There are some questions about how good the Delta girls basketball team will be this season. While they did lose last season’s NWOAL and District VII Player of the Year, Brigan Wymer, they return four letter winners.
Those returning players include Morgan Mattimore, who was first team All-NWOAL and second team all-district as a junior. She is also likely to break the 1,000 point barrier at some point this season.
“Like a lot of teams in our area, we lost a lot due to graduation,” said Delta coach Ryan Ripke of his team. “All four of last year’s seniors provided something special to our team, so there will be a lot of opportunities for girls to make their own mark this season.”
Outside of Morgan Mattimore, the Panthers also get back Maddie Mattimore, Jenni Davis and Jessi Davis.
“Even though we lost a great player, Brigan Wymer, we return Morgan Mattimore, another great player, who has had a great career already,” stated Ripke. “We also have a great deal of height for the first time in a long time, not only with our posts but also our guards. Morgan (5’9”) and Jessi Davis (5’11”), who worked hard this summer at becoming a guard after being a post player, even give us a couple of taller guards that we think will give us an advantage.
“I also think we should be a really good defensive team because we have a lot of quick, athletic and tall girls.”
They will be looking to replace Wymer, Brailee Green, Ravyn Mitchell, and Alexa Lauch. And with that, the Panthers have some unknowns heading into this season according to Ripke.
“We could possibly have seven players this year see significant time for us who have never played any varsity basketball,” he said. “For the first time since maybe I started coaching at Delta, we don’t have a lot of proven guards coming back. We have two really good guards coming back in Morgan and Maddie Mattimore, but we need a couple more girls to step up and provide some relief with ball handling and outside shooting.
“By the end of the season, we could be a very deep team, but we just don’t know yet.”
Promising newcomers for Delta are Darian Elendt, Hayley Callahan, Mary Miller, Emily Clifton, and Abbie Freeman.
“We have four solid players coming up from a pretty good JV squad,” said Ripke. “Three of those girls are players that will give us some good depth at the post. All had really good summers and proved that they are ready for the varsity game.
“Abbie Freeman is a freshman guard that we hope can step up to give us some needed depth at the guard position. She will start the season off on JV, but we expect that eventually we will be able to slowly give her more and more varsity action.”
Ripke, who is 75-44 in his sixth year at Delta, expects his team to be in the middle of the league race with many teams in the league experiencing turnover.
“Evergreen brings back almost their entire team from last year so I think they have to be the favorite,” he said. “Not only did we lose a lot last year but most of the other top teams from last year lost three (to) four of their starters as well. PH brings back many of their top players and Montpelier has one of the best players in the league coming back.”
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010