by John J. Dunn, Contributing Sportswriter
The Oracles held a 20-15 lead at halftime Saturday in a slower-paced contest, but could not hold on in a game that was much closer than the 46-37 final score would indicate.
With the Panthers playing a tough 2-3 zone, Delphi trailed 9-6 with 6:01 left in the half before going on a 14-4 run over the next five minutes to take a game-high lead of 20-13 before settling for a five point lead at halftime.
But the Oracles started slowly in the 3rd period as Pioneer went on a 7-0 run to start the half before Ross gave Delphi back the lead at 23-22 with an and-one to with 3:21 left in the quarter.
The Oracles then went up 28-24 after a Lane trey with 1:59 left before the Panthers closed the period with a 5-0 spurt to re-take a 29-28 lead that the break.
Pioneer (12-8) again scored the first eight points of the 4th period before a Hawn 3-pointer cut it to 37-31 with 4:14 left, but Delphi could not get any closer as the Panthers hit 6-of-6 free throws in the final 2:06 to seal it.
“We played a great defensive 1st half and played well enough defensively to win in the 2nd half,” Ballard said. “Offensively, we struggled because we settled for way too many outside shots.”
“We need guys to attack the basket both with the dribble and interior passing,” he added. “I thought we lacked a lot of assertiveness in the 2nd half, but I am confident our team will refocus and bounce back.”
Ross led with 15 points; Hawn added seven, Lane six, Windell five and Walters four.