There’s no debating girls’ basketball coach of the year as she leads her team to back-to-back victories over nationally ranked La Jolla Country Day, Chatsworth Sierra Canyon and San Jose Archbishop Mitty to win the Open Division state championship. That’s what Stan Delus accomplished at Etiwanda to win The Times Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year award.
Except Delus did a lot more. He found a way to give Sierra Canyon his only loss, devising a defense to contain player of the year Juju Watkins. He got his star player, Kennedy Smith, to reload for the state playoffs and play at the top of her game. And he figured out how to get his team to overcome an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter in Sacramento against one of the best coaches in America.
All of that and more brought respect to Delus, whose Eagles won the Southern Section Open Division title last season but lost to Sierra Canyon in this season’s finale. The Eagles got their revenge in the regional finals. Then came a 69-67 victory over Mitty on a basket by Jada Sanders.
As for what drives the Eagles, Delus said: “Yeah, we have a chip on the shoulder. And we’re going to have one next year, because I’m the coach. Period.”