Delta defeats Oak Hill in emotional senior night victory

Delta junior Jordan Furney dribbles Feb. 23 during the Coaches vs Cancer game against Oak Hill at Delta High School. David Moore, DN.
Delta junior Jordan Furney dribbles Feb. 23 during the Coaches vs Cancer game against Oak Hill at Delta High School. David Moore, DN.

On Friday evening, Delta (16-6) was set to square off against Oak Hill (12-9) in the regular season finale on the Eagles senior night. Delta cruised in an emotional game to take the victory over the Golden Eagles 49-22.

 The Eagles have a large senior class with seven seniors on the current roster. It was an emotional night to honor the seniors who have contributed so much to the Delta culture and program.

“What I love about them is they genuinely care,” Delta head coach Mark Detweiler said. “They care about winning and they’re competitive. At times they bring a little bit of insanity, but I’ve told them I’d rather have dudes that care as much as they do about winning. Those are the types of guys you want to be surrounded with.”

With such a large group of seniors, the group has grown close in their time on and off the court and it was a special moment for every one of them.

“There were a lot of emotions,” Delta senior Jackson Wors said. “ It was just nice to be out there, and also to let Brayden Wood start for us tonight was a special moment for our team.”

However, the Delta seniors weren’t the only individuals receiving recognition, as both Delta and Oak Hill athletic programs organized a “SUIT UP” initiative in the Coaches versus Cancer game for those in their lives impacted by the deadly disease. 

The initiative came about so the Eagles could show their support for one of their own, former assistant coach, and current Delta Middle School physical education teacher, David Reade. Reade was diagnosed with a form of skin cancer on Jan. 27, 2023, and has been battling the disease for over a year now.

“It starts with grief,” Reade said. “Then denial, thinking ‘I don’t get sick’ but at some point, you have to come out of denial and have the realization you have cancer. Once I accepted that, it makes you reevaluate what’s important in life.”

The amount of community support Reade has received since the news of his diagnosis has been overwhelming and is a large part of why the school means so much to him.

The students Reade has taught over his time teaching have been some of the most instrumental in his motivation and continued perseverance. He has built tremendous relationships with students and has been amazed at the support he has received from the school.

“It means so much,” Reade said. “The Delta students, community, administration, and all the staff here have been nothing short of phenomenal with the support and the prayers that they give me. It’d be hard to get through this without them.”

Detweiler made sure to emphasize to his team before the game that tonight wasn’t all about basketball, but about rallying behind an impactful member of their community.

“[He told us] its a bigger than basketball situation,” Wors said. “When you’re out here playing basketball, even at the high school level, the impact you make on other people is tremendous and to give support and bring in all these fans to rally behind one cause.”

The evenings' special event was something that the Oak Hill athletic department wanted to be a part of and they decided to work alongside the Eagles to show their support and recognize people in their lives as well.

Senior forward Jackson Wors fights through the defense for a lay up against Greenfield-Central Feb. 1 at Delta High School. Wors had 19 total points. Andrew Berger, DN

“All of us have been touched somewhere in our lives or our community with cancer,” Oak Hill head coach Kevin Renbarger said. “Anytime we get that opportunity to spotlight the good works that are being done to eradicate this disease, we want to be a part of that.”

It was a special moment to bring the Delta community together as the regular season ends. But, there still was a game to be played with the Eagles looking to close out the regular season on a five-game win streak.

The contest started slow offensively for both sides. However, the white and gold got a couple of early shots to fall to go up 5-0 midway through the opening period.

The defense was the story of the first quarter for Delta as they only allowed four points for the entire quarter.

“We really guarded extremely well,” Detweiler said. “That’s a very good team, and our guys were as locked in on the ball collectively as we’ve been all year.”

Even when the navy and gold were able to get open shots nothing was rolling the right way for the Golden Eagles, who just looked rattled by the defensive intensity from Delta.

“They’re physical, long and athletic,” Renbarger said. “I’m not sure we’ve seen anybody that physical all year. We simply missed quite a few shots. On Tuesday, we were 12-for-18 from three and tonight we couldn’t throw it in the ocean.”

With the smothering defense and some easy transition baskets off turnovers, the Eagles were able to go up 15-4 to close out the first quarter. 

Offensively, the second quarter wasn’t much different for either squad. Oak Hill continued to struggle hitting shots and Delta’s offense struggled. Detweiler was visibly frustrated on the sideline with the execution of the Eagles’ offensive sets.

“They played that matchup zone and we got a little stagnant and the ball didn’t move,” Detweiler said. “I thought we just got a little sloppy at times.”

Even with the struggling offense, the white and gold’s defense remained solid, forcing turnovers, and contesting nearly every shot from the Golden Eagles.

Wors was able to impact the game offensively enough to keep the Eagles afloat on offense. He led Delta with 13 points in the game. With the strong defensive effort and balanced scoring, Delta was able to go into the locker room up 25-6. 

To open up the second half, Oak Hill found some success on offense, finally getting some shots to fall their way and scoring eleven in the third quarter. But the Golden Eagles couldn’t get any stops on the defensive end of the floor to close the deficit.

“We could not get stops on the other end,” Renbarger said. “While we were still trying to find our footing on the offensive end, it just snowballed.”

For Delta, the offense in the second half was free-flowing and getting anything they wanted against the Golden Eagles’ defense. The white and gold continued to pull away, ending the third quarter up 42-17. 

When the fourth quarter hit, it was time for the substitutions to come in and after the first three minutes of the quarter, the change was made. Detweiler took his seniors out of the game for the final time on their home court. 

“They have had such an impact,” Detweiler said. “What they do and how much they care is going to bleed over to the young guys down the line.”

The Eagles close out the regular season on a five-game winning streak with an 18-6 record heading into the postseason. Delta will take on Frankton (15-8) in the first round of sectionals at New Castle Fieldhouse on Feb. 28. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. 

Contact David Moore with comments at or on X @gingninj63.


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