'We’re just a lot of fun:' Wapahani, Delta boys' basketball become regional champions

Wapahani boys' basketball, cheerleaders, and fans pose for a picture March 9 after winning the regional championship at Lapel High School. Zach Carter, DN.
Wapahani boys' basketball, cheerleaders, and fans pose for a picture March 9 after winning the regional championship at Lapel High School. Zach Carter, DN.

LAPEL, IN - Coming into the IHSAA 2A and 3A regional championships at Lapel High School, Delaware County’s two remaining boys’ basketball teams looked to continue in the state tournament. After back-to-back victories, the Wapahani Raiders and Delta Eagles took home the hardware in both contests. 

Wapahani (24-2) 65 vs Tipton (24-3) 41

When the Raiders stepped on the court, they were looking to not just advance to the next round of the state tournament but to claim the school’s second-ever regional title. After finding momentum late in the contest, the black and red never backed off and took the 65-41 win for back-to-back regional titles. 

“We stayed even. We did not get too high or too low,” Wapahani head coach Matt Luce said. “We knew it was going to be a long game.” 

The contest started with defense and more defense. Wapahani could not find the basket as shots rolled out and bounced off the rim. However, one Raider stood out during the stretch: sophomore Camden Bell. 

“I wanted to do whatever I had to do to win,” he said. “Whether that was playing defense or getting a bucket, I was going to do what I needed to do.” 

He finished the game with 22 points and provided a spark for the Raiders when nothing seemed to go their way. 

“My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball when I was open,” Bell said. “My shot was feeling good today and you saw what happened.” 

While Bell kept the Raiders afloat, they needed something else to give them momentum. After halftime, that moment came. Wapahani went 7-for-9 from 3-point range and hit five straight as sophomore Nate Luce hit three and senior Nick Cook drained two.

“When you get going, you get going,” Nate said. “It’s a heat check. “We have been shooting every day like that in practice and it went to the game.”  

After that offensive clinic, the Raiders never looked back and hoisted the regional trophy as the student section rushed the court. 

“We’re just a lot of fun,” Wapahani senior Isaac Andrews said. “We are fun to be around and we love being around each other, whether that’s at practice, on the court, or going out to eat.” 

Andrews finished the game with 16 points. Cook followed with 12. 

Delta (22-6) 39 vs Fort Wayne Concordia (14-13) 37

Just like the Raiders, the Eagles made their way to Lapel High School with similar aspirations as they sought their second straight regional title. While the Eagles started well, the game came down to senior Jackson Wors, who was fouled with 0.6 seconds left. 

With the game tied 37-37, the 6’3 guard stepped up to the line. 

“I was ready to redeem myself from [the sectional] free-throw performance,” Wors said. “I was shooting with [senior] Jonny Manor all week. I knew I was ready for that moment.”

The phrase 'practice makes perfect’ was delivered as Wors sank both shots, which gave the Eagles the 39-37 lead. With a last-second attempt, the Cadets launched the ball across the court, but it landed in the hands of an Eagle, which brought the team and coaching staff onto the court for celebration. 

“The expectations with this group are there,” Detweiler said. “Always in the tournament, you have to be a little lucky. Every team that advances has to have a little bit of luck. I hope this is the day we need that luck.” 

The contest started in control of the Eagles as they were fired up from the opening tip. Clapping at the Cadets and screaming after something positive, they were pumped and led 10-2 in the first five minutes. 

“We knew we had to throw the first punch,” Manor said. “They stayed in it. Give credit where it’s due.” 

While the energy and fast playstyle cruised throughout the first half, the Eagles began to struggle in the third quarter. Missed shots, bad passes, and poor decisions became a factor.

“That third quarter was just awful,” Detweiler said. “We didn’t trust each other offensively and we overdribbled. Part of that was [Concordia’s athleticism] and that bothered us some.” 

The issues continued when senior D’Amare Hood – who led the Eagles with 11 points and made it to 1,000 career points – was called for a technical foul after commenting on a foul that went against Delta. Yet the blue and gold never gave in. 

After the third quarter ended in a 28-28 tie, the Eagles found their momentum and forced the Cadets to fight for every possession. In the end, it was that fight and passion that allowed Wors to make the trip to the foul line for the win. 

“This [win] pushes our momentum even further, senior Jayden Furney said. “It’s given us adversity. We were up, then they came back and we got the tech. That is a ton of adversity that we need for semi-state and state if we make it.” 

The Eagles and Raiders advance to semi-state, which will be played Saturday, March 16. Pairings will be announced. Sunday, March 10.

Contact Zach Carter with comments at zachary.carter@bsu.edu or on X @ZachCarter85.


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