WACONIA – When the Delano Tigers and Waconia Wildcats square off, you can bet you’ll be in for a battle. The Delano boys basketball team knew that full well as they held off the Wildcats in a game filled with runs for an impressive 87-61 win on the road Tuesday night.
“That’s probably how we’re going to play this year,” Delano coach Terry Techam said. “When you play an up-tempo style like that, you have stretches where you score quickly and you have stretches where you don’t score. It was an up-and-down game, but that’s kind of the way I expect us to play this season.”
Delano came out swinging as they were knocking down shots early. The Tigers had five different players knock down at least one 3-pointer in the first half helping them take a 44-31 lead into halftime.
Despite Delano clicking on all cylinders early, Waconia fought back. A 14-point lead for the Tigers was trimmed to six with just over 11 minutes left but Delano never panicked.
“We’ve talked a lot about that,” Techam said about staying poised. “With the way we play this year, we can’t really worry about everything that goes on. We just have to be in that aggressive mode on both ends of the floor.”
With the Wildcats clawing their way back into things, Will Strandemo stepped up his game in a big way for the Tigers. The junior scored 10 straight points for Delano to push the lead back to 13 with just over seven minutes left to play.
“Will can just all of a sudden sometimes go on a streak to carry you,” Techam said. “I’ve coached for a long time. I haven’t seen many kids with a better pull-up jump shot than him.”
Delano sealed the game at the free throw line down the stretch going 8-for-9 from the free throw line down the stretch to pick up their fourth win in a row and possibly their best win of the season thus far.
“This was probably the best we’ve played all season,” Techam said. ‘We’ll see if we can keep it going.”
The Tigers may not have a ton of experience this year but things have been clicking early on. Guys are buying into their roles and it’s paying off as they’ve won four straight games since dropping their season opener at the buzzer.
“Other than Will and Jackson, pretty much everybody is in different roles or just getting their varsity experience,” Techam said. “That first game you could see some of that varsity jitters out there. I think we’re starting to see guys get into their roles.”
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Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports