The Delta girls basketball team has the potential to win a third straight Northwest Ohio Athletic League title and fourth since 2015 this season, led by a stellar junior class that includes three all-league performers.
“We have a good core back from last year,” said 10th-year head coach Ryan Ripke. “Our junior girls are eager to step into new roles of leadership. But we have a lot of new faces that will have to learn to mesh together. That may take some time for us to develop a new identity. Also, Braelyn Wymer and Ella Ford have been rehabbing knee injuries from last spring so getting them back up to playing shape will also take some time. I think we will get better as the season goes on and hopefully we’ll be peaking at the end to make a run in tournament.”
Back in the fold for the Panthers are returning letter winners Braelyn Wymer (second team All-NWOAL, honorable mention All-Northwest District/District 7), Brooklyn Wymer (second team All-NWOAL, honorable mention District 7), Brooklyn Green (honorable mention All-NWOAL/District 7), and Reagan Rouleau.
Braelyn Wymer was third on the team in scoring a season ago, averaging 10.6 points per game and 3.7 rebounds. Green averaged 10 ppg and 4.3 rebounds, while Brooklyn Wymer averaged 8.1 ppg and 2.9 rebounds. Rouleau was the team’s fourth leading scorer at 4.5 ppg.
Newcomers to the squad are Jorrdyn Wolford, Ella Ford, Khloe Weber, Kiersten Culler and Jersey Irelan.
“We have four of our top five scorers back from last year,” said Ripke on the strengths of the group he has returning. “As sophomores, Brooklyn and Braelyn Wymer, Brooklyn Green and Reagan Rouleau all played vital roles in our success last year, and accounted for about 60 percent of our offense. As a group, they are very well-rounded; they each bring something different and valuable to this team.”
The Panthers are having to replace three key contributors from last year’s squad, including Abbie Freeman who was NWOAL Player of the Year, first team All-Northwest District and in District 7, and special mention All-Ohio. They also lose Jessie Giguere and Alayna Mitchell.
“Even though we have a lot coming back, our biggest concern will be our depth,” explained Ripke. “After those four girls, no one has played any meaningful varsity time. We need to find girls who will play valuable minutes and can do the intangibles for us. Rebounding is another concern. We’re not a very big team, so we are going to have to be physical in our rebounding game.”
There will likely be stiff competition for the league title this season. As a result, Ripke says the Panthers are no shoe in to win their third straight championship.
“I think we can compete for another league title,” said the Panther coach. “However, Wauseon brings everyone back and have to be considered one of the favorites. Archbold brings back a lot of experience and can never be counted out. Bryan also brings back a lot of girls from last year’s team and they will add a talented guard that was out last year with an injury.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010