The Delaware Hayes High School girls basketball team closed the regular season by beating Franklin Heights 61-39 on Feb. 7 and New Albany 43-40 on Feb. 10 in OCC-Capital Division contests.
The win over New Albany avenged a 57-42 loss to the Eagles on Dec. 5 and has the Pacers thinking they can make a postseason run.
"We've got five seniors who aren't ready for this season to end," said coach Peter Minardi, whose team is 14-8 overall. "We are playing well and carrying momentum into the tournament, but I wish we didn't have a nine-day layover between our final regular-season game and (our) tournament opener."
Delaware is seeded 20th of 47 teams in the Division I district tournament and has a first-round bye. The Pacers will play 15th-seeded DeSales or 24th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in the second round Thursday, Feb. 20, at the home of the higher seed.
DeSales and Kilbourne are 15-5 and 13-9, respectively, entering their first-round matchup Monday, Feb. 17.
"We don't know much about DeSales other than they're a guard-oriented team and won a tough league (CCL)," Minardi said. "I've heard they don't have much size, which means we actually might match up with them size-wise, but we'll know more after scouting (their first-round) tournament game."
Delaware swept Kilbourne in OCC-Capital play this season, winning 45-44 on Jan. 17 and 50-35 on Dec. 5. In the most recent meeting, Kristen McMillen made a jumper with 20 seconds remaining and the Pacers held on for the win as Kilbourne's Kayla Pack missed a couple of shots in the waning seconds.
Pack, who is Kilbourne's all-time leading scorer, enters the postseason with 1,000 career points and is averaging 16.1 points per game. Another key player for the Wolves is Carlie Taute, who is averaging 11.8 points.
"Pack has an unbelievably quick shot release," Minardi said. "She's a tremendous player and Carlie Taute gives them two standouts. It's difficult to beat a team three times in a season, but if they win, we get another home game. We know them and they know us.
"If DeSales wins, we play at their place and they have played some great competition, so I don't think we're going to hope to play one or the other. We just have to prepare to play our best against the winner."
The second-round winner likely will face third-seeded Newark in a district semifinal Feb. 27 at Westerville Central.
Last season, the Pacers lost to Northland 77-37 in the second round after defeating Briggs 47-28 in the first round.
"We haven't reached the district level in five years and I know the girls are talking about that and want to stop that streak," Minardi said. "We'll have to continue to play well to get there. We'll need everyone at the top of their game."
Delaware finished 9-5 in the OCC-Capital to place third, behind Mount Vernon (13-1) and Olentangy (12-2) and ahead of New Albany (8-6), Big Walnut (6-8), Kilbourne (6-8), Olentangy Orange (2-12) and Franklin Heights (0-14).
In the regular-season finale against New Albany, Abbie Gore had 16 points, Maranda Merriman scored nine and Julie Bauer scored eight.
McMillen is averaging 14.8 points, 5.0 assists and 2.4 steals. Bauer is averaging 8.6 points and 4.1 assists and Merriman is averaging 8.5 points.
Wrestling team wins OCC-Capital title
The wrestling team secured the OCC-Capital championship outright with a 60-15 win over Kilbourne on Feb. 6.
The Pacers went 7-0 in league duals to win their first OCC championship. Orange (6-1) placed second, followed by Mount Vernon (5-2), Olentangy (4-3), Kilbourne (3-4), Big Walnut (2-5), New Albany (1-6) and Franklin Heights (0-7).
"I am so proud of this group of young men and their hard work to earn that first-ever OCC title," coach Josh Heffernan said. "It truly was a team effort. So many different individuals stepped up in dual competition to earn that title. It has already been a year to remember, but we cannot stop to soak it up."
Delaware competed in a Division I sectional tournament Feb. 15 at Watkins Memorial.
The top four placers in each weight class advanced to the district tournament, which will be held Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22, at Hilliard Darby.
Last season, the Pacers had a program-record eight district qualifiers, including two state qualifiers in Greg Brusco and Shawn Johnson. Brusco placed fourth at state last season at 113 pounds and is competing at 126 this year. Johnson competed at 195 in the postseason a year ago and is competing at 182 this season.
Also looking to return to district were Raezel Garrett (145), Nick Beyer (152), Raymond Simpson (160), Chris Martinez (170), Colton Richard (195) and Andrew Sierawski (220).
The top four placers in each weight class at district advance to the state tournament Feb. 27-March 1 at Ohio State.
The Pacers competed in the Division I state team tournament Feb. 8 at Ohio State's St. John Arena, losing to Massillon Perry 54-9 in a quarterfinal. Perry went on to win the state title, defeating Lakewood St. Edward 48-15 in a semifinal and Brecksville-Broadview Heights 38-9 in the final.
