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Delta Huskies of past and present keep basketball programs progressing

Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 7:05 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Located about 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks resides Delta Junction High School, a remote 9-12 school with fewer than 200 students. With a few hour drive in either direction to the nearest opponent, members of the Delta Huskies rely on one another for development as a basketball player and as a person. That is how it has been for Delta High School and that continues this year with Huskies of past and present helping the basketball community thrive.

The Class 3A basketball programs made the trek down the Richardson Highway Wednesday to face the Monroe Catholic Rams, an Aurora Conference foe. Taking over on the sidelines for the boy’s program this year is Sam Adams, a 2003 Delta High graduate who also played for the Huskies.

“I love the game of basketball and I have been coaching most of these guys since they were in 6th, 7th grade and they didn’t have a head coach this year and so I figured I owed it to them to step up and give it a shot.” said Adams, who took over for Shannon Magee as head coach.

Next to Adams on the sideline is another former Husky, 2020 graduate Jason Montes, who is one of the most skilled players to come out Delta Junction recently. Montes, a 2019-20 3A 1st Team All-State member, signed to the collegiate level in May, but like many others, his season at South Puget Sound Community College was canceled. In his off-year, Montes decided to lend a hand to the basketball program he gave countless hours to as a player.

“I had an urge to help out the community and the only way I could do it was basketball,” said the 1,000-point scorer for the Huskies. “It is just like my way of thanking the community, the community helped me a lot. I know I have to be a big brother to them, and that is what I am here doing.”

In addition to Adams and Montes, other former Delta Huskies regularly visit practice to help guide the program.

“We got guys that played 10 years ago that are coming into our practices and they’re really huge,” said Delta senior Ben Bialik. “They know the game of basketball, they have been there, they have been on the same stage we are at, so to have them come here and tell us what we got to do and see things that we don’t see, it is really big for us. It is definitely a family and definitely a really cool community to be a part of.”

Playing one of the best 3A teams in the state, Delta ultimately fell to the Rams 79-40, but not without a fight. The Huskies held the Rams scoreless for more than four minutes to begin the second half, that was until their leading scorer Austin Durham exited the game with his fifth foul. Durham finished with 14, while Bialik added seven. Pacing Monroe was sophomore Malachi Bradley, who had 23 points, while senior Jase McCullough chipped in 19 in the victory.

“They have an unbelievable amount of talent,” said Adams of his team after defeat. “It is just a matter of putting the pieces together.”

Monroe handed Delta their first loss of the season after the Huskies defeated Aurora Conference opponents Hutchison and Eielson last weekend. Durham dropped 25 points in each contest, while Bialik had 18 in their win over the Hawks.

In the girls contest between these two programs Wednesday, Monroe cruised to a 50-5 win, led by 13 points from Isa Stewart. The Huskies are set to visit Eielson on Tuesday for an Aurora Conference doubleheader.

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