First year coach Matt Brighton took on the task of rejuvenating the Delta basketball program and that tree is beginning to see the fruits of his and his team’s work as the Panthers won their third consecutive game, 51-17, at home over Jones Leadership Tuesday.
“Getting our first league win Friday against Bryan meant a lot to us,” explained Brighton. “Then we wanted to take that into Saturday and build on that against North Baltimore (a 62-51 win). Even after every practice we want to know, ‘did we get better today’. This past weekend I believe we got better each game. We didn’t want to take any steps back.”
The Panthers started out a bit slow, holding just a 1-0 lead after over four minutes.
However Bryce Gillen’s second-chance triple opened the flood gates with 2:28 to go in the first, as the Panthers scored 33 points in the next 10 minutes.
Nolan Risner tallied up six straight Delta points to end the quarter with the Panthers up 10-2 and Josh Tresnan-Reighard took over for the next eight minutes.
Tresnan-Reighard and Gillen each scored putbacks, then Tresnan-Reighard found James Ruple for a layup and knocked in two more rebound baskets, then a three-point play on his fifth try stickback attempt during a 13-point personal assault on the scoring column.
“Coming into this year we thought we were going to have depth,” said Brighton. “We’ve had a couple kids out with injury or being sick and now we are kind of hitting our stride getting kids back. It adds competition to practice with everyone working hard and with Josh when he can get comfortable and get a couple good looks he is going to be hard to stop whether he is being guarded by a 5-10 kid or a 6-5 kid. He is pretty tough and that’s what we need.”
Justin Ruple and James Ruple each scored inside as Delta took a 34-6 halftime lead.
Gillen’s basket, Risner’s triple, then a layup by Risner inside brought the Panthers to the 35-point margin needed for a running clock early in the third quarter.
With the lead at 47-8 and five minutes left in the third, in a sportsmanlike move, Brighton gave the first group the rest of the night off and the rest of his team — that he mentioned works hard in practice — played the last 13 minutes of the game.
Tresnan-Reighard’s 13 points led the Panthers while Risner had 11.
After Delta started 3-12 from the field in the first quarter, the Panthers shot 22-47 for the game.
Delta (6-7) now plays Archbold (10-5) Friday night.