Denair High's final game against Delhi High had no implications on a conference title or for playoffs. The Coyotes (3-11 Southern) entered Friday's game against the Hawks motivated by a will to win for themselves and end their season on a high note. Delhi (8-6 Southern) had similar motivation, however, and its intensity overwhelmed Denair for a 67-62 win.
The Hawks began Friday's matchup with a three-pointer and thirteen unanswered points. Delhi's aggressive defense blanketed Denair's leader Juan De La Cruz, forcing others to take shots, which ultimately missed their mark. De La Cruz (19 points) finally found the basket with three minutes left in the first quarter and ended up scoring eleven of Denair's first half points. Delhi continued to pile on the points, many from the free throw line, draining two treys before the half was through to hold a 39-23 halftime lead.
Denair's offense picked up in the third quarter but the Hawks maintained their scoring pace to hold a consistent double digit lead. It wasn't until midway through the fourth quarter that the Coyotes caught fire, pulling within three points of the Hawks and putting themselves in position for a comeback win. Unfortunately with time running out Denair was forced to continuously foul Delhi, resulting in a free throw contest that the Hawks won.
"I learned a lot and experienced a lot," Denair's first year head coach Daniel Romero said. "I'm looking forward to next year."
The Coyotes will lose seven players this year. Next year's team will be young and inexperienced but perfect for Romero's plan to reshape its style and attack.