By Kevin Niendorf
Stockton Record Correspondent
STOCKTON - The Delta College men's and women's basketball teams swept their respective opponents in the second round of the California Community College Athletic Association state playoffs held Saturday at Blanchard Gymnasium.
In the women's game, No. 3 Delta defeated No. 14 Reedley, 77-57, after overcoming a sluggish first quarter. The Delta men, also a No. 3 seed, defeated No. 16 Butte in the nightcap, 79-56.
Both teams will have home games next Saturday, with the Delta women taking on No. 6 Sierra. The Delta men will host No. 5 College of the Sequoias.
In the women's game, the Mustangs (24-5) struggled in the opening quarter largely due to missing its first 10 attempts from 3-point range. That had them losing 16-7 to Reedley (15-13) before Trena Rathjen's layup and Paiton Demps' two free throws ended the quarter.
"We came out flat in that first quarter, which I don't understand," Delta coach Gina Johnson said. "We actually didn't play very well today.
"I was very excited that we won," she added. "I mean it's great that we advanced to the third round, but I'm going to keep challenging these girls to keep stepping it up because we definitely could've played better as a team today.
Despite misfiring seven more times from beyond the arc in the second quarter, Delta outscored Reedley 20-6 for a 31-22 halftime lead. Tymiko Patterson's 3-pointer snapped a 22-22 tie and Donwanae Anthony scored six consecutive points to end the half. Reedley didn't score over the final 3:49 of the half.
Delta dominated the third quarter as well with its long-range shooting finally catching fire. Paiton Demps, Kendall Weary and Lauren Rabena combined to hit six 3-pointers en route to a 62-38 lead to start the final quarter.
Anthony led the Mustangs with 14 points while teammates Braxton Sankia, a first-team all-state selection, and Demps, a second-team selection, each scored 11.
"Donwanae stepped it up bigtime in the second half, and Paiton defensively brought what she always brings – intensity," Johnson said. "I really feel strong that we've been improving in practice.
The Mustangs have won nine of their last 10 and are now 10-2 at home. They finished 10-of-34 from 3-point range and shot 41 percent from the floor. Reedley was 3-of-15 from 3-point range.
In the men's game, Travis August converted a four-point play on the last play of the first half to give Delta (23-6) a 38-31 halftime lead over Butte (15-13).
Delta, which is now 13-1 at home, opened the second half with a 10-4 run and extended its largest led by as much as 24 points.
"That's a league-championship team, and they're very, very talented with a great coach," Delta coach Rich Ressa said. "I thought we matched up very well with them, and I thought our bigs matched up with their bigs. Obviously, our shooters shot the ball well."
Austin made four 3-pointers en route to 15 points, but Spencer Montiero recorded a game-high 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
Delta's John Valverde slashed his way through the defense to record 18 points and four steals, and Cameron Pieters added 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Delta was 9-for-17 from 3-point range compared to Butte, which made two of nine attempts.
(Courtesy The Record)