When does the glass half-full theory become the glass half-empty theory?

When does the glass half-full theory become the glass half-empty theory?

Apparently for Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball coach Jordan Blackburn, it changes after 60 percent of the regular season has been played and his team is continuing to follow a trend.

A 54-45 loss to Gahanna on Jan. 15 looked all too familiar to Blackburn, whose Pacers fell to 7-5 overall. The loss to the state's third-ranked team in Division I marked the fourth time this season that Delaware lost in the final 60 to 90 seconds of the game.

"Coming close without getting it done is no longer acceptable," Blackburn said. "At this stage of the season, there are no moral victories. In four of our five losses, we've overcome double-digit deficits and have had the ball with a chance to win or tie in the last minute. We're 0-for-4 in those situations. In order to be the team that I think we are, we've got to close things out with a victory.

"Am I proud of the way we played and how hard we've fought? Absolutely. But we need every one of our guys to play with a sense of urgency for all four quarters. We decide to play our hardest once we're down. Maybe finding a way to win those close ones is to play with that urgency from the opening tip-off and have the lead down the stretch. That would put the pressure on our opponent to play behind and try to scratch back the entire game."

Against the visiting Lions, Delaware trailed 37-25 at halftime but held Gahanna to 27 percent shooting in the second half. The Pacers trailed 48-45 late, but Gahanna closed the game by scoring layups on its final three possessions.

The loss, Delaware's third in a row, came one night after losing to host Olentangy Orange 57-54. The Pacers rallied from a 13-point deficit in the final six minutes and took a 54-53 lead with less than a minute remaining.

Trailing 55-54 with 14 seconds left, Matt Bingaya, who scored 10 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, was triple-teamed. He passed to Zach Parsons, whose shot was short. Orange added two free throws with 1.7 seconds left.

Delaware also lost 41-40 to host Olentangy Liberty in the Larry Eberst Classic on Dec. 29 and to visiting Mount Vernon 44-42 on Dec. 10. The Pacers' other loss was to New Albany 55-34.

Delaware has won only one game decided by 10 points or fewer, 41-38 over Marysville in the opener Dec. 3. Before Jan. 21, the Pacers' seven wins had come against teams with a combined 20-60 record, with not one of those opponents being above .500. Their losses had been to teams with a combined 47-7 record.

"Winning breeds winning, and we've got to beat a quality team to gain some confidence," Blackburn said. "They need to see that they can do it.

"The one good thing being close does is it gets them to understand that execution is so important. If we just execute one or two more plays on offense, make one or two more defensive stops, get a putback or a key defensive rebound, or have one fewer turnover, it can make the difference at the end of the game. That is why we have to play poised and focused for 32 minutes."

Braxton Coleman had 14 points and 10 rebounds against Gahanna. Bingaya had 13 points and Mike Wells added 10. Bingaya also limited Gahanna standout Stevie Taylor, an Ohio University signee, to seven points.

The Pacers are searching for someone to step up and provide the team a third scorer behind Bingaya (21.6 points per game) and Wells (16.4). Parsons is averaging 5.6, followed by Coleman (5.1) and Jacob Bosiokovic (4.3).

"Other than Bingaya and Wells, the rest of the team is shooting 26 percent from the field and they're much better shooters than that," Blackburn said. "Until that gets ironed out and we find someone to step up, Bingaya and Wells will continue to see box-and-one, triangles-and-two and man-and-a-half defenses.

Against Orange, Bingaya had 29 points, Wells had 10 and Parsons added eight.

Delaware's next game against a winning team is Tuesday, Jan. 25, at Mount Vernon. The Yellow Jackets were 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the OCC-Capital before Jan. 21.

Entering play Jan. 21, New Albany was 7-0 in the OCC-Capital, followed by Mount Vernon at 6-1, Orange at 5-2, the Pacers at 4-3, Hilliard Bradley at 3-4, Franklin Heights at 2-5, Big Walnut at 1-6 and Watkins Memorial at 0-7.

•The girls basketball team is having similar thoughts about its season.

The Pacers fell to 7-6 overall after a 64-41 loss at Olentangy on Jan. 18.

Delaware's wins had come against teams with a combined 17-59 record before Jan. 21. The losses were against teams with a combined 50-13 mark.

"The competition level we're playing is either way up or way down," coach Erin Margraf said. "When we win, we get a false understanding of where we are as a team. We struggle to be disciplined against teams that force us out of our comfort zone. We need to play our game, stay with our philosophy. So the consistency isn't there."

Delaware had lost four of its previous five contests before Jan. 21 and was fifth at 3-5 in the OCC-Capital. One of those losses was 68-39 to Orange on Jan. 14. The Pioneers lead the league at 8-0. Big Walnut, Bradley and New Albany were all 6-2, followed by the Pacers at 3-5, Mount Vernon at 2-6, Watkins Memorial at 1-7 and Franklin Heights at 0-8.

In many of the losses, the Pacers have fallen behind early.

Caroline Welker is averaging 16.5 points, followed by Cindy Bowman (8.5), Corsica Barber (6.7) and Kristen McMillen (5.1).