The Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball team is streaking toward a season-ending showdown with New Albany.
The Pacers travel to Olentangy on Friday, Feb. 14, for an OCC-Capital Division game before playing host to the Eagles on Saturday, Feb. 15, in a contest that could decide the league championship.
Delaware defeated Olentangy 72-56 on Jan. 10 but lost to New Albany 57-40 on Dec. 10.
The Pacers defeated visiting Mount Vernon 63-47 on Feb. 4 to improve to 15-3 overall and 8-3 in the OCC-Capital and entered their league game against Franklin Heights on Feb. 7 on an eight-game winning streak.
"These guys expect to win," Pacers coach Jordan Blackburn said of his players. "They don't wait around to see what happens or hope things go well. They expect it. And that's a reflection of our captains, Gaige Linville and Tyler Treese, as well as all six seniors."
New Albany played Worthington Kilbourne on Feb. 7. Entering the matchup, the Eagles were 8-2 in the league and the Wolves were 8-3.
The win over Mount Vernon was Delaware's 13th in its previous 14 games. The 14-game stretch followed back-to-back losses to Kilbourne (59-57 on Dec. 7) and New Albany.
"We decided to stop focusing on winning and losing and start focusing on doing our jobs, because if we did that, things would take care of themselves," Treese said of the Pacers' recent play. "We don't care who scores the points because it's going to be different guys every night depending on what defenses do.
"We all love each other. You can ask anyone in the locker room. If we all do our jobs and play for each other, good things happen."
Delaware trailed Mount Vernon 12-7 after the first quarter, but key contributions from players coming off the bench helped the Pacers rally to victory.
"We're getting good minutes off the bench from Jante' Wright, (Hayden) Dunlap and (Jordan) Hecker," Blackburn said. "We don't lose anything when we sub and that's a big blessing because we can go 10 deep when healthy, although we're down to eight.
"We don't play many possessions where we have a guy on the floor who's gassed. We tell them let us get you out for a quick break and they're unselfish and realize that if they go 110 percent on the floor, we'll continue rotating in and out constantly."
Treese and Khalil Iverson both scored 14 points against Mount Vernon. Noble Moore had 12 points on four 3-pointers and Phil Frentsos scored nine.
"We're like a family and we all do our roles," Linville said. "My role is to move people around inside, box out, rebound and play good defense. I have to be ready for Tyler or anyone to dump the ball down inside to me on double teams. What I do kind of goes unnoticed, but I'm more of a football guy and I have fun doing that."
Delaware defeated Whitehall 59-41 on Feb. 1 after beating Olentangy Orange 39-29 in a league game Jan. 31.
Against Whitehall, Treese had 21 points, Frentsos scored 11 and Iverson scored nine. Iverson had 16 points against Orange.
"You know, Iverson is averaging 17 points per game and he could easily average 25, but he's all about winning," Blackburn said. "Rather than take some contested driving shots, he dishes to teammates for uncontested layups. We probably (had) four or five of those (against Mount Vernon). When your most talented player plays like that, it rubs off on everyone."
The Division I district tournament draw is Sunday, Feb. 9, with first-round games starting Feb. 21.
Girls basketball team secures winning season
The girls basketball team secured its first winning season in five years when it defeated visiting Orange 46-23 in an OCC-Capital game Jan. 31.
Delaware, which lost to Mount Vernon 59-43 in an OCC-Capital game Feb. 4, was 12-8 overall and 7-5 in the league before playing Franklin Heights on Feb. 7. Entering play Feb. 7, the Pacers were tied with New Albany for third in the league behind Mount Vernon (12-0) and Olentangy (11-1).
Delaware's previous winning season was 2008-09, when the Pacers went 22-1.
The Pacers will close the regular season Monday, Feb. 10, at New Albany. The Eagles won the first matchup 57-42 on Dec. 10.
Delaware then will turn its attention to the Division I district tournament. The Pacers are seeded 20th of 47 teams and have a first-round bye. They will play 15th-seeded DeSales or 24th-seeded Kilbourne in the second round Feb. 20 at the home of the higher seed.
Kristen McMillen had 15 points against Mount Vernon, with Maranda Merriman and Julie Bauer scoring nine and eight, respectively. Against Orange, McMillen and Abbie Gore both had 11 points and Katie Ellis scored 10.
Wrestlers win OCC title, prepare for sectional
The wrestling team will spend this week preparing for the 11-team Division I sectional tournament Saturday, Feb. 15, at Watkins Memorial.
Delaware, which competed in the Division I state team tournament Feb. 8 at Ohio State's St. John Arena, won its first league championship by beating New Albany 81-0 on Jan. 30 and Worthington Kilbourne 60-15 on Feb. 6 to win the OCC-Capital title.
Seeded third in the district, Delaware is the highest seed in the Watkins Memorial sectional. The Pacers will be joined at the sectional site by the host Warriors, Canal Winchester, Dresden Tri-Valley, Dublin Scioto, Lancaster, Licking Heights, Pickerington North, Reynoldsburg, St. Charles and Zanesville.
The top four placers in each weight class advance to district Feb. 21 and 22 at Hilliard Darby.
Delaware's lineup for sectional is expected to consist of Tommy Detunno (106 pounds), Max Wright (113), Ryan Craun (120), Greg Brusco (126), Garrett Young (132), Brandyn Dydek (138), Raezel Garrett (145), Nick Beyer (152), Raymond Simpson (160), Chris Martinez (170), Shawn Johnson (182), Colton Richard (195), Andrew Sierawski (220) and Derek Louck (heavyweight).
Brusco (113) and Johnson (195) were state qualifiers last season, with Brusco placing fourth at 113. Beyer (152), Garrett (145), Martinez (170), Richard (220), Sierawski (182) and Simpson (160) were district qualifiers a year ago.
Postseason underway for swimming teams
The boys and girls swimming teams competed in the Division I sectional Feb. 8 at Thomas Worthington.
The winner of each sectional swimming event automatically qualified for the district meet, which is being held Friday, Feb. 14, and Saturday, Feb. 15, at Ohio State. In addition, 27 at-large district berths were awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites. Divers did not compete at sectional.
At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event, the top four finishers in boys diving and the top six finishers in girls diving advance to state Feb. 20-22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each swimming event based on district times.
Bowlers preparing for sectional tourney
The bowling teams completed the regular season Feb. 7 against Big Walnut in an OCC-Cardinal match.
Entering the match against Big Walnut, the girls team was 8-6 overall and 3-1 in the six-team OCC-Cardinal and the boys team was 6-8 overall and 2-2 in the league.
Through 14 matches, Alicia Halstead led the girls team with a 164.2 game average, followed by Katie Fleming (157.7), Anna Williams (157.5), Kayla Bowmar (149.1) and Taylor Schurr (145.6).
Jordan Lanham (202.9) led the boys team through 14 matches, followed by Dakota Brugler (168.2), Noah Bowmar (166.5), Ben Aweniowicz (164.0), Patrick Woller (162.0) and Lane Price (159.8).
Both teams will compete in the Division I sectional tournament Feb. 21 at Eastland Lanes.