Southern Athletic League play is in full swing for the varsity boys basketball teams and on Tuesday night, Delhi and Denair squared off for the second time this season.
Although the outcome was the same as the first meeting—Delhi won—the margin of victory was much greater as the Hawks trumped the Coyotes at home, 57-38.
“First time we played them I think we were both down key players so it was different,” said Denair assistant head coach Garett Elliott. “We found out barely today that two of our starters were ineligible so we were down those two guys who we always normally have.”
“We've got a lot of getting better to do. Denair played a lot better than us tonight especially having a couple guys out and I thought they played harder than us,” Delhi head coach Eugene Drummond said. “I got a lot of respect for Denair and today they outworked us.”
Delhi takes an early 3-0 lead in SAL play, having won three straight, while Denair drops to 1-3.
“Definitely starting off 1-3 was not the plan that we had, buts it’s what we have and we need to move on,” Elliott said. “We are not giving enough effort out on the court. We played well at our home gym, but we feel like we took a step backward not being able to break the press.”
With each squad missing key players they had no room for mistakes. Unfortunately, mistakes proved costly for Denair in the second half as Delhi took full advantage as the Hawks forced 24 turnovers with their aggressive style of defense.
Denair kept the game close and by the halftime mark the score was even at 20 apiece.
Delhi’s press finally got to Denair as the game progressed as they forced 13 of the team's 24 total turnovers in the second half alone.
With the help of Chance Browning’s game-high 20 point effort, the Hawks had no problem with their thin squad who was resilient till the closing seconds.
Delhi went on a scoring frenzy, outscoring Denair 37-18 in the third and fourth quarters, and the Hawks pulled away into the winner’s circle.
Denair’s leading scorer for the night was Dominyc Silva who tallied 15 points and eight boards.
“When we were able to get things going at our pace in the second half, it totally became our type of game,” said Drummond. “The one thing I say is that we will press you and keep the game up tempo and towards the end hopefully our depth takes over, it’s one of the things we have.”
Denair will travel to Gustine High to take on the Redskins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.