The Delaware Hayes High School girls basketball team will shift its focus from the regular season to the postseason this week.
The Pacers are seeded 32nd of 43 teams in the Division I district tournament and will play at 27th-seeded Briggs in the first round Saturday, Feb. 16. The winner will play at fifth-seeded Northland in the second round Feb. 20.
"We don't know much about (Briggs) just yet," coach Erin Margraf said last week. "We just got the films, but we're not going to look at them until after we finish the regular season (Feb. 8 against Franklin Heights).
"I have heard they're quick and athletic and that they've got three real good shooters. Right now, we're more concerned with us meshing together now that we're healthy for the first time all season."
Senior Bethany Naegele, a 5-foot-11 forward, is practicing with the team for the first time this season after an offseason injury and sophomore forward Abbie Gore returned to the lineup in a 72-59 loss to Johnstown on Feb. 6 after missing the first 10 games in the 2013 portion of the schedule because of an injury.
Junior guard Katie Ellis also recently returned from an injury.
"We're healthy, we're able to put size on the floor and, for the first time, it feels like we're playing together as a complete team," Margraf said.
Briggs was 10-11 overall before playing Whetstone on Feb. 8. The Bruins are led by guards Danitra White, DiMond Davis and Nolla Harris.
Delaware, which was 7-13 overall and 6-7 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Franklin Heights on Feb. 8, avenged a 36-34 loss to Mount Vernon on Jan. 4 by beating the Yellow Jackets 40-35 in overtime on Feb. 5. Mount Vernon had won the first meeting on a last-second shot.
In the rematch with the Yellow Jackets, junior guard Jill Bauer had 17 points, including seven in the fourth quarter and six in overtime, and eight rebounds.
"It was a great win for us after losing at their place on that last shot," Margraf said. "Jill came up big for us and we were 11-for-14 from the free-throw line. We're getting more people contributing and our seniors, (guard/forward) Allissa Beard, Bethany Naegele and (guard) Kaci McCoy, have done a very nice job as leaders and keeping the girls on track."
Against Johnstown, guard Kristen McMillen had 24 points and Bauer scored 18.
Boys basketball team eyes second in OCC
The boys basketball team is hoping to win a three-team race for second in the OCC-Capital standings.
Entering play Feb. 8, the Pacers were tied with Olentangy at 8-3 and Olentangy Orange was 7-3. New Albany, which was 12-0, has clinched the league title.
Delaware played Franklin Heights on Feb. 8 and will play host to Olentangy on Friday, Feb. 15, and travel to Olentangy Orange on Feb. 18. The Pacers lost to Olentangy 79-63 on Jan. 11 but defeated Orange 55-49 in overtime on Feb. 1.
"It's a good battle for second place," coach Jordan Blackburn said. "It's a matter of whose going to play the best the last couple of weeks. I like the way we're playing right now. For the first time all season, we're fully healthy."
Against Orange, junior guard Thoeun Sorn forced overtime by hitting a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"Obviously, (senior point guard) Mike Wells, (sophomore guard) Khalil Iverson and (senior wing player) Griffin Kinney are our most productive scorers, but we have a lot of weapons when we're healthy," Blackburn said. "Thoeun Sorn, (junior guard) Jante Wright and (sophomore guard) Noble Moore are very athletic and then we've also gotten great minutes from (junior forward) Jamie Lahman, (junior forward) Gaige Linville and (junior guard) Tyler Treese. I like this team. When we play good defense, rebound and move the ball, we're a pretty good team."
Against Orange, Wells had 24 points and six assists, Iverson had eight points and Kinney had six points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
"The biggest stats in every game are field-goal percentage, opponents' field-goal percentage and rebounding," Blackburn said.
"We made the extra pass for good shots, we defend and, if we rebound well, we give ourselves a chance to win."
Delaware defeated Mount Vernon 58-31 on Feb. 5 as Wells had 16 points and five assists, Moore had 11 points and Iverson had 10 points and 16 rebounds.
The Division I district tournament draw is Sunday, Feb. 10. The tournament begins Feb. 23.
Wrestlers preparing for sectional tourney
The wrestling team will compete in a Division I sectional tournament Saturday, Feb. 16, at Westland.
Delaware is seeded third of 40 teams in the district and will be joined in the 10-team sectional by fourth-seeded Hilliard Davidson, Grove City (18th), Worthington Kilbourne (19th), Upper Arlington (21st), St. Charles (22nd), Central Crossing (24th), Westland (28th), Dublin Scioto (30th) and New Albany (32nd).
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the district tournament Feb. 22 and 23 at Hilliard Darby.
Last season, Delaware placed fourth (125.5 points) in a 10-team sectional behind champion and host Marysville (257) and finished 19th (31) at district behind champion Marysville (174) as 37 teams scored.
The Pacers had five district qualifiers a year ago, including 2012 graduate Seth McCurdy, who went 1-2 at state at 126 pounds.
Juniors Nick Beyer (145), Shawn Johnson (195) and Andrew Sierawski (182) are seeking return trips to district.
The other district qualifier, sophomore Cody Wooten, was injured during football season and was unable to compete this season.
Swimmers begin postseason
Members of the boys and girls swimming and diving teams competed in the Division I sectional meet Feb. 9 at Thomas Worthington.
The winner of each swimming event qualified for the district meet Saturday, Feb. 16, at Ohio State. In addition, 27 at-large district berths will be awarded in each swimming event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites. Divers do not compete until the district meet.
The top two placers in each swimming event at district automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 21-23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide. The top three boys divers and top four girls divers at district advance to state.