When it comes to tournament time you expect your seniors to lead and in the case of Ryan Ripke’s Delta Panthers, lead they did as the Panthers shot down 18-3 Montpelier 49-35 to win a Division III girls basketball sectional title at Delta Saturday night.
Delta defeated Northwood 60-14 in a semifinal matchup on Thursday.
“Our seniors did exactly what they needed to do tonight,” said Ripke after the Montpelier win. “They didn’t want their season to end especially on their home court.
“You look at our scoring, Brooklyn Green has 16 which she needs to do, Brooklyn Wymer played an exceptional game, Braelyn (Wymer) hit some big shots, Reagan (Rouleau) played an outstanding game. Ella Ford does a lot of things that don’t show up in the box score but at the same time she played exceptionally well.”
Brooklyn Wymer set what proved to be the tone of the first half with a steal and score 90 seconds into the game for the first hoop.
That was one of nine Loco first quarter turnovers that helped the Panthers bolt to a 15-2 lead.
Khloe Weber scored off a Braelyn Wymer steal, Green drained a corner triple and Rouleau scored off yet another Loco miscue before Ali Repp hit a three-ball to close the quarter.
Ariel Page, who was silent in the first quarter, got loose for a hoop early in the second and then got a putback to get Montpelier back to 17-9.
Long triples from Jessica Bumb and Repp kept the Locos within single digits at 25-16 at the break — despite the fact Montpelier had 14 turnovers by halftime.
“Our girls just came out focused,” explained Ripke of the 14 first half Loco turnovers they caused. “We did a great job denying their big girl Page in the post. When we force turnovers like that and especially when we get steals, it’s because we’re in the right place at the right time. That’s just a credit to the girls, focusing in practice and knowing where to be.”
Trinity Richmire brought the Locos even closer when she hit from outside the arc with 4:40 left in the third to make it 27-21, but after Green scored on a drive going high to low, Weber came up with the play of the game.
On a missed Delta free throw Weber scampered into the corner, and when she beat everyone to the ball, and falling out of bounds, the sophomore guard dished it to Braelyn Wymer who dropped a triple from the top of the key to push Delta up 32-21.
“At times I thought Khloe was playing a little too fast,” Ripke said. “But at the same time, her energy is what makes those kind of plays happen. I mean she has a motor that just doesn’t stop.”
The Panthers would maintain that margin in the fourth, mostly by converting 8-10 from the line as the Locos were forced to foul.
Besides the 16 that Green scored, Brooklyn Wymer had 12 and Braelyn Wymer added 11.
Delta is now 16-7 on the season and plays second-seeded Eastwood in a district semifinal at Anthony Wayne Thursday night at 5:30 p.m.
Reach Joe Blystone at email@example.com.