By Matthew Yoder
A total team effort down Northampton’s depth contributed to a convincing 64-21 win on the road Tuesday night against Arcadia.
The Yellow Jackets built an impressive lead with their starting five. Brianna Bochman expertly directed a cross-court pass to teammate Maeyanna Delk for a layup, and Northampton was off and running. From there, the Yellow Jackets controlled all facets of the game. Delk grabbed a defensive rebound and ran the court for a layup. Bochman then stepped back for an uncontested 3, drawing only net. Delk followed with an assertion of will, scoring at ease on drives through the paints or by layups on the fast break. There were no answers for Delk’s play, as she scored 10 points in the first three and a half minutes of the game.
Arcadia’s Tiana Bagwell stopped Northampton’s 13-0 run to open the game, after a strong putback in the post. Bagwell added another score off a broken play, but the quarter was a runaway for the Yellow Jackets. Delk finished the quarter with 13 points, and her team opened with a 22-5 lead.
The second quarter saw much of the same. Jada Giddens controlled the defensive side for Northampton, grabbing rebounds that led to one of the team’s strengths in their transition play. Giddens was equally strong grabbing offensive boards and converting on putbacks.
Omariyanna Reed connected on a jump shot for the Firebirds, who despite being overmatched, never signaled they would play timid. Arcadia remained aggressive, drawing fouls, but failed to capitalize on the free throw line.
Northampton continued to play its game and got contributions from many on the bench. While Delk continued to impress with her all-around game, players like Katie Widgeon and Takaila Stratton brought thunderous applause from the bench and stands with every made shot. Their efforts were not lost on Northampton coach, Devin Allen, who enthusiastically regarded the play of her girls.
“I’m happy with the team effort, I think everyone made a contribution,” said Allen.
The Yellow Jackets entered halftime up 34, 45-11. As the lead grew, the clock sped with few stoppages and Northampton cruised to the win. While Delk posted an impressive game-high 22 points, all in the first half, it was her passing and ball handling that particularly impressed. She played tremendously composed with great maturity.
Opposing coach Casey Cordrey levied much praise on the play of Delk.
“She could have scored on us whenever she wanted,” said Cordrey.
Delk certainly could have done so, but played a very inclusive game. Giddens also continued to dominate, notching 10 more points in the third quarter, adding to a total of 16 for the game. Though Bochman spent much of the game in foul trouble for the Yellow Jackets, she still managed to finish with 9 points and also passed the ball very well. Freshman Widgeon added 8 points for Northampton.
The game was not a complete loss for Cordrey. He sees great improvement in his team, and says despite not managing a win to this point, enthusiasm is still rampant for the process.
“They are hustling and gaining knowledge of the game, and they are just having more confidence,” Cordrey said.
Cordrey’s patience shows on the faces of his young players.
“This was three steps forward, we are definitely improving,” said Cordrey.
Bella Williams led the Firebirds with 7 points, followed by Bagwell with 6 and Julia Rehbein with 4.
Northampton continues to assert itself as the team to beat this season on the Shore, moving its record to 5-3, but undefeated in district play.