Delta boys basketball will likely experience a year of transition this season under a first-year head coach and after a 2020-21 campaign which saw them finish 2-19.
However, they do return a pair of players that received postseason honors a year ago.
Back for the Panthers are Bryce Gillen and Nolan Risner, each garnering honorable mention All-Northwest Ohio Athletic League and honorable mention All-District 7 honors.
Gillen averaged 7.4 points per game (ppg) and 2.7 rebounds per game (rpg) a season ago, while Risner notched 5.6 ppg and 4.4 rpg.
They also get back Bryar Knapp (3.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg), James Ruple (5.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg), and Justin Ruple. Josh Tresnan-Reighard, DJ Davis and Alex Hodge are on the team after not playing last season.
Delta also adds newcomers Jude Gibbons, Reece Verdin, Luke Reinhard, Bryce Reeves, Valentin Aybar, John Brasher, Wyatt Gibbons, Felipe Aranjo, Walter Hallett, Ethan Huffman, Brady Morr, Brodey Roth and Slade Young.
“The Panthers have many experienced players returning which includes 4 starters from the previous year,” said new coach Matt Brighton of his team’s outlook. “Rebounding and scoring-by-committee will be imperative for the Delta Panthers.”
Brighton lists their strengths as being experience, work ethic, and team depth. The main weakness the Panthers have is an overall lack of size.
Delta loses three letter winners from a season ago. A key loss will be Chase Stickley who was honorable mention all-league in 2020-21.
Stickley averaged 6.3 ppg and 4.5 rpg. Nick Mazurowski and Todd Sackschewsky were also lost to graduation.
Brighton has tried to instill in his team a more physical approach, hoping that mindset pays off in the rugged NWOAL.
“The NWOAL is a very competitive league with good coaches and players who execute,” said the Panther coach. “Additionally, the NWOAL is a league where the play is physical, and that has helped guide our off-season workouts. We have worked hard in the weight room as well as finishing around the basket. We are hoping that the work our players have put in this off-season helps us compete with other teams in our league.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010.