The Delaware Hayes High School girls basketball team has nearly completed the first round of OCC-Capital Division play and nearly completed the first half of its regular-season schedule.

The Delaware Hayes High School girls basketball team has nearly completed the first round of OCC-Capital Division play and nearly completed the first half of its regular-season schedule.

Although the Pacers are 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the league, they know their play is not perfect.

"We're not playing our best ball. In fact, we did a lot of ugly things tonight that we can work on," coach Erin Fragale said after the team beat Big Walnut 45-43 last Tuesday despite 19 turnovers, 4-for-16 shooting from the free-throw line and getting into foul trouble. "Everyone we play is going to make it difficult for us to feed the post. We've got to be patient, fake passes, reverse the ball and, in general, play smarter basketball."

The Pacers will reach the halfway point of the regular season Monday at Marysville, then get extra time to work on things before beginning the second half and completing the first round of league play Jan. 9 at New Albany.

Last season, the Pacers swept Marysville 58-45 and 60-52. They did not play New Albany.

The win over the Golden Eagles was the Pacers' second in a row over previously undefeated teams, as they downed Dublin Scioto 61-60 in overtime Dec. 20. Big Walnut fell to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the league. Golden Eagles coach Bob Scott was impressed with Delaware, despite its deficiencies.

"They were good team, they might be the best team we play all year," Scott said. "I'm not saying they are, but they might be. So for us, this shows my kids can compete with anybody and we get another shot at them later at our place."

Delaware survived the game when Jessie Simpkins missed two free throws with five seconds remaining. Brittany Skeens then dribbled out the clock.

Skeens made a pivotal play when her team trailed 41-39 and Big Walnut had chosen to stall. After close to two minutes of playing defense, Skeens stole a pass and tied the game on a layup with 2 minutes, 2 seconds remaining.

"They have good guards, they can all score, so I had to be smart about (switching to defend a ball-handler)," said Skeens, whose 3-pointer in regulation against Scioto forced overtime. "We finally made the switch and I was able to get the steal. Coach looks to me for a defensive stop and I had to step up with it."

Anasa Matthews scored on a putback to give Delaware the lead and, after Simpkins knotted the score again, Makeda Matthews scored from the paint for the decisive points with 22 seconds left.

"We didn't play well at all, especially the free-throw shooting," Skeens said. "Four for 16 is awful. We can't do that."

But those types of plays in the closing minutes were what Delaware was missing for most of the first half. The Pacers misfired on three layups to start the game, but took a 27-25 lead at intermission when Shelbi Franklin converted a four-point play with 1.8 seconds left. She hit a 3-pointer, was fouled and made the free throw.

"We had a lot of turnovers early, unforced turnovers at that," Fragale said. "We were traveling, making bad passes and not cleanly catching passes. We wanted to run more, but we weren't rebounding well and they were scoring because of mental breakdowns and stupid fouls. It's hard to get uptempo when you can't rebound and hit an outlet pass.

"We were not the same team as we were when we beat Scioto. I don't know if we struggled with emotions because it was an OCC game, because Big Walnut was undefeated, or if we struggled from not being school and having the same routine. But for some reason, whether it was pressure or not, we were out of sync."

Some of the mental lapses and bad passes showed up again when Big Walnut closed the third quarter on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 37.

Makeda Matthews had 13 points and 11 rebounds, Anasa Matthews added 10 points and 14 rebounds and Caroline Welker had seven points.

•The boys basketball team is hoping a break from league play will do it some good.

After losing to Big Walnut 70-58 last Tuesday, the Pacers were 1-3 in OCC-Capital play and 3-1 in non-league games. But the following three games were against non-league teams.

Delaware, which played Olentangy Liberty last Saturday in the Delaware County Invitational, will play Monday against Westerville North in the Phil Brown Rotary Holiday Classic at Otterbein and Tuesday at Pickerington Central.

North fell to 3-2 by losing to Olentangy Liberty 68-59 last Tuesday and the Warriors played Newark last Saturday. Against Liberty, the Warriors were led by a three-pronged attack. Ralph Hill, a 6-foot-6 forward, scored 21 points. Kenny Deboer, a 6-4 point guard, had 19 points. Shooting guard Jacob Thuman had 16, including four 3-pointers. The Warriors' top four scorers returned from last season when they lost to Delaware 46-36 en route to a 3-18 finish.

Central is 4-1. The Tigers topped Groveport 72-71 last Tuesday, as four players scored in double digits. Jarred Miller and Kris Strange scored 14 points apiece. Eilar Hardy had 13 points and Anthony McGarrah added 11, with a trio of 3-pointers. Isac Franklin had eight points.

