Tiger girls slowed by illness
BY DAVID PEDERSEN
When teams go undefeated the question often raised is, “did you play anybody good yet.”
The answer the Delano boys basketball team would offer can be a big yes after defeating previously once beaten New Prague 60-53 last week.
New Prague was 5-1 going into the game with wins over highly touted Maple Grove, Alexandria and Willmar. Delano improved to 6-0, outscoring opponents 440-242.
It was a one-point game at 17-15 in first half when Dalton Pulis and Adam Schleper started knocking down some 3-point baskets.
The Tigers finished the first half up 39-22 with Pulis hitting a 3 from the corner at the buzzer. The senior had 16 points in the first half and Schleper added nine.
Coach Terry Techam said his team came out a little flat in the second half. New Prague scored the first 10 points to make the game a close battle.
Toby Hanson finally broke the Tiger scoring drought by making two free throws and hitting a 3-point shot.
“New Prague has a big 6-foot-9 center who caused us some problems in the second half when they got the lead down to three points at 50-47 with about four and a half minutes left,” said Techam. “But we held them off by Hanson and Checkal making some free throws down the stretch.”
Checkal, who is averaging 21 points per game, scored 18 points with 13 rebounds and six assists.
Pulis netted 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Hanson had 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Schleper added nine points and two steals. Techam said Arick Neisen, Seth Norling and Zach Muckenhirn provided some energy and defense off the bench.
Delano has four players averaging double figures and one at nine per game. Hanson is at 13.3 points per game, while Pulis is at 12.2 and Damon Longstreet at 11.3. Schleper has scored nine points per contest.
The Tigers head to St. Cloud for the Granite City Classic at St. Cloud Apollo, playing Sartel Dec. 28 and Becker Dec. 29.
On the girls side, the Tigers were impacted by illness running through the players in loses to Orono and Norwood-Young America.
Not only was leading scorer Alex Wittinger not able to play in the 60-42 loss to Orono, but coach Amy Gould also sat out.
Assistant coach Andy Atkinson, who is in his first year with the Delano program, said playing without the top scorer and rebounder was a big hurdle to jump over.
Katie Emmer, who had been out with a knee injury, returned to lead the Tigers in scoring with 13 points. Bria Barfnecht was the only other player in double figures with 10.
“We had 29 turnovers, which is not normal for us,” adds Atkinson. “We shot a high 46 percent but had many times when we could not get a shot up.”
In the 62-54 loss to Norwood-Young America, Savanah Bettin led with 15 points, while Emmer scored 11 and Barfnecht 10.
Delano plays in Marshall against Oldham-Rutland, 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29.