Delmarva Christian girls improve to 8-0

Kandice Schlabach of Delmarva Christian and Gabrielle Almonte of Lake Forest go for a rebound on Friday at Delmarva Christian. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

GEORGETOWN — A familiar scene this month played out on the court at Delmarva Christian on Friday.

The Royals celebrating another girls’ basketball victory.

Sophomore Sierra Troyer scored 26 points, junior Grace Fetterman added 19 points and Delmarva Christian defeated Lake Forest 85-46 in nonconference action. It allowed the Royals to remain unbeaten as they improved to 8-0 overall before the holiday break.

“It’s a great feeling to know we’re undefeated right now,” Troyer said. “But we know we’re going to have to keep putting in the work to keep it going.”

Both teams were undefeated coming into the matchup. Lake Forest dropped to 5-1 on the season. The Spartans were paced by sophomore Gabrielle Almonte who netted a game-high 27 points.

The win marked the best start to a season in recent memory for the Royals. They began the 2017-2018 with seven consecutive wins before their first defeat.

It was also the third victory for the Royals over a Henlopen Conference Southern Division team. The other five have all come against schools from Maryland.

“I’m blessed, really blessed, this feels great,” said second-year Delmarva Christian coach Jedidiah Roach. “The girls are buying in, they’re developing and we’re getting better everyday. But this is not it. We know next week we have tough challenges ahead. This is a stepping stone in the right direction, but we know we have a lot to improve on.”

The Royals will be busy over break.

They travel to the North Caroline Holiday Tournament hosted at Chesapeake College after Christmas. Delmarva Christian’s first contest of the tournament will be against Stephen Decatur, Md. on Thursday, Dec. 26.

Roach thinks it will be the biggest test his team has faced so far.

“We’re going to really see what we got and what we got to work on,” Roach said.

Friday was also a huge test for the Royals, facing the previously unbeaten Spartans.

Delmarva Christian held a 36-23 halftime lead but Lake Forest rallied to cut the deficit to seven in the third quarter. But the Royals responded with a 9-2 run to close the third quarter, capped by a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Kandice Schlabach.

The Royals then closed out the game by out-scoring Lake Forest 32-8 in the final quarter.

“We got our press break down,” Fetterman said. “We weren’t going to let them come back. We know what we’re capable of and we were ready to fight for the win.”

Delmarva Christian went 16-6 overall a season ago before falling to Ursuline Academy in the first round of the DIAA state tournament.

The Royals, despite only suiting up eight players, were able to reload this year. Troyer transferred in from Sussex Tech while freshman Ainsley Bell also joined the squad.

“We’ve had two new players come and they’ve helped us a lot,” Fetterman said. “We lost some big players last year but adding them, they help us make baskets and can play defense. They’re just a big asset to the team.”

“I wish we could have a couple more,” laughed Roach. “But we’re going to use what we got and God has blessed us with this group and we’re trying to maximize all the potential that we have.”

Troyer has been Delmarva Christian’s leading scorer so far this season.

“It wasn’t hard to fit in with the girls here,” she said. “They just make it so much fun.”

Schlabach contributed 13 points on Friday while Sara Walton was also in double figures with 11. Bell chipped in nine, including a jumper which beat the buzzer to send the game into halftime.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com