When point guard Mike Wells took a charge early in the second quarter against Reynoldsburg's Wendell Davis on Dec. 15, it was a scary moment for him and his teammates on the Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball team.
Wells, a 5-foot-8 senior who was averaging 29.6 points and 7.3 assists, hit the back of his head on the floor and Davis, who is 6-4 and roughly 200 pounds, fell on top of him. Wells, who was named first-team all-district in Division I last season, was bloodied and left the game with a concussion.
"Everybody knows that Mike is one of the top scorers in the district," coach Jordan Blackburn said. "What they may not realize is all the little things he does. He gets the ball to his teammates in positions where they can score. His one-on-one quickness makes defenses cheat to him and then he just dissects the defense. He's a veteran and he calls our sets, makes our transition game go and just makes everyone better."
When Wells left the Reynoldsburg game, the score was tied at 18. The Pacers went on to lose 69-46 but rebounded to beat Wellington 55-46 on Dec. 18 without him. Blackburn did not expect Wells to be medically cleared to play Dec. 21 against Olentangy Orange but hopes to have his star player in the lineup for the Pacers' next game, Saturday, Dec. 29, at home against Dublin Jerome.
"I'm pretty sure he'll be back then," Blackburn said.
Against Wellington, sophomore guard Khalil Iverson scored 24 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter. He was 14-for-15 from the free-throw line and had 12 rebounds and four steals.
"I guess the silver lining in Mike being out is that the other guys all have to step up their games some," Blackburn said. "Khalil, although he's a returning starter and just a 15-year-old sophomore, is showing tremendous growth. He's had 40 points and 24 rebounds in the past two games. He's starting to realize what he can do if he keeps his motor going all the time."
Also against Wellington, 6-8 senior wing player Griffin Kinney had 10 points and eight rebounds and junior guard Tyler Treese, who replaced Wells in the starting lineup, had eight points, four assists and four rebounds.
"In addition to Khalil, Griffin Kinney, (sophomore guard) Noble Moore and (junior forward) Gaige Linville have been stepping up," Blackburn said. "I really like Linville's consistency. You know what you're going to get from him every second he's on the floor. We depend on him to do a lot of things for us."
Without Wells in the lineup, Blackburn said the Pacers have had to adjust their style of play and the coaching staff has had to call plays from the bench.
"We've had to move some people around and some guys are learning new roles and new positions," he said. "We know Mike will be back at some point, but we're going to use the eight days between the Orange and Jerome games practicing on playing without him in case he gets in foul trouble or we find ourselves without him at some point down the road.
"We had 13 turnovers in the first half (against Wellington) and had to slow the transition game down. We only had three turnovers in the second half. But Mike was able to create scoring opportunities more quickly because he could break defenses down. Right now, we have to use more passes and ball movement to open up good looks."
Girls swim team excels in Canton
Swimming and diving coach Bill Rietz was pleased with his teams' performance in the Christmas Invitational held Dec. 15 at Branin Natatorium in Canton, the site for the state meet in February.
Team scores were not kept in the 72-team meet.
The girls 200-yard medley relay of Regan DeWitt, Brittany Puthoff, Lindsey Norris and Sam Curtin won in 1 minute, 50.47 seconds and the 200 freestyle relay of Susan Thomson, Puthoff, Dewitt and Curtin placed fifth (1:42.97).
"This was the first time we had our 200 medley relay group together in a meet this year," Rietz said. "They were seeded fourth in the prelims but dropped three seconds in the final and won by three-quarters of a body length. Their time is the fastest we've ever had in the event in December."
Also for the girls team, Puthoff placed ninth in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.71) and 17th in the 200 individual medley (2:19.13), DeWitt finished ninth in the 500 free (5:15.24) and 19th in the 200 free (2:03.55), Curtin placed ninth in the 50 free (25.53) and Norris finished 15th in the 100 butterfly (1:03.27).
"This is the third year in a row we're positioned to go to state and swimming here gives us some background when we come back for state," Rietz said. "It's why we compete in this event.
"The same is true for the Ned Reeb (Invitational on Dec. 8). If we want to be comfortable swimming at Ohio State in the district, it's nice to get experience there in the Ned Reeb."
Cameron Hackett led the boys team in the Christmas Invitational, finishing 10th in both the 200 free (1:49.25) and 500 free (program-record 4:53.08).
"It was the oldest record on our books," Rietz said of Hackett breaking the program record in the 500 free. "He beat John Dixon's record of 4:54.59 set in 1989. It's a great start to the season for Cam."