Titans split with Panthers in 3A WSL action
What appeared to be a tough matchup on paper for the Coal Ridge Titans’ boys basketball team against the visiting Delta Panthers on Friday night in New Castle turned out to be the exact opposite of that. The Titans cruised to a 69-48 win over their 3A Western Slope League opponents, clamping down defensively and shooting the lights out of the ball offensively in the league matchup.
At one point, Coal Ridge had a lead of 37 points before the Panthers were able to close the gap some in the fourth quarter with the deficit well out of reach.
Coal Ridge came out fast right from the opening tip, sprinting out to a 17-4 lead after one quarter of play before cruising into the half with a 35-11 lead, taking the air right out of the sails of the Delta squad that looked to pull off a road upset in Peach Valley.
As the Titans scorched the net offensively, Coal Ridge’s defense was suffocating for the Panthers, who had serious trouble getting past half-court, and when taking a shot at the hoop, simply couldn’t get an efficient look and couldn’t corral rebounds, allowing the Titans to pull away quickly.
“We wanted to build on the performance at Roaring Fork,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Paul Harvey said. “I thought we had a good defensive game, minus a couple of little things. We talked in the locker room before the game that we needed to build on it, and that in every league game you need the same intensity that we showed on Tuesday. I think we matched that intensity tonight.”
Opening the game on a 14-0 run, the Titans simply couldn’t miss offensively as junior center Kevin DiMarco came out and started the scoring for Coal Ridge with a tough bucket at the rim before senior guard Brody Morgan forced a Delta turnover near mid-court and raced in for a layup. DiMarco then followed up with a 3-point play in the paint before senior point guard Brandon Herrera dialed in from 3-point range, forcing a Delta timeout with the Titans in front 10-0.
A layup from Herrera and a layup from junior center Connor Detlefsen pushed the lead to 14-0 following the timeout before Delta got on the board with a pair of free throws from senior guard Jasper Carmichael. Morgan and junior guard Jesus Camunez added free throws for the Titans to make it 17-2 late in the first quarter before Delta junior forward Joe Bules got a putback shot to fall just before the buzzer with the Titans holding a 17-4 lead.
Things didn’t change much in the second quarter as Herrera hit a runner and a layup, sinking the ensuing free throw for a 3-point play, while DiMarco and Detlefsen continued to control the paint for the Titans with two tough buckets. A runner from junior guard Jan Hernandez through contact made for another 3-point play for Coal Ridge before DiMarco connected on a layup through contact and Morgan sank two free throws, sending Coal Ridge into the break with a 35-11 lead.
Coming out of the locker room, the Titans started the second half much like the first, going on a 11-2 run as DiMarco banked home a shot and split a pair of free throws, while junior guard Payton White sliced into the lane for a layup off an assist from Hernandez. Herrera then splashed home back-to-back 3-pointers for the Titans to push the lead to 46-13 before Delta’s John Ames connected on a triple of his own.
Herrera would drill another 3-pointer in the quarter before junior guard Daniel Lopez sank two free throws for the Titans, giving Coal Ridge a 57-25 lead heading into the final quarter of the game, allowing the starters to sit the final 8 minutes.
In the fourth, Delta was able to get some things going against the Coal Ridge reserves as the Panthers went 8 for 12 from the free throw line in the final quarter and connected on six field goals. But senior guard Juan Vazquez went 5 for 6 from the free throw line for the Titans in the fourth quarter, while sophomore guard Austin Gerber banked home a 3-pointer, sophomore guard Jared Whitaker flipped home a runner and senior center Dylan Allen grabbed an offensive rebound and got the putback shot to fall, capping off the Titans’ 21-point win in league play.
Herrera and DiMarco led the way offensively for the Titans, pouring in 20 and 15 points, respectively, on the night. Hernandez and Detlefsen added 6 points each, while Morgan and Vasquez added 5 points each.
The Titans (10-2, 3-0 3A WSL) will host the Grand Valley Cardinals (11-1, 2-1 3A WSL) on Tuesday night in New Castle. The Cardinals topped Cedaredge on Friday night, 78-41, on the road.
DELTA 63, COAL RIDGE 51
Twenty missed free throws seemingly did in the Coal Ridge Titans’ girls basketball team Friday night in a 3A Western Slope League matchup against the Delta Panthers in New Castle in a 63-51 loss that should likely have turned out to be a huge come-from-behind win for the Titans.
Just one game after missing 20 free throws against the Roaring Fork Rams on the road in a loss, the Titans couldn’t overcome the yips at the line on Friday night, allowing the Panthers to hang on in the second half after building a 33-20 lead at the half.
Coal Ridge kept it close with the Panthers in the first quarter, holding a 6-3 lead to start the game thanks to two buckets from sophomore forward Lyanna Navarez and a layup from freshman center Taylor Wiescamp, but the Panthers went on an 12-2 run in the middle of the quarter, capped off by a 3-pointer from junior guard Abby Carlson to take an 15-8 lead before Coal Ridge senior forward Paige Harlow got a putback shot to fall just before the end of the quarter to pull the Titans to within five points after one quarter of play, withstanding the Delta run.
However, things quickly went south for the Titans in the second quarter despite getting off to a good start. Junior guard Sam Dunn weaved her way into the paint for a layup off of an assist from Harlow to make it 15-12 Delta, but from there the Panthers went on a 10-0 run to pull away at 25-12 late in the quarter.
Harlow hit a layup to stop the Delta run before junior guard Adriana Varges sank two free throws, but the Titans had trouble slowing down Delta forward Sara Geddes, who scored 11 points in the quarter, capping off the impressive individual output with a 3-pointer to send the Panthers into the half with a 33-20 lead.
Coming out of the break, the Panthers and Titans traded bucket after bucket with neither team creating much room in the scoring margin.
Delta started off the half with a 3-pointer from Missa Webb, but Navarez and Wiescamp converted tough shots in the lane to spark the Titan offense.
Webb and Jenna Sutliff converted buckets of their own for the Panthers before Coal Ridge senior Jessica Feese, providing energy off the bench, hit a tough shot in the lane to make it 44-26 Panthers.
Following a Delta layup from Alexa Huff, Coal Ridge went on a mini 5-0 run as junior guard Kashley Morgan split a pair of free throws and Harlow converted two shots in the lane, but Webb answered right back with a 3-pointer for the Panthers.
Trailing by 17 points heading into the final quarter of play, the Titans upped the pressure defensively on the Panthers, forcing numerous turnovers in the fourth quarter and allowing Coal Ridge to get back in the game as Wiescamp got a putback shot to fall and Morgan capped off a Delta turnover with a layup at the other end.
Junior guard Alyssa Wenzel then stole the ball and finished off the steal with a layup for the Titans, but when given opportunities at the free throw line to make up ground with the clock stopped, the Titans came up short, allowing the Panthers to hang on for the league win on the road.
As a team, Coal Ridge shot just 9 for 29 from the free throw line, including 5 for 13 in the fourth quarter of action.
Wiescamp led the charge offensively with 10 points, while Harlow and Wenzel added 9 and 8 points apiece for the Titans. Geddes led the way for the Panthers with a game-high 20 points.
Coal Ridge (5-8, 0-3 3A WSL) will host Grand Valley (8-4, 2-1 3A WSL) on Tuesday night. The Cardinals knocked off the unbeaten Cedaredge Bruins on Friday night, 38-34.