Instead of having a week to prepare for a pivotal OCC-Capital Division contest Tuesday at Big Walnut, bad weather last week changed the time and strategy for the Delaware Hayes High School girls basketball team.

Instead of having a week to prepare for a pivotal OCC-Capital Division contest Tuesday at Big Walnut, bad weather last week changed the time and strategy for the Delaware Hayes High School girls basketball team.

The Pacers' game against Mount Vernon was moved from last Tuesday to last Saturday, giving them just a few days to game plan for the Eagles. Delaware also played struggling Watkins Memorial last Friday but likely didn't prepare too much, as the Warriors were 1-13 overall and 0-7 in the league.

The Pacers entered the game 15-0 overall and 8-0 in league play and are trying to record their first perfect regular season.

Delaware held on to beat Big Walnut 45-43 in the first round Dec. 23 when the Eagles went 2-for-12 from the free-throw line and missed two free throws with five seconds remaining.

"Unfortunately, we're in the same position we were the last time we played Big Walnut," coach Erin Fragale said. "We played a huge game against Dublin Scioto three days before we played Big Walnut. We won (61-60 in overtime) and we were so focused on them that it was only natural to have a little mental letdown against Big Walnut.

"We won't have a letdown this time, but we'll need to rest our legs a bit with three games in five days. I'm sure the adrenaline will pick them up. They'll have a big, loud crowd there. I'm hoping we'll get some of our people there, too. There's a lot on the line and we need some students to come out and support us on the road."

The Eagles were 14-2 overall and 7-2 in the league after beating Olentangy Orange 52-30 last Tuesday. They had a full week to prepare for Delaware, as they did not play last Friday or Saturday.

In the first meeting, Big Walnut led 41-39 with nearly four minutes remaining and went into a stall to force Delaware out of its zone defense. Two minutes later, Brittany Skeens made a key steal and converted a layup and Makeda Matthews scored the winning points on a basket with 22 seconds left.

"We have to be extremely focused and better prepared for Big Walnut this time because it's a nasty gym to play in," Skeens said. "We have to make some small adjustments, nothing drastic. But we have to be ready to play."

Makeda Matthews led the Pacers with 13 points and 11 rebounds and Anasa Matthews added 10 points and 14 rebounds.

"When you play Delaware, you try to hold the Matthews girls down as much as you can, and that's a very hard thing to do," Big Walnut coach Bob Scott said.

Forward Jodie Jindra scored 14 points for Big Walnut and played well inside against the Pacers' big line. Guard Jessi Tutorow had 10 points.

"Jindra and Tutorow played well against us and both scored a lot early on," Fragale said. "Makeda and Anasa both were in foul trouble and finished with four fouls, as did (point guard) Chelsie Burden. We had 13 fouls in the game, but had three starters finish with four fouls."

Tutorow and guard Tabatha Piper had four fouls for Big Walnut. Other key players for the Eagles are guards Amanda Chucta and Tara Johnson. Jindra was among the area leaders in field-goal percentage (55.7) and free-throw percentage (73.0) before last Tuesday.

For Delaware, Makeda Matthews was averaging 15.7 points and 10.1 rebounds and Anasa Matthews was averaging 12.8 points and 10.1 rebounds before last Friday. The rest of the starters were contributing a combined 25.8 points per contest with Caroline Welker at 9.2, Skeens at 9.1 and Chelsie Burden at 7.5. Delaware was getting 2.9 points per contest off the bench. The Pacers were averaging 57.2 points per game and allowing 39.4.

At a glance

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

*Jan. 23 -- Def. Franklin Heights 63-39. Brittany Skeens scored 14 points and Makeda Matthews and Anasa Matthews had 12.

*Last Friday -- Played Watkins Mem-orial

*Last Saturday -- Played Mount Vernon. The game was postponed from last Tuesday.

*Tuesday -- At Big Walnut

Of note: The Pacers were 15-0 and 8-0 in the OCC-Capital before last Friday. They were third in the Division I area coaches poll and seventh in the state poll. The district tournament draw and seeding are today.

*OCC-Capital game