NAPOLEON - For a quarter, 3-pointers were raining down on Delta like a hard spring rain.
Tinora made four 3-pointers in the opening quarter of last night's Division III district semifinal, giving the Rams a 14-11 lead after one period.
But the Panthers switched defenses, shut down Tinora's 3-point attack and came back to post a 53-48 victory.
Delta improves to 14-8 heading into tomorrow's contest with Archbold for the district title.
"Our plan of starting out in a 1-3-1 [zone] really backfired on us," Delta coach Cory Sprow said. "We wanted to force them to shoot perimeter shots, but they really made us pay.
"So we switched out of it, and our kids buckled down with our man defense."
The Panthers took control in the second quarter, outscoring Tinora 17-7 to take a 28-21 lead at the break.
"We knew they switched a lot, so we wanted to get some screen-and-rolls going to try and take advantage of some mismatches down low," Sprow said of his team's second-quarter offense. "We were able to for a few possessions in the second quarter.
"We also knew we had to slow things down and take the best shot possible every possession."
Josh Beverly, who scored seven points in the second period and had all but two of his 16 points in the first half, said Delta didn't change anything in the second period. "We were just executing really well," Beverly said. "We were just making shots."
Delta held the Rams scoreless for the final 4:42 of the first half, then limited Tinora to just three points in the first 4:30 of the third quarter to turn a 21-17 Delta deficit into a 34-24 lead.
While the Panthers made just four field goals in the second half, they got enough offense a slashing attack them sent them to the free throw line 21 times. They connected on 17.
Tinora used a five-point burst to cut Delta's advantage to 47-45 with one minute to play. But Jordan Turner, who finished with 13 points, made 5 of 6 free throws in that final minute to hold off the Rams.
Tory Guilliam scored a 17 points, while Treg Lymanstall added 12 for the Rams, who ended their season 13-9.