The Ceres Holiday Tournament was a challenge for Delhi High, but that’s exactly what the Hawks were expecting. Rather than enter with hopes of a tournament championship, Delhi stepped onto Ceres’ court with the aim to better itself through direct competition.
“We knew going into the tournament that we were playing above our level. That’s why we set it up,” Delhi’s head coach Eugene Drummond said. “With a young team it gave us an opportunity to face some tough competition heading into league.”
The Hawks’ final test came on Saturday when they faced Oakdale High. Delhi had lost its previous two games but a close loss to Pitman High on Friday gave its players a healthy dose of confidence and a benchmark to set its sights.
“Our goal heading into Saturday was to repeat some of the things we did well in the Pitman game,” Drummond said.
Delhi’s goal of consistent rebounding, solid defense, and a cohesive offense didn’t emerge for all four quarters of the Oakdale game but the Hawks were able to see what they could do against a highly physical team. Delhi’s early struggles included an inability to adjust to Oakdale’s size but by the later stages of the second half the Hawks were able to find some rhythm. The Broncos beat Delhi 50-31, but Drummond believes that the experience alone will be enough to help his team’s Southern Athletic League campaign.
“This year I wanted to start the process of competing with the upper echelon of the SAL and to do that you have to play physical basketball,” Drummond said. “So we definitely tried to schedule up.”
Junior Nick Hernandez and freshman Angelo Quimbao each scored 10 points in Saturday’s game and currently lead the Hawks in scoring through the season. Senior Antonio Gonzales complemented Hernandez and Quimbao with outside shooting throughout the tournament and the trio is expected to be the backbone for Delhi once league play begins.
Delhi will compete in the Orestimba Tournament beginning on Thursday with a game against Pacheco High. The Hawks’ SAL season will begin shortly after with a Jan. 8 game against Le Grand High.