The Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball team has had to endure a rash of injuries this season but has gained depth along the way.
The Pacers, who recently returned to full strength, defeated Buckeye Valley 59-42 in the Larry Eberst Classic on Dec. 28 for their fourth consecutive victory and were 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Mount Vernon on Jan. 3.
"One of the other things we learned when we were dealing with injuries is that we can go 10 deep," coach Jordan Blackburn said. "Hayden Dunlap (junior forward) and Jordan Hecker (junior guard) did a nice job since we called them up from (junior varsity). Both are good defenders and have fit well in the rotation. They also have helped us have better practices. Our depth is getting better throughout the program."
Blackburn is pleased with the progress his team has made since the start of the season.
"The biggest improvements we've seen during the winning streak are in our field-goal percentage and our defensive field-goal percentage," he said. "When we're playing well, we're moving the ball well and getting higher-percentage shots. When we're playing good defense, it also adds to transition baskets, which improve your field-goal percentage."
Delaware, which won its first two games before losing its next two, began the winning streak with a 53-44 decision over Big Walnut in a league game Dec. 13.
The Pacers then defeated Olentangy Orange 57-37 in a league game Dec. 20 and beat Cleveland East Tech 63-59 on Dec. 23 at Quicken Loans Arena, which is home to the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.
"East Tech is supposed to be one of the top teams in the Cleveland area ...," Blackburn said. "So the boys were excited to play in that atmosphere against a strong opponent and win."
Khalil Iverson had a team-high 17 points against East Tech, followed by Noble Moore with 15 and Tyler Treese with 10.
"East Tech wasn't going to let Khalil beat them, so they double-teamed him as soon as he'd touch the ball down the stretch," Blackburn said. "He had assists on our last four possessions that we scored baskets. Treese made two 3-pointers, Moore made a 3-pointer and Alex Stevens made a layup."
Through eight games, Iverson was averaging 15.4 points and 8.9 rebounds and Stevens was averaging 10.1 points. They were followed in scoring by Phil Frentsos (8.4), Moore (8.3) and Treese (8.0). Frentsos also was averaging 6.1 rebounds.
"I'm proud of Treese because we don't have a natural point guard, but he's been doing a great job of playing the position and getting the ball to the right people at the right time," Blackburn said. "He's averaging 6.4 assists and 2.6 turnovers. He's making clutch shots and big plays at crunch time."
Girls swimming team continues to excel
The girls swimming and diving team had a pair of runner-up finishes to close out the 2013 portion of its schedule.
The Pacers were second in both the eighth-annual Delaware County Classic on Dec. 21 at Ohio Wesleyan and Fremont Ross' Little Giant Invitational on Dec. 28.
Delaware scored 363 points in the County Classic to finish behind Olentangy Liberty (470) and ahead of Olentangy (355), Orange (262), Westerville Central (97), Village Academy (97), Buckeye Valley (35) and Big Walnut (29).
The Pacers won seven of the 12 events while turning in their highest finish in the County Classic.
Regan DeWitt and Brooke Glesenkamp both won two individual events to lead the way.
DeWitt finished first in the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 16.75 seconds) and the 500 freestyle (5:25.18) and Glesenkamp won the 50 free (meet- and pool-record 25.05) and 100 free (54.61).
Also finishing first were Samantha Curtin in the 200 free (meet-record 2:00.77), Brittany Puthoff in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.06) and the 200 free relay of Glesenkamp, Puthoff, DeWitt and Curtin (meet- and pool-record 1:41.4).
"The girls have been very strong and I thought the boys also had a good meet in the Delaware County Classic," said coach Bill Rietz, whose teams played host to the Delaware Invitational on Jan. 4. "It was another outstanding showcase of the aquatic high school athletes in the county. Eleven meet records were broken -- six on the boys side and five on the girls. There were seven pool records broken. It was a great meet."
The girls team scored 421 points in the 23-team Little Giant Invitational to finish behind Ross (486).
DeWitt won the 500 free (5:24.66) and teamed with Puthoff, Glesenkamp and Curtin to win the 200 medley relay (1:54.76) and 400 free relay (3:43.75).
The boys team finished fourth (296) in the County Classic, behind Liberty (408), Westerville Central (389) and Olentangy (387) and ahead of Orange (233), Village Academy (40) and Buckeye Valley (40).
Anthony Hinton won the 50 free (22.04) and placed second in the 100 butterfly (57.23) and Skyler Pollock was runner-up in both the 200 free (1:55.49) and 500 free (5:12.67).
The Pacers finished third (347.5) in the 17-team Little Giant Invitational, behind Findlay (596) and Ross (410).
Hinton won the 50 free (22.19) and 100 free (50.09) and was named Male Performer of the Meet. Also winning was the 200 free relay of Remington Curtin, Dustin Buschman, Kai Herrera and Pollock (1:35.46).
Wrestling team enters crux of OCC schedule
The next two weeks will go a long way in determining the wrestling team's fate as it seeks its first OCC-Capital championship.
Delaware will face Big Walnut and Orange on Thursday, Jan. 9, at New Albany and Mount Vernon and host Olentangy on Jan. 16. The Pacers, who defeated Franklin Heights 82-0 in their league opener Dec. 19, close out their league schedule with home duals against New Albany on Jan. 30 and Worthington Kilbourne on Feb. 6.
Delaware competed in Grandview's Bobcat Invitational on Jan. 4.