By Adam Altobella
The swish of the net, the smack on the mat, and the splash in the pool are all synonymous with winter. There may be new coaches, athletes, and even a pandemic-inducing virus; however one aspect remains the same for Delta athletics: success and competitiveness. This success was clear last season as our winter sports squads claimed three sectional titles and two individual state medalists. In the following previews, you will find team-by-team segments that contain statistics, coach and athlete insights, and an outlook into each squad’s upcoming season.
Girls’ Basketball: Monday, Nov. 2
Boys’ Basketball: Tuesday, Nov. 3
Swimming and Diving: Wednesday, Nov. 4
Wrestling: Thursday, Nov. 5
With last season behind them, the Lady Eagles are poised to soar in this upcoming season. With head coach Andy Lewman at the helm, and backcourt stars such as Abby Bamidele and Addie Chester returning this season, it appears that an improvement from last season’s 5-17 mark is inevitable.
Although the squad looks to leave the 2019-2020 campaign in the past, Coach Lewman is treating the past season as a learning experience for the young team.
“It was a season that I look back at now and can identify three or four possessions being the guide to how games would evolve as the season unfolded,” Lewman said.
The idea that a few possessions negatively impacted the Eagles last year is certainly accurate, as the squad suffered eight losses in games that were within five points. Furthermore, games within 10 points accounted for 12 of the team’s losses.
Lewman said his players grew from their experiences and ultimately played their finest game of the season in their sectional matchup against Yorktown. In addition, the squad picked up victories against Muncie Central, Shelbyville, Elwood, and others.
With the team’s sights set on a strong upcoming season that results in a sectional title, Lewman’s expectations have remained the same.
“My expectations have not changed in respect to playing at as high of a level as we are capable on a daily basis,” he said.
He added that he expects his team to be “competitive and in a situation to win as many games as possible throughout the season with showing growth.”
This growth that Lewman mentioned will be integral to the team’s success as the lack of varsity experience will likely be the greatest weakness for the Eagles. To put in perspective, the young Eagle squad is only returning two of last year’s starters, and the three that have departed accounted for 659 of the team’s points.
Although the team may lack experience, Lewman believes that his squad’s superior quickness will be a great attribute as they encounter tougher competition. Another strength of the Eagles lies in the experienced backcourt, with senior Abby Bamidele and multi-sport junior Addie Chester. Both of these guards appeared in at least 21 games last season and scored over five points-per-game.
Another key backcourt player for the Eagles will be Abby Rouse, a sophomore guard who Lewman believes could be a player who will open some eyes.
“Abby Rouse has the potential to surprise some people this year as she moves to the varsity level,” Lewman said. “She has improved and will provide good energy for our team.”
Rouse is aware of her opportunity to contribute to the varsity team in a big way.
“I am going to try to lead the team and be more of a communicator than I was last year,” she said.
Chester, Bamidele, Rouse, and the other athletes will begin their road to revenge on Nov. 11, when they will square off against Muncie Central, a foe that they bested last year. Looking ahead in the season, the squad will face off against their bitter rival Yorktown on Nov. 24.
The road ahead for the Lady Eagles will be grueling; however, if the squad can string together wins while playing their best brand of basketball, they could be poised for the program’s first sectional title since 1993.