” post player Brooke Allen of Woodmore, added 10 points. The pressure applied by the Panthers led to 17 Woodmore turnovers.
“We (forced) 17 turnovers and gave up 29 points,” the Delta coach said of his team’s defense. “It shows we don’t have to force turnovers. I was concerned with the match-ups, especially with Allen. I knew we couldn’t match up with them. I also told the girls we didn’t have to do it one-on-one. We’re a team defense. I felt like the girls bought in.”
Delta reached the district final thanks to a 74-40 win over Rossford in the semifinal Thursday.
The Panthers hit 10 shots from downtown in the win. Abby Freeman led all players with 23 points. Brooklyn Wymer added 18, Brooklyn Green had 16 and Braelyn Wymer added 12.
Delta will play Liberty-Benton Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. at Ohio Northern.
Reach Randy Roberts at email@example.com