DELPHI — Tri-County’s varsity girls basketball team traveled to Delphi (10-12) on Tuesday in what was their second bout with the Oracles in nearly three weeks.
While their first go around ended with unfavorable results, the Cavaliers utilized a zone defense that forced the Oracles out of the paint while also imposing their size on the glass as they defeated Delphi, 61-41.
With the win, Tri-County moved to 11-10 overall with one regular season game remaining before the Cavaliers shift their focus to their first round opponent in sectional 52, Frontier.
For Tri-County head coach Missi Tyler, the 48-47 loss dating back to January 3 was at the forefront of the Cavalier’s minds while also noting that a shift in play over the last few weeks has resulted in her team playing together as one cohesive unit.
“I think they were ready to play well and play together,” Tyler said. “I think we’ve improved over the last three weeks and fixed some things that were kind of holding us back and we just got five kids at one time playing some good basketball and doing the little things right.”
The Cavaliers got after the Oracles from the jump, forcing Delphi into five turnovers while tallying five second chance opportunities in the first quarter as well.
Tri-County jumped out to a 14-3 lead thanks in part to a 10-0 run midway through the opening period as a forced Oracle turnover resulted in a fast break bucket by Grace Luck while successful trips to the free throw line by Hannah Arvin continued the offensive onslaught.
Johnetta Whitmire led the Cavaliers with a double double when she posted 17 points and 10 rebounds followed by 11 points from Grace Luck.
The difference in physicality and focus on the glass proved to be the biggest outlier in comparison to Tri-County’s first outing against Delphi noted Tyler.
“They’re a very physical team and Delphi hustles a lot and they get after it. We were just kind of pushed around and out of position. … We kind of shied away from that so that’s been a point of emphasis in trying to go to crash the boards, get the ball, get it out and take care of it,” she said.
With a 17-point lead coming out of halftime, the Cavaliers showed no signs of slowing down in the third as they rattled off 10 straight points in the opening minutes with Luck, Whitmire and Arvin all finding their way into the paint for easy scores.
Arvin chipped in with 8 points respectively in the Cavs’ win.
Since Tri-County’s one point loss to Delphi in the third place game of the Indiana Kitchen Classic, the Cavaliers have managed to get into a groove as they’ve won five of their last six including a win over No. 12 in Class A Clinton Central on January 17 and a victory over No. 13 in Class 2A Seeger on January 10.
Defense and accountability have been areas in which Tyler and co. have focused on continuing to round out the edges of their game as they look to take form going into the postseason.
“We’re playing better defense,” Tyler said. “We’re playing a variety of defenses and I feel like everybody understands their role now and they’re communicating better. I’ve had some players step up and be vocal leaders. Recognizing some things that don’t have to come from us and I think that makes them better if they’re player led.”