Delta jumped out to a 10-point lead, then after a Swanton rally, needed a go-ahead triple from Braelyn Wymer with 1:43 to go to get back on top and take a 45-41 win over the Bulldogs in the girls basketball season opener for both teams Friday in Delta.
“If we hit our free throws, the end of that game isn’t nearly as exciting,” Delta coach Ryan Ripke explained, as the Panthers were sub 50 percent from the line for the game. “I’m sure (Swanton coach) Eric Oakes is saying the same thing too ‘if we would’ve hit (our free throws) it would’ve made a difference too. We’ll take a win and learn from it and we’ll try to continue to get better each day.”
Swanton used a couple of long balls from Averie Lutz to go up 11-8 with 3:18 left in the first quarter but from that point the Panthers reeled off the next 13 to take a 21-11 lead, 36 seconds into the second.
Brooklyn Green split a pair from the stripe, Brooklyn Wymer scored on a stop and go move down the baseline, then Braelyn Wymer nailed a foul line jumper to give the Panthers the lead at 13-11.
Khloe Weber’s steal and score doubled the lead and Reagan Rouleau pushed it to six, 17-11, with a bucket at the 4.7 second mark before the first quarter buzzer.
Green’s putback and Braelyn Wymer’s two free tosses finished the Panthers’ scoring burst, keyed by a number of the Bulldogs’ 18 first half turnovers.
Swanton got back into the game though as Frankie Nelson hit twice inside, then Jessica Dohm and Morgan Pine each hit to help the Dogs get within 26-19 by half.
Two buckets by Green, along with a curl to the rim and a triple from Braelyn Wymer, helped extend the Panther margin to 36-27 heading into the fourth.
However it was the Panthers who began to turn the ball over- six in the quarter – and missed no less than seven free throws, as Swanton began to chip away.
Aricka Lutz hit a fast break basket, Dohm went 3 of 4 from the stripe and when Averie Lutz rebounded a missile of a shot that richoted off the backboard for a score, the Bulldogs had closed to 38-34.
Pine’s rebound of a missed free throw and score put Swanton on top at 39-38 with 3:08 on the clock.
“We were tired,” Ripke said. “And we don’t have a deep bench so it’s a matter of getting our girls in better shape. Usually that is an issue the first few games of the season. As the season goes on mentally they know what to expect and we expect that we’ll get stronger because they know what to expect.”
After Jersey Irelan could only manage 1 of 2 from the line, Averie Lutz’ jumper gave Swanton a 41-39 lead with 2:12 left.
Again Delta went to the line and again only got a split, this time Brooklyn Wymer with 1:52 left.
But the Panthers secured the miss off the rebound and Brooklyn Wymer’s kick out to Braelyn Wymer at the top of the key set up a long distance wide open three-ball that gave the Panthers the lead for good.
“It really wasn’t anything set, or called,” said Ripke. “It was just find the open teammate. When you get an offensive rebound off a free throw like that, you usually find the defense scrambling and we made the right pass and got the open three.”
Braelyn Wymer could hit just 2 of 4 down the stretch for Delta but the Panthers didn’t give the Bulldogs an open look to keep the lead.
For the game Delta forced 30 Swanton turnovers while committing 16.
“Wow I didn’t expect that number,” exclaimed Ripke. “But that’s us and that’s what we want to do to teams. We’ll get better at it because there were times that we didn’t get it done because we we tired. We’ll get better but I can’t say enough about our girls because as gassed as we were, they still kept fighting. They give each other everything they have, even in practice every day.”
Braelyn Wymer’s 15 points and Green’s 12 led Delta. Averie Lutz had 14 for Swanton.
The Dogs next travel to Lake Tuesday while the Panthers host Tinora this Friday.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com