Delta girls basketball coach Randy White says, despite his team's perennial success in the regular season, that he doesn't measure his team by its won-lost record. He just looks for improvement.
In Saturday's championship game of the Delta New Year's Tournament, White could measure the Bobcats' progress with a win that avenged their only loss of the season, back in the first game. Actually, he could measure the improvement from the first half to the second half.
Delta overcame a horrendous second quarter to post a 62-45 victory against St. Vincent.
The Bobcats (10-1) won their 10th straight game and their fifth straight New Year's Tournament title.
The Indians, nine-point winners with a second-half rally in the first meeting, rolled to a 21-14 halftime lead Saturday by limiting Delta to two points in the second period.
"We hit a spell where we weren't moving very well," White said. "Once we started moving, it opened a lot more opportunities for us."
And Delta's perimeter shooters cashed in, as the Bobcats scored 25 points in the third period, to take a 39-33 lead, and added 23 points in the fourth period, including 12 from the free-throw line.
"In the first half, we weren't taking good shots," Delta junior Jodi Menz said. "In the second half, we made good cuts and had penetration and kicked the ball out to our shooters."
Deprow scored five points on back-to-back possessions in the final 2 minutes of the quarter to give Delta a 37-31 lead.
After Courtney Besand scored for St. Vincent on a lay-in, Menz hit a buzzer beater to end the third period and restore Delta's six-point lead.
Deprow opened the fourth period with another 3-pointer, then Amanda Drew scored off an inbounds play for an 11-point lead.
"They played a half-court trap," Deprow said, "and we wanted to throw diagonal passes and bounce passes, guard-to-guard passes to get people open. And we tried to kick the ball inside a lot.
"The first half, I don't think our heads were in the game. We were more focused in the second half, and we really wanted it. They were the only team that beat us this year, so that was a really big thing."
Delta's lead swelled to 16 points (52-36) before Kelsey Cissell hit a 3-pointer for St. Vincent. The Indians were within 12 points with 2:38 to play on Lacey Siegmund's free throws. At that point, Drew had fouled out while Menz and Smith had picked up their fourth fouls in a short span. But St. Vincent was unable to close the gap.
"Delta played very well today," St. Vincent coach Terry Wengert said. "We played well in the first half, then we went a little off in our shooting and started throwing the ball away, but you have to give Delta credit for that."
Siegmund scored 18 points, including 6-of-7 on free throws. Besand added 14 points and Cissell 12, as the trio accounted for all but one point. Besand, Brooke Brown and Jessica Welker fouled out.
For Delta, Smith had 18, including 9-for-11 free throw shooting. Keys had 12 and Menz 11. Menz joined Drew in fouling out.
"It was a lot rougher than the first game," Menz said. "I think we were really nervous the first time because that was the first game and we really didn't know what to expect. We pretty much knew what they played and what they were going to do and how to react to their offense."
Said White: "I thought overall we had a good defensive game.
"We have got some other kids moved into the starting lineup, and it takes a little while to get it together," added White, whose program is 121-18 since losing to Dexter in the championship of the 2003 New Year's tourney. "We just want to get better and improve and keep right on improving to district time."
Delta (62) -- Taylor Smith 18, Amanda Drew 4, Jodi Menz 11, Sara Blattel 9, Sarah Keys 12, Brittni Deprow 8. FG 20, FT 18-26, F 18 (3-pointers: Deprow 2, Smith 1, Keys 1. Fouled out: Menz, Drew)
St. Vincent (45) -- Lacey Siegmund 18, Kelsey Cissell 12, Courtney Besand 14, Brooke Brown 1. FG 16, FT 10-18, F 20 (3-pointers: Cissell 3. Fouled out: Jessica Welker, Brown, Besand)