Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball coach Jordan Blackburn is hoping that a victory over Mount Vernon on Jan. 25 might be the one the Pacers needed in order to gain confidence when playing against the better teams on their schedule.

Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball coach Jordan Blackburn is hoping that a victory over Mount Vernon on Jan. 25 might be the one the Pacers needed in order to gain confidence when playing against the better teams on their schedule.

Entering the OCC-Capital Division contest, Mount Vernon was 9-3 and Delaware had not beaten a team with a winning record. The Pacers' wins had come against teams with a combined 28-68 record and their losses were to teams that had a combined 54-11 record.

One thing is for sure, the 71-37 dismantling of the host Yellow Jackets will be a memorable one for all involved.

"We needed to beat a good team because losing close games to good teams in the final minute hurts our confidence. No more moral victories. We needed this," Blackburn said.

Senior Braxton Coleman, who was 9-for-9 from the floor for 18 points, scored Delaware's first eight points as the Pacers raced to a 17-4 lead after one quarter. It was 32-15 by halftime and 58-30 after three quarters.

"Coach reminded me that I had played Mount Vernon three times in my life and I hadn't done much against them," Coleman said. "He told me they wouldn't remember who I was. But I think tonight they know who I am."

After a round of "Happy Birthday" echoed out of the boisterous locker room, Blackburn said he couldn't envision a better birthday gift.

"This is pretty special," Blackburn said. "They made sure I wouldn't forget my 30th birthday anytime soon."

Delaware shared the ball extremely well, as it recorded 18 assists on its 30 field goals.

Many of Coleman's baskets, especially in the first quarter, came off nice assists as the Pacers shredded the Yellow Jackets' zone defense.

"(Mount Vernon) didn't think I was much of a threat and seemed to play off me," Coleman said. "But when you have (Matt Bingaya and Mike Wells) out there doing their things, it opens the floor up. It led to easy baskets for me tonight."

Bingaya had six assists, to go with his game-high 22 points and 12 rebounds. He made buzzer-beating 3-pointers to end the first and third quarters. Wells had 14 points and four assists. Jacob Bosiokovic had eight points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots.

"We've talked about the fact that others are going to have to step up, especially against good teams, because Matt and Mike are going to be double-teamed a lot," Blackburn said. "When you look at those numbers from Braxton and (Bosiokovic), that's what we want. I believe in these kids and if we play like that, some pretty special things can happen."

The fast start and continual aggressive nature also led to transition baskets, including a pair of Bingaya dunks.

"I think it's finally sinking in, that if we play with that tenacity and urgency for 32 minutes, we can play with anyone," Blackburn said. "That was the best four quarters we played consecutively this season. We went through a stretch where we'd fall behind by 10 points against good teams and then play with urgency. Now maybe we'll play with this urgency all the time."

The Pacers hoped to carry the momentum into a league game Jan. 28 against Watkins Memorial. Entering that game, Delaware shared third place in the league standings with Mount Vernon at 6-3. New Albany was 9-0 and Olentangy Orange was 7-2. Completing the standings were Hilliard Bradley at 4-5, Big Walnut at 3-6, Franklin Heights at 1-8 and Watkins Memorial at 0-9.

The Pacers play their final non-league game Tuesday, Feb. 1 at Pickerington Central. The Tigers, who were 5-6 overall before Jan. 28, won last year's meeting 39-38.

Delaware will return to league play Friday, Feb. 4 as host to Big Walnut.

•The boys and girls bowling teams have not had the best of seasons, but that was expected by coach Steve Carnahan.

"Both teams are a young," Carnahan said. "The boys' season has been a little rough, but everybody has improved. The one thing I like about them is that we've had three different top scorers. We don't have one guy carrying us. Josh Jones, Ray Getz and Alex Hohe have spread it out. They've all had good games and good series."

But inconsistency has plagued the Pacers, who were 5-10 before Jan. 28.

Still, the Pacers have hopes of advancing to district when the sectional rolls around Feb. 18. Teams will find out in which of three sites they will compete on Feb. 6.

In the Central District Preview Classic on Jan. 15 at HP Lanes, the boys finished 13th of 19 teams. Jones made the all-tournament team with a 683 series (222-246-215).

"If Josh continues to bowl like that, he could advance as an individual," Carnahan said. "I think Ray could also make it, as long as he doesn't over-think every shot, like he sometimes has a tendency to do. Alex is borderline. But I think all of them have the capability to advance."

The girls team was 6-9 before Jan. 28.

The Pacers finished 12th of 16 teams competing in the district preview. Although none of the girls had strong performances, Carnahan said a few could advance to district individually. That's what Ashleigh Keller did last season.

"She has bowled well of late, and I could see her returning to district," Carnahan said. "I also think Tayler Kunce and Katie Fleming have the potential to do that. The three returnees, Ashleigh, Tayler and Shanon (Evans) have all improved this year and have learned to adjust from shot to shot by reading the ball."