Members of the Delaware Hayes High School girls basketball team have been learning the importance rebounding this season.
The Pacers were 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Olentangy Orange on Dec. 20. They had outrebounded their opponent in each of their wins and had been outrebounded by their opponent in each of their losses.
"Our tallest player is Abbie Gore (5-foot-9), but rebounding has been a strength for us," coach Peter Minardi said. "We are a small team, but we really work hard on positioning ourselves for rebounds. We try to stay active on the offensive boards. We try to establish inside positioning when we see the shot go up. Second and third chances are so important."
Minardi also likes the patience his players have shown on offense.
"We're shooting close to 42 percent from the floor as a team and I think the biggest factor in that is being patient and taking quality shots," he said. "When we shoot quality shots, we don't need to get as many offensive rebounds, and if we're patient, we make the opponents work on defense."
Kristen McMillen was averaging a team-high 15.3 points through seven games, followed by Julie Bauer (11.1) and Maranda Merriman (8.3). Bauer was averaging a team-high six rebounds, followed by Gore (5.7).
"McMillen is shooting near 50 percent from the field and has had a wonderful start to the season," Minardi said. "Julie Bauer had a great game (in a 51-29 win) against Big Walnut (on Dec. 13). She was like 7-for-10 from the field and had 24 points. I think that was the only game McMillen hasn't scored in double digits all season and we didn't need her to because Julie was so hot."
The Pacers were scoring an average of 50.9 points through seven games and were allowing an average of 40.6.
"We are playing really well defensively," Minardi said. "We are playing good team defense with Miriam Aburmaieleh, Julie Bauer, Kristen McMillen and Miranda Merriman."
Boys basketball team posts first OCC win
The boys basketball team stopped a two-game losing streak by beating host Big Walnut 53-44 on Dec. 13.
The Pacers used balanced scoring and a 24-14 scoring advantage in the middle quarters to improve to 3-2 overall and 1-2 in the OCC-Capital. Alex Stevens led the way with 11 points, with Khalil Iverson scoring 10 and Noble Moore and Jante Wright both scoring nine.
"I was happy with the quality of shots we took against Big Walnut," said coach Jordan Blackburn, whose team played Orange in a league game Dec. 20. "When we take great shots and play with intensity for all 32 minutes, our boys can beat a lot of teams."
Delaware lost back-to-back OCC-Capital games against Worthington Kilbourne (59-57 in its home opener Dec. 7) and host New Albany (57-40 on Dec. 10) before beating the Golden Eagles.
"Against Kilbourne, we had the ball with 30 seconds left and the score tied," Blackburn said. "We wanted to take the last shot and leave time only for a tip-in if we missed. We went a little early and got fouled with 7 seconds left. After we missed two free throws, they drove the length of the floor and got a tip-in at the buzzer.
"We deserved to lose. We didn't play up to our potential, and shot selection and not containing penetration were two of the major issues."
Tyler Treese had a team-high 16 points against Kilbourne, with Phil Frentsos and Iverson scoring 14 and 13, respectively.
Delaware trailed New Albany by five points with just over five minutes remaining before the Eagles pulled away.
Stevens led the Pacers with 17 points.
"Containing penetration and defensive rebounding are going to be vital for us moving forward," Blackburn said. "We have had several guys out of practice due to concussions, bacterial infections, sprained thumbs, sprained ankles, sprained knees and a slew of other injuries."
Two of the players who missed time were Gaige Linville and Jamie Lahman.
"(Linville) was dealing with a bacterial infection and was out for a while and (Lahman) had a concussion that put him out a couple of weeks," Blackburn said. "We really need those guys in order for our team to keep progressing because they do the little things right to help us win ballgames. We expect to win, to keep getting better and to be in contention (for the league title)."
Wrestling team goes 3-1 in Liberty event
Andrew Sierawski (220 pounds) posted four pins as the wrestling team went 3-1 in the Olentangy Liberty Super Duals on Dec. 14.
The Pacers lost to Springboro 48-27 in their opening dual, but bounced back to defeat Liberty 48-27, Lancaster 46-23 and Whitehall 58-17.
Sierawski earned his 100th career victory by pinning Lancaster's Brad Rutter in 1:14.