Wapahani boys basketball coach Matt Luce is the only coach of the participating schools in the Delaware County Tournament that has won it as a coach. Luce’s Raiders are the three-time defending champions, and four of the other five coaches in the field weren’t yet at the helm of their team when the Raiders’ streak began.
Luce will bring different personnel this week when the Raiders try to make it four in a row. Wapahani will face Yorktown at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the tournament’s first round at Delta. The girls tournament will hold its first games Monday at Yorktown.
The Raiders relied heavily on guard Grant Evans (who now plays at Wright State) and post player Jacob Foster (Indiana University South Bend) in winning those three county titles. Last year’s roster included five seniors who were the team’s top five scorers.
The new-look Raiders have started this season 6-4 and will now pursue a county crown. Yorktown is 5-4 this season and returns all five starters from last year’s team. Wapahani and Yorktown are the only two teams in the field who enter with a record better than .500.
“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to play for a championship each year,” Luce said. “But those days are over. This is a new team, we’re just talking about how big of a deal the county tournament is, the history behind it. And we’re just talking about trying to survive and advance, just like any tournament.”
Wapahani had not won a county tournament since 1992 before winning the first of the three consecutive titles in 2012. But Luce said the message remains the same as a new group goes in trying to extend a streak of success instead of attempting to break a long drought.
“I’m not sure if the message is different,” Luce said. “Our program has been consistent the last eight years, and it’s been about doing things right, acting right, working hard and playing together as a team. So the message to our kids (is) continue to do the things that we’ve worked on, we’ve just got to do them at a higher level and sustain it for 32 minutes.”
Like Luce, Yorktown coach Joy Matthews is the only coach in the girls field who has guided her team to a county title. The two-time defending champion Tigers will open the tournament against Cowan at 8 p.m. Monday at Yorktown. Yorktown has started the season 7-6.
Wapahani will face Daleville at 6 p.m. Monday in the girls tournament’s other opening round game. Wapahani is 10-4. Like in the boys tournament, Yorktown and Wapahani are the only teams that enter with winning records.
Contact prep sports reporter Sam Wilson at (765) 213-5807. Follow him on Twitter @SamWilsonTSP.
Delaware County Basketball Tournaments
All games at Delta
•Wes-Del vs. Delta, 6 p.m. Tuesday
•Wapahani vs. Yorktown, 8 p.m. Tuesday
•Cowan vs. Wes-Del/Delta, 6 p.m. Friday
•Daleville vs. Wapahani/Yorktown, 8 p.m. Friday
•Championship game, 8 p.m. Saturday
First two rounds at Yorktown, championship at Delta
•Wapahani vs. Daleville, 6 p.m. Monday
•Yorktown vs. Cowan, 8 p.m. Monday
•Delta vs. Wapahani/Daleville, 6 p.m. Wednesday
•Wes-Del vs. Yorktown/Cowan, 8 p.m. Wednesday
•Championship game, 6 p.m. Saturday