The Delaware County Tournament is one of the most anticipated events for local Indiana high school basketball fans. It allows the six competing county schools to come together and battle it out for the title.
In Tuesday’s opening round of the girls’ tournament, both Wapahani and Yorktown took victories to advance to the semi-final round.
Game 1: Wapahani (13-4) vs Daleville (5-10)
The Raiders came into this year's tournament as the two-time defending champs and hoped to repeat their performance from last year.
The game started with both teams struggling with turnovers early. Wapahani was dominating the offensive boards, getting a multitude of second-chance opportunities, but were unable to capitalize in the early going. For Daleville, the emphasis seemed to be energy. However, there didn’t seem to be much coming from the Broncos.
“It’s their ability to want it every possession,” Daleville head coach Brandon Hanshew said. “We’re telling them how talented they are, but it’s trying to get them to buy in and truly believe it.”
Late in the first, the red and white were eventually able to turn turnovers and consistent rebounding into points, leading by twelve at the break 22-10. The Raiders’ early defensive prowess and success crashing the boards was much to the delight of Wapahani head coach Scott Hudson. A large part of the effort came from senior Destiny Felder.
“She’s a workhorse,” Hudson said. “She makes things happen, she’s going to mix it up and she’ll get some key baskets when you really need them.”
The second half wasn’t much different than the first, but the white and gold were able to find some success on offense as opposed to the first half. Wapahani was able to maintain their lead with some increased offense of their own despite an off-shooting night from the Raiders.
“We certainly didn’t win with how well we shot it,” Hudson said. “We got second and third opportunities that helped us. But we tell them it’s in their DNA. Your DNA is you’ve got to win, and sometimes it’s ugly.”
While the Broncos struggled, Hanshew has bigger goals in mind knowing what his team is capable of.
“It’s going to take some more time,” Hanshew said. “Our bigger picture is sectional and we can win sectional. We’ve just got to get over these humps and we’ll be alright.”
Wapahani moves on to the semi-final round of the tournament to take on Delta (8-8) on Jan. 11th at 6 p.m. Daleville, being eliminated from the tournament, will have a small break before going on the road to face off with Eastern Hancock (16-1) on Jan. 18th. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
Game 2: Yorktown (9-7) vs Cowan (3-12)
The Tigers and Blackhawks wanted a track meet early on with each side pushing the pace and trying for transition offense. The difference early on was the Tigers’ defense which was suffocating.
“It was communication,” sophomore Addy Barnes said. “We’ve struggled throughout the season with communication on defense, but we’ve started to pick it up to where everyone is talking.”
The Blackhawks couldn’t find their footing on offense thanks to the Yorktown defense, but also some self-inflicted wounds left them scoreless at the end of the first quarter. Head coach Lisa Blalock liked the effort but thought shots just weren’t falling.
“I felt like we were able to get to the paint by driving,” Blalock said. “We just weren’t able to finish inside as much as we’d like to.”
The black and greens’ defense continued through the first half, not allowing Cowan to make a field goal until about two minutes to go in the half. In the second half, Cowan was able to find a sliver of offense, but they couldn’t seem to get stops on the defensive end of the floor to be able to claw back, in large part because of the Tigers’ offensive rebounding.
“That was one of the top reasons we won,” Barnes said. “Second chances are what we live off of and the way our bigs rebounded was absolutely amazing.”
The Tigers had struggled as of late to put a strong performance on for a full game, and coach Barga was happy to see the growth over the team’s past few games.
“We had some games leading up to tonight where we didn’t play four good quarters,” Barga said. “So tonight, our focus was playing well for all four quarters.”
When the clock was winding down and the game was all but over, Blalock could be heard preaching to her girls still on the court to be mentally tough.
“We talk about mental toughness moments,” Blalock said. “No matter what the moment is, you're going to face adversity. What matters isn’t the adversity, but how you respond to it, and that applies on the basketball court and it also transcends into life as well.”
Yorktown will move on to the semi-finals to play Wes-Del on Jan. 11th. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.Cowan will have a home conference game against Shenandoah (8-8) on Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Contact David Moore with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X @gingninj63