Wapahani girls, boys basketball make history in Delaware County Championship

<p>Wapahani Boys Basketball celebrates with the 2023 Delaware County Tournament trophy after defeating Yorktown 62-45 on Jan 14. Daniel Kehn, DN </p>

Wapahani Boys Basketball celebrates with the 2023 Delaware County Tournament trophy after defeating Yorktown 62-45 on Jan 14. Daniel Kehn, DN

“Jobs not done,” said junior Isaac Andrews after his team, Wapahani, defeated Delta in the quarterfinal round of the Delaware County high school basketball tournament Jan. 13. 

The Wapahani girls squad also made the championship on their side of the county tournament.

After the boys team won, their head coach, Matt Luce, wanted to see history. The Raiders had never had both teams win the championship in the same year. Until now.

The girls team battled from the beginning of the tournament en route to making the championship, they defeated Yorktown and Delta.

In the championship, they faced Cowan. Wapahani opened up the game with great defense. They forced turnovers and drained baskets as they defeated the Blackhawks 57-15. 

Cowan’s head coach Jeff Tharp credited Wapahani and said that this was a good experience for his squad. 

“We're gonna do some different things to try and get some girls some action that don’t normally,” he said. “If it's a four-point game those kids might not see the floor. But in a blowout, let's learn from it.”

For Wapahani, senior Reese Baker had a strong showing. On defense, she stole the ball many times and kept Cowan from scoring. On offense, she led the team with 23 points. After multiple threes, she never turned off her offensive ability. 

“Starting off where we started off as a team and working our way to a county championship was really nice,” Baker said. 

Wapahani Girls Basketball poses with the 2023 Delaware County Tournament trophy after defeating Cowan 57-15. Daniel Kehn, DN

Going into halftime, the Raiders were up by 24 points. Baker knew that her team had seen this before.

“We've been in these situations before,” she said. “Last year, we played in the county championship. And we didn’t play Yorktown this year, but we knew we had to come out and finish.” 

Head coach Scott Hudson credits Baker for her work effort, especially with her shooting. 

“She just embraces technique and having her hands and feet and everything ready,” he said. “And you know, if she gets a look, even when she misses, it looks like it's going in. It was nice to see her get in a rhythm.”

With this being a veteran team with multiple seniors and juniors, Hudson appreciates how they played. 

 “These girls, I don't think anybody's walking out of this gym saying, “hey, they didn't play like seniors”,” he said. “They look like seniors. They played like seniors. They were consistent. And you know, the thing is, they're better people.”

After the girls championship, the Wapahani boys defeated Yorktown 62-45. The first half was a defensive battle and saw players diving for the ball as well as many turnovers. 

The match was back and forth up to halftime. With less than 10 seconds left and a tied game, Yorktown attempted to get a basket. But Wapahani’s defense once again came through and stole the ball. 

With a few seconds left, junior Isaac Andrews, who led Wapahani with 22 points, launched a long three-point shot. It left the bottom of the net as time expired and the Raiders were cheered off the court. 

To coach Luce, this was the moment that gave them momentum.

“We see it all the time from Isaac,” he said. “But it’s huge momentum anytime you score at the end of the quarter half to send us into halftime. That's what a good player does.”

One thing that stuck out throughout the game was the energy. The crowds for both squads were huge and loud throughout. To Andrews, having that support is big.

“It’s the greatest feeling there is,” he said. “The community has bought in and has had a huge amount of fans at every game, home or away, championship or no championship. It's amazing.”

To coach Luce, this accomplishment for Wapahani athletics is huge for the community. 

“As a community member, I have daughters on the girls team and a son on the boys team,” he said. “It's a great thing and I'm very proud of the girls team and very proud of our boys too.”

Contact Zach Carter with comments at zachary.carter@bsu.edu or on Twitter @ZachCarter85.


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