On Wednesday evening, four boys’ basketball teams took the court at Delta High School for the quarterfinals of the Delaware County boys' basketball tournament. After two games of non-stop action, Delta and Wapahani each took victories to advance to the next round.
Game 1: Delta (11-2) vs. Daleville (6-4)
The opening contest was a rematch from earlier in the season in which the Eagles won 76-35. A key piece that was missing for Daleville in the first head-to-head was the Broncos leading scorer from last season, senior guard Meryck Adams.
Right from the tip, the Eagles were firing on all cylinders, forcing turnovers and being aggressive in transition to find their offense. Delta senior D’Amare Hood was a great benefactor of the transition game, finding his offense early with seven points in the first while leading Delta in scoring with 24.
“He’s active,” Delta head coach Mark Detweiler said. “He gets a lot of deflections, gets out in the open floor, and when he gets going downhill, we’re at our best.”
The combination of defense and offense was an emphasis in the game plan coming into this game for Delta. Due to that, the Broncos found themselves with turnover issues.
“Transition is a big emphasis,” Hood said. “When we get steals and deflections, our transition has gone well and led to a lot of fast break points.”
For the blue and gold, their success was hindered by the Broncos by limiting turnovers and leaning on Adams, who had a game-high 29 points.
Despite the effort in the second quarter, the Broncos still found themselves with a nine-point deficit at the half, trailing 31-22. They responded by starting the third quarter with high-quality offense, cutting the deficit to just six.
“We needed to calm down a little,” Daleville head coach Ashley Fouch said. “When we did that, we got to within six, and we competed [all the way] down to the last ten seconds. I don’t ever want to be a team that doesn’t compete.”
However, the defense didn’t come with offense as Delta continued to score to keep the Broncos at arm's length. A large chunk of the blue and gold’s offense in the second half came from a collective effort by crashing the offensive glass.
“Guys like Jordan Furney and Caleb Jones were really active,” Detweiler said. “They did a great job at keeping possessions alive for us.”
Once the fourth quarter arrived, it was all Delta as their lead increased to close the game with strong defense and second-chance points, defeating Daleville 68-47.
With the win, Delta and advances to play Wes-Del (3-7) in the semifinals on Friday, Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. Daleville will have a home matchup with Eastbrook (4-7) on Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Game 2: Cowan (3-7) vs. Wapahani (12-0)
Coming into the game, Wapahani looked to defend its crown as the 2023 Delaware County champion. In the opening minutes, the Raiders were patient offensively, taking their time on their possessions, making the right play, and passing to the open man. As a result, they got multiple wide-open shots to give them an early lead.
"We have a group that’s very unselfish,” Wapahani head coach Matt Luce said. “They play together and we have guys that can make open shots.”
The Blackhawks struggled at the beginning, but responded with some three-pointers of their own and improved on defense to stay within striking distance as they closed out the first quarter trailing 17-10.
“I thought our defensive effort was good,” Cowan head coach Aaron Groves said. “It’s tough to guard that many guys who can shoot, so you’re going to have to give up something.”
The Blackhawks couldn’t seem to get out of their own way in the second quarter with multiple errors, not allowing them to get into any rhythm offensively. To open the second quarter, Raiders’ star senior Isaac Andrews began to seek his offense. Yet he made sure to get everyone else involved as well. Andrews ended the half with nine points and led the game in scoring with 27.
“Everybody sees his three-pointers and swishing shots,” Luce said. “But he’s an excellent passer as well, very unselfish, and I think our team plays that way too.”
The white and red closed out the first half strong and led 32-18 going into the locker room. Without Cowan's leading scorer, senior Timmy Watson, senior Mason Kidd found his rhythm in Watson’s absence, doing his best to keep the Blackhawks in the game. Kidd led the black and gold in scoring with 22 points.
“Mason shot the ball well for us tonight, which was much needed,” Groves said. “Other than him, I don’t know that we shot the ball all that well.”
Despite Cowan's best efforts, the shot-making ability of the Raiders was too much to overcome in the second half as they fell 73-51.
Wapahani remains unbeaten and moves on to the semi-final to face Yorktown (6-5) on Friday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. Cowan will have an extended break before going on the road to Burris (1-5) on Friday, Jan. 19, with the tip at 7:30 p.m.
Contact David Moore with comments at email@example.com or on X @gingninj63