‘Defense wins championships:’ Delta downs Frankton in sectional quarterfinals

Delta senior Kaiden Bond shoots a layup against Frankton at New Castle Fieldhouse, on Feb. 28. Bond led the Eagles with 17 points. David Moore, DN
Delta senior Kaiden Bond shoots a layup against Frankton at New Castle Fieldhouse, on Feb. 28. Bond led the Eagles with 17 points. David Moore, DN

NEW CASTLE, IN - On Tuesday evening, Delta (18-6) faced off against Frankton (15-8) at the New Castle Fieldhouse in the quarterfinals of the IHSAA boys basketball state tournament. After a postseason run to semi-state last season, the Eagles hope to carry that experience and ride it to another deep run this year. In the end, Delta began their quest to another deep run by downing Frankton 46-25 to advance.

With a heavy senior-laden roster, Delta head coach Mark Detweiler will rely heavily on that experience to aid the Eagles this postseason.

“You always hope that experience brings poise and good decision-making,” Detweiler said. “We got a point guard [Jonny Manor] I trust to make good decisions, and if you have a guy you can trust with the ball in his hands that’s a big deal.”

The offenses were firing on all cylinders right out of the gate. Delta relied on their 3-point shooting through the first quarter hitting four in the opening quarter. Eagles senior Kaiden Bond knocked in three of the four three-pointers to give Delta a spark from the opening tip. Bond led the scoring for the white and gold with 17 points on the game.

“I put some shots up earlier in the day and I felt like I was shooting well,” Bond said. “So I felt if I came out and started shooting, then I’d get hot and hopefully we win the game off that.”

With the defensive game plan for Frankton focused on Deltas’ D’Amare Hood and Jackson Wors, other guys were able to get open shots early and contribute significantly to the offense even with Hood and Wors' slow start offensively.

“We really needed that early,” Detweiler said. “Teams are going to key on Jackson and D’Amare so you’ve got to have guys that can make them pay if they do leave you, and Kaiden and Jayden [Furney] got us going early.”

Frankton was able to keep pace with the white and golds offense but found more of their success in the paint and from the free throw line. Delta ended the quarter with a narrow 3-point advantage, leading 14-11.

Defense was the story of the second quarter with both teams struggling with turnovers. However, neither team could turn turnovers into points on the offensive end. With the success from beyond the arc in the opening quarter, the red and white made sure to run the Eagles off of the 3-point line. 

“I thought we settled a few times,” Detweiler said. “I also ran a few things I probably shouldn’t have, I should’ve just let them go off more motion action and a little more space.”

During the second quarter, some foul trouble started to stack up for Delta which created some rotation changes early in the quarter. 

“We got in some foul trouble and then guys are on the bench,” Detweiler said. “Then you’ve got to just be able to weather the storm and that’s a big deal in this tournament. We don’t want guys on the bench in foul trouble, and that changed a couple of things defensively.”

Offensively it was an even second quarter with both sides putting up seven points to put Delta up 21-18 going into the locker room.

When the second half began the defensive gameplan for the white and gold changed from the first half. The Eagles came out in a full-court press to throw off the rhythm of the Frankton offense. 

The defensive catalyst for Delta is senior Jonny Manor who racked up multiple steals in the second half with active hands and jumping in passing lanes to disrupt the red and whites offense.

“We know that defense wins championships,” Manor said. “That’s where we set our focus and when we can play defense like that we’ll win games.”

Even with the ramped-up defensive intensity, the white and gold didn’t allow their new-found defensive energy to come at the expense of their offensive rhythm as shots continued to fall at a high clip for the Eagles.

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Delta senior Jonny Manor passes the ball against Frankton at New Castle Fieldhouse on Feb. 28. Delta defeated Frankton 46-25 in the sectional quarterfinal matchup. David Moore, DN

With the defensive pressure, the Eagles were able to force turnovers and get out in transition to score some easy baskets to push their lead to double digits, 29-18, which then forced a Frankton timeout. 

Frankton's head coach was visibly frustrated throwing his hands up in the air with the continued offensive struggles.

“Our goal was to stay active throughout the whole game,” Bond said. “Keeping our hands out, getting steals and deflections which we did well in the second half, and that really carried us.”

Frankton was only able to get two baskets to fall in the third quarter. Even when shots were open the red and white looked like they were in their own heads from the Delta defense and couldn’t hit any shots being limited to five points in the third period to go down 36-23.

The fourth quarter wasn’t much different than the third as Delta continued to apply pressure to the Frankton guards in their full-court press only allowing two more points for the remainder of the game to close out the victory. 

“We don’t worry about the opponent, we worry about ourselves,” Manor said. “If we can do that and play our game we’ll go far.”

Delta advances to the semi-finals to take on New Castle (12-11) on March 1st. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m

Contact David Moore with comments at david.moore@bsu.edu or on X @gingninj63


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