The high school basketball season is a long one, with teams having time to change and tweak things to turn deficiencies into strengths before the postseason begins in February.

The high school basketball season is a long one, with teams having time to change and tweak things to turn deficiencies into strengths before the postseason begins in February.

Early in the season, an area of concern might not arise until it is exposed during a game.

That is what Mount Vernon did against the Delaware Hayes boys team on Dec. 10. The visiting Yellow Jackets used zone defenses to harass the Pacers and keep their athletic guards from getting to the basket. They also shut down Delaware's transition game and held on for a 44-42 OCC-Capital Division win.

"Our zone offense wasn't very good," coach Jordan Blackburn said. "It was stagnant. We had guys holding the ball and reading our options, but we didn't have people moving without the ball to give us options."

The Pacers spent the following few days changing their zone offense and proved how well it worked last Tuesday, building a 21-point lead before settling for a 69-57 win over Olentangy.

"We moved well without the ball and were creating shots against their zone defense," Blackburn said. "We worked the ball inside-outside, we used skip passes and ball fakes, and our guards attacked the seams to draw defenders before passing. We spent a few days making the changes and presenting more of a scripted zone offense to our players and they did really well."

Matt Bingaya scored 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Mike Wells had 19 points and four assists as the Pacers improved to 3-1. Jacob Bosiokovic added nine points and 10 rebounds.

"We started Troy Decker and Joe Weirtz because they're fabulous communicators on both ends of the floor and they really set some great screens," Blackburn said. "Plus, they can both shoot the ball. I really like the fact that we attacked their zone defense. If we continue to play like that, teams will think twice about playing zone against us."

Against Mount Vernon, Bingaya (20) and Wells (13) combined for all but nine of the Pacers' points. Weirtz had six points and Bosiokovic had six blocked shots. Delaware also had 11 of its 18 turnovers in the second half.

Delaware, which was 1-1 in the league before playing Watkins Memorial last Friday, is at Big Walnut on Tuesday. The Pacers then have an eight-day break before playing host to Olentangy Liberty in the Larry Eberst Classic on Dec. 29.

•The girls swimming and diving team produced its best finish in the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 11.

Seven Pacers met the qualifying times to compete and Delaware totaled 98 points to finish 12th of 40 teams scoring at Ohio State, as Upper Arlington (471) won.

Freshman Brittany Puthoff set one school record and came close to another to lead the Pacers. Puthoff set the record in the 200-yard individual medley, finishing 11th in 2 minutes, 15.83 seconds to break the mark of 2:16.79 set by Natalie Koukis in 1993.

Puthoff finished fifth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.91, which is .51 off the record set in 1995.

"In my 31 years in the program, I can't recall ever talking about school records this early in a season," coach Bill Rietz said. "That's usually something we talk about when we're shaved and tapered for district. Brittany just floored us with her efforts. Now we've had two school records and are close on another this year."

Delaware's 200 medley relay set a school record in the opening event Dec. 3 against Central Crossing and Whetstone.

In the Ned Reeb, Regan DeWitt, Puthoff, Jessica Ward and Abby Kremer were seventh in the 200 medley relay (1:53.87). Puthoff, Abby Hoovler, Susan Thomson and Kremer were 15th in the 200 free relay (1:46.26).

DeWitt was 15th in the 100 backstroke (1:02.95). Ward was 15th in the 100 butterfly (1:01.68), 20th in the 100 back (1:05.70) and swam leadoff ahead of Thomson, Kremer and DeWitt in the 15th place 400 free relay (3:53.87).

Five Pacers competed for the boys team, but none scored. Cameron Hackett was the lone individual competitor and finished 35th in both the 100 back (1:02.01) and 100 fly (59.36). He also swam leadoff ahead of Thom Lenhart, Anthony Sanfillipo and Joel Simpson in the 26th place 400 free relay (3:44.08).

The 200 medley relay of Lenhart, Nate Planisek, Hackett and Simpson was 30th (1:55.55), and the 200 free relay of Simpson, Lenhart, Sanfillipo and Planisek was 35th (1:41.44).

"It was a great day," Rietz said. "In addition to the school record, Hackett got a (personal record) by going under a minute in the 100 fly and we had the most girls we've ever had compete in the (finals and consolation finals) at the Ned Reeb Invitational."