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Delta eliminates Bell City in first round of district
The Bobcats advanced to the Class 1 District 3 semis with a 64-55 win
DELTA, Mo. -- Just when Delta looked to be on the brink of losing a 12-point fourth-quarter lead, the Bobcats collected themselves and fought off a scrappy Bell City squad 64-55 on Monday to advance to the semifinals of the Class 1 District 3 tournament.
Delta advanced to today's semifinal against defending state champion Scott County Central. The teams tip at 6 p.m.
The Bobcats entered the fourth quarter with a 53-41 lead, but the Cubs cut the deficit to three halfway through the quarter before Delta (14-12) responded.
The two teams matched each other basket for basket in the first quarter.
Delta's Chase Crowden drained back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Bobcats a 17-13 lead near the end of the first. It was a lead they never gave up.
"They [Bell City] played with us in the first," Crowden said. "They broke down our defense."
The Bobcats extended their lead in the second, but not without a fight from the Cubs.
Delta started the quarter on a 5-0 run to push the lead to 23-16 just 35 seconds into the quarter.
The two teams traded baskets, with Delta edging ahead 30-23 with 3 minutes, 39 seconds left before halftime.
After a Bell City timeout, the Cubs' Terrance Johnson buried a 3-pointer and added a deuce to draw within 30-28.
But Delta closed the second on a 9-2 run, including a 3-pointer by guard Teddy May at the buzzer for a 39-30 lead at the break.
"We executed for the most part," Delta coach Justin Simpher said of the second quarter. "We got good looks and started being patient with the ball."
"We ran our offense well," May added. "We did a good job taking care of the ball."
The Bobcats had problems stopping the Cubs' 7-foot senior Skylor Blackler.
Blackler had 14 points in the first half on 7-of-8 shooting from the field.
His defensive presence in the paint also presented issues for the smaller Bobcats.
"He makes a huge difference," May said. "You have to alter your shot to take it straight into his body and try to get fouled."
The Bobcats stayed outside for most of the first half, where they went 7 of 17 (41 percent) from beyond the arc.
Delta only shot one 3-pointer during the second half.
"We told them at half that we shot a lot of 3s," Simpher said. "We knew the game was going to be won inside and at the free-throw line. They came out in a man and we weren't as open, and we started being patient and running our offense."
Crowden carried the Bobcats in the third. The junior guard scored 11 of his game-high 28 points in the quarter.
"I just shot when I needed to," Crowden said. "Made a couple of 3s. I drove the ball and did what I needed to do."
The Cubs came out firing in the third. Bell City cut the lead to 39-36 just minutes into the half, but Crowden responded.
In a matter of seconds, he buried a 3-pointer and added a layup to extend the lead to 44-36.
After Bell City cut the lead back to 46-40, Crowden hit three straight baskets to push the lead to 50-40 with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
"Chase is one of those guys that can shoot a little bit," Simpher said. "But he can also take it to the hole. He got some good looks and got to the free-throw line."
Delta took a 53-41 lead into the final quarter.
Bell City quickly cut into the lead.
The Cubs picked up the pressure and rattled the Bobcats into several turnovers as they closed the gap to 55-51 with just more than five minutes to play.
Zach Reigert put the Bobcats up 56-51, but Jeff Long responded with a deuce to draw the Cubs within three points.
"They came out and put pressure on us," Simpher said of the fourth quarter. "We didn't take care of the ball. We didn't execute and we weren't really seeing the floor. Our cutters weren't cutting and we allowed them back in."
The Bobcats stretched the lead back to 59-53, but Jared Yates hit two free throws to bring the Cubs back to 59-55. They would get no closer as Delta shot 7 of 11 from the line in the final quarter to close out the win.
May added 10 points and Reigert tallied nine for Delta.
Blackler had a team-high 23 points and Jeff Long added 15 in the seniors' final game for Bell City.
BELL CITY (55) -- Skylor Blackler 23, Jason Hess 2, Leonard Schaefer 3, Terrance Johnson 5, Jeff Long 15, Jerad Yates 2, Tim Long 2, Josh Overbey 3. FG 22, FT 9-15, F 18. (3-pointers: Johnson 1, Overbey 1. Fouled out: Hess)
DELTA (64) -- Teddy May 10, Cody Helderman 3, Zach Reigert 9, Chase Crowden 28, Cody Naramore 7, Shelby Kight 7. FG 23, FT 10-18, F 17. (3-pointers: Helderman, Crowden 4, May 2, Reigert 1. Fouled out: none)