SELMA, IND - It was all Delta during the first quarter of Friday’s Delaware County matchup between the Eagles and the Wapahani Raiders. Fast pace play, blocks, and turnovers allowed the visiting Eagles to take a 13-3 lead at the end of the opening period.
However, that lead would shrink at halftime as Delta (5-2) only recorded five points in the second quarter. That allowed the Raiders to make a comeback before halftime, which was the biggest reason that Wapahani (2-0) gained the 48-35 win.
“I felt like we were able to use our depth to wear them down,” Wapahani head coach Scott Hudson said. “We tried to spread [Delta] out and that really helped us.”
Last season, Wapahani hoisted a 19-5 record, including winning the Delaware County Championship. Coming into this season, the Raiders had to fill some holes due to losing pieces at graduation.
In their second win of the season, Wapahani looked dazed during the first half. Multiple turnovers and missed shots plagued the Raiders.
Another issue for the red and black was Delta sophomore Jillian Barr. The 5 '9 small forward had no issue getting to the basket and swatting her opponent’s shot attempts. She ended the game leading the Eagles with 20 points and eight blocks.
Delta’s first-year head coach Tyronda Benning has been impressed with Barr’s game.
“[Barr] is very important,” Benning said. “ Players and teams think twice about going inside and getting easy buckets.”
However, in the final two minutes of the second half, the Raiders went on an 8-2 scoring run, which cut the Eagles lead to four points as both competitors went to the locker room.
“At halftime, the message was that we were within four points and we just played as poorly offensively as we can,” Hudson said. “If we can put [the defense and offense] together, we got a chance in this game.”
During the second half, it seemed that each team switched roles. The Eagles were now having issues while the Raiders could do no wrong. Benning tried to slow the Raiders with timeouts and substitutions. Yet that did not change the momentum.
“We should have played tougher,” Benning said. “We had an entire game plan. We did that in the first quarter, and that was it.”
One of the biggest contributors to Wapahani was sophomore Emily Luce. She finished the game with 12 points, which included three three-pointers.
“[With the poor start], we needed to keep shooting,” Luce said. “... It’s just a bunch of new [players]. It was good and gave us confidence with the big win.
Some other stand-out performances for the Raiders were sophomore Megan Luce, who had 12 points, and senior Zoey Swallow, who added 11 points.
The Raiders have now won their first two games of the season. Hudson believes this shows what can happen as long as they limit the mistakes.
“These players have been in our program [for years] and our expectations have never changed,” he said. “...We expect to compete and this is their time right now.”
Even with the loss, the Eagles are off to their best start record-wise since the 2017-18 season. According to Benning, they just need to learn to play disciplined.
“[We learned about] maturity,” Benning said. “Playing the entire game and fighting through adversity. That’s what we had tonight and they didn’t answer the call.”
The Raiders will face the Daleville Broncos (3-2) tomorrow at home. Tip-off is set for 7:30. Delta will attempt to get back in the win column when the Eagles face Yorktown on Tuesday, Nov. 21. The rivalry game will be played at Delta High School and will start at 7:30.
Contact Zach Carter with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X @ZachCarter85.