By Todd Stanford
The Daily Item
---- — It's already been an exciting sports year for Benny Delgado, the Shikellamy senior who's seemingly come out of nowhere to surprise opponents in football and now basketball.
Delgado joined the football team in midseason, then ran for more than 100 yards twice and even had a 75-yard, two-touchdown performance in the Braves' loss to Shamokin in the District 4 Class AAA semifinals.
Currently, Delgado is a starting forward on a Shikellamy team that's undefeated at 7-0.
"It shows everyone else on the team that here's a kid ... who didn't start as a junior, but he continued to work hard and do a lot of stuff in the summer to get better," Braves coach Tim Foor said. "Now he's being rewarded by starting in his senior year."
Delgado grew up in the Shikellamy School District, but his family moved to Puerto Rico before his freshman year of high school. They moved back near the end of his sophomore year -- after the basketball season ended. Delgado played JV ball last year but never saw the floor in varsity games.
That's obviously changed this year. Delgado has started in every game, and he's averaging 7.3 points per game.
"He's starting to get a little success," Foor said. "Which can be good and bad, (because) now the more success he gets there's more pressure to continue that success. It's a different type of attitude he has to carry around now. So now he's counted on to be a contributor, both offensively and defensively. For us, he's nice because he's an undersized forward (at 6-foot-1), but he makes up for it by being very athletic. ... He's a little quicker and a little faster than most other teams' (power forwards). He's bought into the system we have."
In Tuesday's 50-46 win over Mifflinburg, Delgado scored six points to go with six rebounds.
"I don't want to talk myself up," Delgado said after Tuesday's game. "I'll let my playing do the talking for me."
It helps that Delgado walked into a good situation this season. He's surrounded on the floor by veteran players like Tyler Pratt, Andrew Eyster, Ernie Tyler and Taylor Mantz -- all of whom have played varsity for at least the past two seasons.
"I've known everybody since I've been small," Delgado said. "We all kind of grew up together."
"It's nice to see a kid who's gone through the system," Foor added. "We knew about him when he was in eighth grade. In ninth grade he moved away. We were like, 'Gosh, we lost another kid.' We've had a history of losing good players (who have) transferred."
Luckily for Foor and the Braves, this one came back. And Delgado has become an integral piece of a team that looks like it's on the cusp of an amazing season.
n Sports reporter Todd Stanford covers high school boys basketball for The Daily Item. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/toddrstanford