The Pacers lost to Central 51-50 last season when the Tigers finished 11-11.

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes boys basketball and girls basketball teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 19 -- Def. Watkins Memorial 65-46. The Pacers led 20-2 after one quarter and 41-10 at halftime. Sean Rothermel scored 22 points and Dominic Cassan added 15.

*Last Tuesday -- Lost to Big Walnut 70-58. Pat Kennedy scored 14 points. Kyle Eberst and Nick Potter added 12.

Last Saturday -- Played Olentangy Liberty in Delaware County Invitational

Monday -- At Westerville North

Tuesday -- At Pickerington Central

*Jan. 9 -- Home vs. New Albany

Of note: The Pacers were 3-4 overall before last Saturday and are 1-3 in the OCC-Capital.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

*Dec. 19 -- Def. Watkins Memorial 63-26. Makeda Matthews had 18 points, followed by Chelsie Burden (14), Anasa Matthews (12), Brittany Skeens (10) and Caroline Welker (9).

Dec. 20 -- Def. Dublin Scioto 61-60 (OT). Skeens made one of her three 3-pointers at the end of regulation to force overtime. She had 17 points. Makeda Matthews added 16 points and Anasa Matthews had 15.

*Last Tuesday -- Def. Big Walnut 45-43

Monday -- At Marysville

*Jan. 9 -- At New Albany

Of note: The Pacers are 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the OCC-Capital.

*OCC-Capital contest

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

GYMNASTICS

Dec. 12 -- Finished first (116.675) ahead of Westland (109.95), Buckeye Valley (107.35) and Central Crossing (106.425). Kayla Rigel was second (31.475). Rigel was second on bars (7.1), vault (8.1) and beam (8.05) and third on floor (8.225). Leah Jones was fifth (28.7) in the all-around. Other top event scores for the Pacers were by Alyssa Belville on bars (third, 6.9) and Georgia Hellinger on vault (fourth, 7.8).

Dec. 20 -- Finished eighth (114.525) in 13-team Hilliard Invitational at Hilliard Davidson behind champion Grove City (134.725). None of the Pacers placed. Alex Kern (7.725 on vault, 8.15 on floor) and Rigel (7.2 on bars, 8.275 on beam) led the way.

Jan. 7 -- At Worthington Kilbourne vs. Kilbourne, Olentangy and Grove City

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 19 -- Boys: Lost to Columbus Academy 118-47, lost to Mount Vernon 116-47. Nate Planisek, John Shaver, Jordan Nicol and Andrew Koukis won the 200 free relay (1:41.29); Girls: Def. Mount Vernon 100-69, lost to Academy 103-67. Winners were Kyla Lett in the 200 free (2:11.06), Abby Kremer in the 200 IM (2:26.78), Jessica Ward in the 100 back (1:08.03) and Abby Hoovler, Jacie Nowland, Lett and Marissa Schlabach in the 200 free relay (1:51.3).

Dec. 20 -- Boys: Finished second (253) behind Liberty (394) and ahead of Westerville Central (230), Olentangy Orange (106), Buckeye Valley (21) and Big Walnut (15) in home Delaware County Classic. Koukis won the 50 free (24.38). Shaver was second (1:13.45) in 100 breast and the 200 free relay of Josh Trippier, Shaver, Nicol and Matt Swisher was second (1:44.64); Girls: Finished third (199.5) behind Liberty (402) and Central (297.5) and ahead of Orange (132), Buckeye Valley (18) and Big Walnut (7). Top finishers for the Pacers were Marissa Schlabach in the 50 free (third, 26.85) and Kyla Lett in the 500 free (third, 5:54.96). Delaware also was third in all three relays.

Last Saturday -- Competed in Alumni Relays

Monday -- At Watterson Relays

Jan. 3 -- At home Delaware Invitational

Jan. 6 -- At Thomas Worthington vs. Thomas and Kilbourne

WRESTLING

Dec. 20 -- Finished ninth in 24-team New Albany Eagle Invitational behind champion Canal Winchester. In the duals, the Pacers defeated Northmor 50-20 and lost to Hamilton Township 43-33. Michael Kalista (145) won both duals, including getting a takedown in the final four seconds to win by one point against Northmor. In the A pool, Mark Rieman (140) was runner-up, Christion Brooks (189) was fourth and Greg Flaglor (125) was fifth. In the B pool, Brent Spivey (130) went 5-0 to win the title.

Monday-Tuesday -- At Marion Harding Invitational

Jan. 9-10 -- At Marion Elgin Invitational

*OCC-Capital contest