By Cooper Bratton
“Duke! Duke! One shot, one shot! Run Duke at 10!”
Coach Mark Detweiler’s voice booms from the sidelines as he instructs his team to run a specific play, hoping for a buzzer-beating basket.
Detweiler, in his fifth season at Delta and 24th season overall as a head coach, has had his ups and downs this season. With this being one of Detweiler’s youngest teams, there are some strengths and weaknesses.
“A strength we have is shooting the three and having people who can individually playmake,” Detweiler said.
A weakness is committing too many turnovers.
“We are averaging 16 turnovers a game and the last 4 seasons we averaged 10 turnovers a game so you throw in an additional six turnovers and that’s a big deal,” he said,
Things have turned around the past few games, and the team is now averaging 13.8 turnovers per game.
This season Detweiler is playing six sophomores: Jonny Manor, Jayden Furney, Jackson Wors, Caleb Jones, D’Amare Hood and Kaiden Bond. There is also a negative to that.
“Getting them to understand the importance of ball movement and when it needs to move, valuing every possession — that’s the hard part with young guys,” Detweiler said.
Point guard Jonny Manor has played a big role this season. He agrees that ball movement needs to improve.
“If we play more together and share the ball we are gonna win games,” Manor said.
With sophomores playing with seniors there can be challenges, also.
“It’s an interesting dynamic when you’re playing such a young group because there is always a natural disconnect between sophomores and seniors or freshmen and juniors or whatever,” Detweiler said.
The coach explained that students in back-to-back classes, such as freshmen and sophomores, travel together and sometimes practice together in middle school. As a result, they often develop more chemistry and trust with each other. He noted that it is more difficult to build that when there is a bigger gap such as between seniors and sophomores.
Shooting guard Jayden Furney has had a little experience playing varsity his freshman year.
“I feel like it has been easier this year because I have more experience to it,” Furney says.
Delta is 8-9 right now entering tonight’s game (Tuesday, Feb. 1) with Greenfield-Central. They have overcome a lot of adversity after only winning three of the first nine games.
Senior shooting guard Neil Marshall has played a big role this season averaging 16.5 points per game.
“We have seen bits and pieces of it, but I think we can put the whole thing together,” Marshall said.
They have turned around the past seven games winning five out of the last seven, including three victories to claim the Delaware County championship.
“The ball isn’t sticking anymore,” forward D’Amare Hood says. “We are not as selfish anymore.”
But county isn’t the only thing they want.
“I want to win a sectional,” says Marshall, who was a part of the varsity when the Eagles won sectional his freshman and sophomore years.
Counting tonight’s game, the Eagles have six more games to continue to make progress before the sectional begins.