Cowan boys basketball coach Mike King admitted his team looks at tonight’s game as a chance to measure up against a Class 3A opponent. Don’t think Delta coach Stan Daugherty doesn’t see exactly where the feisty Blackhawks are coming from.
Then again, both teams have sights set on the same thing: a first victory of the young season.
“I told our guys it’s a big game for both of us, I think,” Daugherty said. “We’re 0-1. They’re 0-2, and we both feel like we’re ready to get a win. And Cowan always plays us tough.”
The 3A Eagles host the 1A Blackhawks at 7:45 tonight after both teams have taken all their losses in blowout fashion. Delta swept two games against Cowan last year, but the Blackhawks never made it easy.
Cowan hopes to continue the trend against a larger opponent.
“Delta has been traditionally a program in Delaware County that people can look to and know that they’re going to be one of the top programs in the area,” King said. “If we can go in (tonight) and do what we need to do, take care of business, I think we’ll have a good chance. You can build momentum from that.”
King’s team will hold a decisive advantage in terms of experience as much of the scoring and rebounding production returns from last season. Delta has a core of upperclassmen, but comes in with many players who didn’t see varsity action before this season.
Daugherty said Pendleton Heights took full advantage of the Eagles’ weaknesses in a season-opening 59-34 loss. He hoped it could highlight those areas and provide teaching moments.
One factor working against him will be the absence of 6-foot-4 post player Jalen Robinson. The team found out he will miss the next month as part of the fallout of a broken foot that ended his football season.
The Eagles still have the inside brawn of Klay Fullenkamp, and Corbin Gregory remains their experienced leader.
King pointed to limiting turnovers as a key tonight for the Blackhawks and emphasized rebounding by committee because of a lack of height or “tree-toppers.”
But despite that, Daugherty is wary of what he sees on the Cowan roster.
“They have two really good players in (Stewart) Kerr and (Luke) Miller,” Daugherty said. “Kerr really hurt us last year and he’s the kind of player that Cowan’s had in the past that has given us fits in terms of scoring and driving.”
Miller has averaged 14 points per game this season, and Kerr has averaged 10. Cowan lost its first two games to Liberty Christian and Hagerstown by a combined 41 points.
King noted both his team and Delta took their losses to strong opposition, but there’s still that drive to remove the zero from the win column.
“That first one is kind of like to get over the hump'” King said. “Is there pressure? Sure, there’s always pressure. But honestly for us, I feel we all understand what we have to do, and honestly we didn’t do it well enough the first two games.”