We’ve never won two back-to-back. We’re trying to play for something we’ve never accomplished. For our seniors, there is no next year. So that is what we are trying to use for motivation. —Delta head coach Kurtis Topham
RICHFIELD — Delta is trying to become a repeat state champion in girls basketball. Standing in its way was a tough quarterfinal matchup with Emery.
The Rabbits came away with a 53-45 win over the Spartans. The first half started out slow offensively for both sides. After two quarters, Emery led by four points.
“First half it was like we had a lid on the basket,” Delta head coach Kurtis Topham said. “We didn’t hit the basket sometimes, we were short or long.”
The momentum picked up in the second half for the Rabbits. Topham urged his team at halftime to stop playing scared and take more shots. That is exactly what seniors Kylee Wardell and Harlee Willoughby did as both hit a pair of 3-pointers in the game.
“If we’re going to go down, we’re not going to go down because we are afraid to shoot the ball,” Topham said. “We’re going to go down trying to win the game.”
Willoughby ended up with 17 points and nine rebounds. She also expressed the importance Wardell has been when the rest of the team is struggling.
“Kylee has had some really good games. When all of us aren’t making it, she always gets it to go down,” Willoughby said. “She is like our secret weapon.” She ended up with eight points.
The Spartans picked up their pace toward the end of the game as they scored 20 in the final quarter. Emery was giving Delta trouble with its post players. So the Rabbits decided to change their defense.Comment on this story
“In the first half we were playing behind them,” Willoughby said. “That is one thing we talked about in the locker room was to get in front of them, box out, get them in foul trouble.”
Delta has a goal this year of becoming the back-to-back champion. The Rabbits need to win two more game to accomplish that feat.
“We’ve never won two back-to-back,” Topham said. “We’re trying to play for something we’ve never accomplished. For our seniors, there is no next year. So that is what we are trying to use for motivation.”