"We wrestled (Perry) as tough as anyone there," Heffernan said. "They dominated all day. Although we're not ever happy with a loss, we were happy for the competition. ... Our guys loved it and plan on returning next year. It was a great conclusion to the dual meet portion of our season. Our guys have seen the best the state has to offer. They are battle tested."
Winning matches against Perry were Johnson (182), Richard (195) and Sierawski (220).
Postseason underway for swimming teams
Six members of the girls swimming and diving team competed in two individual events apiece in the Division I district meet Feb. 15 at Ohio State after qualifying from the sectional Feb. 8 at Thomas Worthington.
Regan DeWitt, Brittany Puthoff and Brooke Glesenkamp led the Pacers, who finished second (209 points) behind Thomas (214) in the 13-team sectional.
DeWitt won sectional titles in both the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 59.7 seconds) and 500 free (5:22.68) to automatically advance to district. The other members of the girls team who reached district earned at-large berths.
Puthoff was runner-up in both the 200 individual medley (2:15.45) and 100 breaststroke (1:08.54) and Glesenkamp placed second in both the 50 free (24.95) and 100 free (54.4).
Also advancing in two individual events were Samantha Curtin in the 200 free (second, 2:00.23) and 100 free (sixth, 55.91), Bethany Ward in the 100 backstroke (sixth, 1:03.35) and 200 IM (seventh, 2:25.56) and Hannah Weller in the 500 free (fourth, 5:38.13) and 200 free (eighth, 2:08.6).
All three relays for the girls team also advanced, with Curtin, DeWitt, Puthoff and Glesenkamp combining to place second in the 400 free relay (3:41.46) and third in the 200 free relay (1:42.02). The 200 medley relay of Kristen Puthoff, Marisa Sulek, Ward and Enya Granados was eighth (2:00.64).
The boys team placed fifth (143) in the 11-team sectional, behind champion New Albany (211).
Anthony Hinton, Skyler Pollock and Mason Nicol all qualified for district in two individual events.
Hinton won the 100 free (48.91) and Pollock won the 500 free (5:00.88) to secure automatic district berths.
Receiving at-large berths were Hinton in the 50 free (second, 21.96), Pollock in the 200 IM (sixth, 1:53), Nicol in the 500 free (fourth, 5:13.76) and 200 IM (seventh, 1:55.85) and Remington Curtin in the 100 butterfly (fifth, 57.29).
Also receiving at-large district berths for the boys team were the 200 free relay of Hinton, Kai Herrera, Dustin Buschman and Pollock (third, 1:32.32) and the 400 free relay of Pollock, Nicol, Curtin and Herrera (fourth, 3:33.61).
At district, the top two placers in each swimming event automatically advanced to the state meet, which will be held Thursday, Feb. 20, through Saturday, Feb. 22, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths were awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
The top three finishers in boys diving and the top four finishers in girls diving also advanced to state.
Gymnasts getting ready for district
The gymnastics team is preparing to compete in the district meet Saturday, Feb. 22, at Kilbourne.
The top three teams at district advance to the team state meet Feb. 28 at Hilliard Bradley and the top eight finishers in each event and the all-around qualify for the individual state meet March 1 at Bradley.
Delaware scored 120.25 points in the six-team OCC-Central meet Feb. 8 at Hilliard Darby to finish fourth behind Kilbourne (141.975), Olentangy Liberty (132.55) and Hilliard Davidson (122.95) and ahead of Westland (110.875) and Dublin Scioto (115.5).
The Pacers went 2-3 in OCC-Central dual meets and finished fourth in the overall league standings with 12 points, behind Kilbourne (24, 5-0), Liberty (20, 4-1) and Davidson (16, 3-2) and ahead of Scioto (8, 1-4) and Westland (4, 0-5).
Boys basketball team preparing for tourney
The boys basketball team is seeded 10th in the Division I district tournament and will play host to 22nd-seeded Dublin Jerome in the first round Saturday, Feb. 22.
The winner will play 18th-seeded New Albany in the second round Feb. 28 at the home of the higher seed.
Delaware was 17-3 overall and 9-3 in the OCC-Capital before playing Olentangy on Feb. 14 and New Albany on Feb. 15 to conclude the regular season.
The Pacers rode a 10-game winning streak into the matchup with Olentangy. The streak included league victories over Franklin Heights (52-38 on Feb. 7) and Marysville (66-60 on Feb. 11). The win over Franklin Heights avenged a 48-42 loss to the Falcons on Jan. 8.
Khalil Iverson and Phil Frentsos both scored 15 points to lead the Pacers in the rematch with Franklin Heights, and Iverson had 17 points and Tyler Treese and Frentsos added 16 and 15 points, respectively, against Marysville.
Bowlers preparing for sectional tourney
The bowling teams will compete in the Division I sectional tournament Friday, Feb. 21, at Eastland Lanes.
The top 20 teams and the top 20 individuals not on a qualifying team in both the boys and girls sectionals advance to the district tournament March 1 at Eastland Lanes.