Delta’s “role players” reaped the benefits of Swanton focusing more on limiting their primary scorers, particularly Ella Ford who hit four first half 3-pointers to help the Panthers to a 49-33 victory in Northwest Ohio Athletic League girls basketball Thursday in Delta.
“We’ve been begging Ella to shoot the ball more,” said Delta coach Ryan Ripke of the senior guard. “And she’s a smart player. She was wide open tonight and she really made those count. She carried us there in the first half until we kind of got our offense going. And then really, Reagan (Rouleau) really carried us in the second half. That was a real good team win. When our two top scorers combine for nine points, that was really huge.”
Ford knocked down the first two shots for either team — both from long range — as the Panthers led 6-0 just under two and a half minutes into the contest.
However, the Bulldogs did respond with a 9-0 run to grab the lead.
Averie Lutz drove to the hoop for a bucket, Sam Taylor made a jump shot, and two Aricka Lutz free throws knotted the score at 6-6 at the 4:18 mark. Then an Aricka Lutz three-ball 36 seconds later put Swanton on top.
Ford struck again from long range retying the score, then Averie Lutz split a pair from the foul line for a 10-9 Bulldog lead after one.
Brooklyn Wymer scored for the Panthers 31 ticks into the second quarter, giving them a lead they would not relinquish again. Threes by Ford and Khloe Weber helped them build a 19-15 edge at the half.
“The defense we were running was to take out two girls — that was Brooklyn Green and Braelyn Wymer, their top two scorers,” said Swanton coach Eric Oakes of his team’s game plan going in. “I know we held Braelyn to zero and Brooklyn scored in the fourth quarter there. They had some other girls step up and hit big threes and got hot. (Ella Ford) she did that for them in the first half. That really kept them (ahead) because we played a good first half.”
Delta increased their lead to eight in the first minute of the third on three-point plays by Rouleau and Brooklyn Wymer around a Nelson pull-up jumper for Swanton.
“We went into the locker room and we just told them to start attacking the basket,” explained Ripke. “Our girls did a great job of finding those spots. First possession right there in the third quarter, Reagan found a spot and she got fouled and I think she got the and-one. Things like that just kind of relaxed our girls a little bit more.
“I said (after the game) this came down to you girls. There was no coaching in it whatsoever. It was our five girls against their five girls. We coaches can’t take any credit for the win.”
Nelson and Rouleau then traded 3-pointers, Averie Lutz made a deuce for the Dogs, followed by a fastbreak bucket for Rouleau that made the difference 30-22 just under three minutes in. Averie Lutz converted a scoop shot out of a Bulldog timeout, however, the Panthers answered with triples from Rouleau and Green.
They extended their lead even further by the end of the period when Rouleau added a pair of free throws, putting them ahead 38-24 entering the fourth quarter.
“The start of the third quarter we just didn’t come out (well). We lost a couple people there right at the beginning which gave them I think 10 quick points. Again, it wasn’t one of the two that we were focused on. We were supposed to be helping. Just bad defensive technique,” stated Oakes.
Delta maintained a slim 11-9 edge in the fourth to put a bow on the 16-point win.
Both teams were back in action Saturday where Delta won 55-17 at Fayette and Swanton took down Otsego at home, 55-24.
The Panthers (13-5, 5-1 NWOAL) will travel to Wauseon this Thursday while Swanton (14-6, 4-2) plays host to Archbold.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.