Delta senior Jonny Manor is a starter on the Eagles’ boy’s basketball team. However, if you ask the Greenfield-Central fans at this evening’s matchup between the blue and gold and the Cougars, they might have thought he was their No. 1 foe.
Throughout the contest, the guard seemed to be everywhere. Trying for steals, moving the ball around, and occasionally taking a shot himself. He also drew fouls and at times, had some words with his defender. After committing a foul in the third quarter, Manor walked to the bench through screams and a sea of waving hands.
“I don't mind it,” he said, smiling.
Even though the Eagles (13-6) fell to the Cougars (17-0) 45-41 – who are now champions of the Hoosier Heritage Conference –, Manor’s enthusiasm and play style is what head coach Mark Detweiler wants to see from the blue and gold.
“This team's in a different place in terms of maturity [from last season],” Detweiler said. “They've got confidence in different guys making plays.”
The game between the No. 6 team in 4A and the No. 8 team in 3A started with a lot of pressure. On the game’s first possession, the Eagles forced the Cougars to make multiple passes to the top of the key.
Knowing that the undefeated visitors were coming to town, Detweiler focused on defense throughout the Eagles’ practices.
“You don’t guard, you don’t win,” he said. “We have guarded well the last two weeks. We’re contesting shots better and guarding scores better.”
Part of the focus on defense was due to Greenfield-Central junior Braylon Mullins. He leads the Cougars with 27.9 points per game and recorded 51 points in a win over Pendleton Heights on Jan. 26.
Yet in the win against Delta, Mullins had 14 points, which tied his lowest amount of the season. Part of that was due to the zone defense the Eagles used.
“We just kind of swallowed him up,” Delta senior Jackson Wors said. “We obviously made an effort to limit his catches.”
The Eagles continued to put pressure on Mullins throughout the game. However, the Cougars did the same thing to the Eagles. Even though he led with 19 points, Wors had to deal with multiple defenders in the paint.
"I just took what the defense gave me,” Wors said. “In the second half, their guys weren’t stepping up so I was going to get over them.”
One thing that both teams struggled with was their 3-point shooting. Delta finished the game with four while the Cougars only recorded three. Due to this, the paint became important. The other factor that had an impact on the game was the foul line. The Eagles went 3-for-8 while Greenfield-Central finished 9-for-12.
The loss gives Delta their first regular season home defeat -- not including the Delaware County championship game -- of the year. Yet Detweiler thinks this was the type of game his team needed to start February with.
“We are where I thought we would be at this point,” Detweiler said. “We've had two good weeks of basketball. Now we just gotta make sure that we continue to play this way. We can't deviate.”
The Eagles will look for a victory when they face Mississinawa on Saturday, Feb. 3. The game will start at 12:30 p.m.
Contact Zach Carter with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X@ZachCarter85.