The Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball team earned a share of the OCC-Capital Division championship in dramatic fashion Feb. 15, beating New Albany 38-37 as Khalil Iverson rebounded his missed free throw and scored as time expired.
"I thought it was fitting Khalil got the game-winner because he grew up this year," coach Jordan Blackburn said. "He started playing for his teammates and doing what was best for the team. ... He is a great kid and a quality teammate and he competes.
"The title is important because it confirms to the kids that all of the offseason expectations we have are for a reason and they can see the validation of their hard work."
Delaware, which last won a league championship in 2003-04, finished 11-3 in the OCC-Capital to share the title with New Albany, which had beaten the Pacers 57-40 on Dec. 10. Worthington Kilbourne (10-4) placed third, followed by Franklin Heights (7-7), Olentangy (5-9), Mount Vernon (5-9), Big Walnut (4-10) and Olentangy Orange (3-11).
"The OCC title was for our community and our school," Blackburn said. "My boys are proud of it because it represents our city in a positive way."
Iverson led the way against New Albany with 13 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and five blocked shots. Gaige Linville had nine points and Tyler Treese scored seven.
Delaware, which won its final 12 regular-season games and was 19-3 entering the postseason, and New Albany could meet again in the second round of the Division I district tournament Friday, Feb. 28.
Delaware is seeded 10th of 45 teams and played 22nd-seeded Dublin Jerome in the first round Feb. 22, and New Albany is seeded 18th and had a first-round bye. The second-round winner advances to a district semifinal March 5 at Orange.
Girls swimmers place third at district
Brooke Glesenkamp became the first freshman for the girls swimming and diving team to qualify for the state meet in two individual events and senior Brittany Puthoff became the program's first four-time state qualifier in an individual event.
Those were among the highlights for the Pacers in the Division I district meet held Feb. 14 and 15 at Ohio State.
Delaware set six program records at district en route to finishing third (174.5 points) behind Upper Arlington (522.5) and Thomas Worthington (204) as 24 teams scored, including its highest finish and its highest point total.
"'Wow' is about all I can say about their effort at district," coach Bill Rietz said. "The best we've ever done at district before was sixth place. We will compete in five events at state for the third year in a row and we were close to getting another two or three out, but the stars weren't quite lined up for that."
Glesenkamp placed second in the 50-yard freestyle (24 seconds) and fourth (52.39) in the 100 free, setting program records in both events. She earned the Pacers' only automatic state berth in the 50 free by finishing in the top two. All of their other state qualifiers earned at-large berths based on times statewide.
The state meet concluded Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
Puthoff qualified for state in the 100 breaststroke for the fourth time, finishing fifth (1:06.29) at sectional. Her best state finish was 14th in 2011.
Also advancing were the 200 free relay of Glesenkamp, Regan DeWitt, Puthoff and Samantha Curtin (1:38.64, third) and the 400 free relay of Curtin, DeWitt, Puthoff and Glesenkamp (3:33.27, third). Both times set program records.
Glesenkamp joined Puthoff (2013) and Jessica Ward (2012) as the only girls in program history to compete in four events in one state meet.
Setting program records at district but failing to advance to state were DeWitt in the 200 free (1:55.71, fifth) and Puthoff in the 200 individual medley (2:11.01, ninth).
Also scoring at district were DeWitt in the 500 free (5:12.17, fifth), Curtin in the 200 free (1:56.71, seventh) and 100 free (53.71, 11th) and Bethany Ward in the 100 backstroke (1:01.6, 11th) and 200 IM (2:15.27, 13th).
The boys team finished 15th (51) at district behind champion St. Charles (304) as 25 teams scored.
The lone state qualifier was Anthony Hinton, who advanced in the 50 free (21.44, fourth). He finished 13th in the event at state last season.
Also scoring at district but not advancing were Hinton in the 100 free (47.7, 11th), Skyler Pollock in the 500 free (4:58.21, 13th), divers Erik Richards (298.5, 10th) and Scott Chapman (241.6, 16th), the 200 free relay of Hinton, Dustin Buschman, Kai Herrera and Pollock (1:29.44, 10th) and the 400 free relay of Pollock, Mason Nicol, Herrera and Hinton (3:22.83, 14th).
"I'm very happy that Anthony (got) to return to state, but I was hoping to get one of the relays there, too," Rietz said. "Unfortunately, the 200 free relay just missed. They had the 26th-best time in the state and missed by two spots, but it was still a great meet for Hayes swimming."
Pickerington North (1:29.26) had the final at-large berth in the 200 free relay.
Wrestling team wins first sectional title
The wrestling team won its first sectional championship, scoring 248.5 points in the 11-team Division I tournament Feb. 15 at Watkins Memorial to top runner-up Pickerington North (213.5).
Delaware, which also captured its first OCC-Capital title this season, was looking for its first district championship Feb. 21 and 22 at Hilliard Darby.
The Pacers had a program-record 11 district qualifiers, including four sectional champions in Andrew Sierawski (220 pounds, 41-3 record entering district), Shawn Johnson (182, 30-10), Greg Brusco (126, 19-5) and Max Wright (113, 26-16).
The top four finishers in each weight class at district advanced to the state tournament Thursday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 1, at Ohio State.
Finishing second at sectional were Brandyn Dydek (138, 18-14), Raymond Simpson (160, 34-15), Chris Martinez (170, 36-12) and Colton Richard (195, 29-9). Nick Beyer (152, 28-13) placed third and Tommy Detunno (106, 9-17) and Derek Louck (heavyweight, 26-17) finished fourth, as the top four in each weight class advanced to district.
Beyer, Brusco, Johnson, Martinez, Richard, Sierawski and Simpson were among the Pacers' eight district qualifiers last year. Brusco went on to place fourth at state at 113 and Johnson went 1-2 at state at 195.
"I wouldn't say there were any real surprises," coach Josh Heffernan said. "We more or less wrestled to seeds and met our expectations. We expect to win.
"We were in seven (championship matches) and won four. We just ran into some very talented guys, but I was happy with the way we wrestled. The three finals we lost were very close and we had opportunities to win."
In the finals at sectional, Wright beat Teays Valley's Austin Smith 4-0, Brusco beat Pickerington North's Bradley Collins 15-5, Johnson defeated Reynoldsburg's James Love 8-4 and Sierawski beat Reynoldsburg's Raphael Turner 10-7.
The Pacers had two district alternates in Garrett Young (132, 26-19) and Ryan Craun (120, 16-23), both of whom placed fifth.
Girls basketball team falls to Stallions
The girls basketball team was outscored by 15th-seeded DeSales 18-8 in the third quarter en route to a 71-58 loss to the host Stallions in the second round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 20.
Delaware, which was seeded 20th of 47 teams and had a first-round bye, finished 14-9.
The contest was the Pacers' first since a 43-40 win over New Albany in their regular-season finale Feb. 10.
DeSales had played three days earlier, defeating 24th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 60-50 in a first-round tournament game.
Julie Bauer and Maranda Merriman both scored 16 points to lead the Pacers. Abbie Gore had 10 points and Kristen McMillen scored eight.
Gymnasts compete in district tourney
The gymnastics team competed in the district meet Feb. 22 at Kilbourne.
The top three teams advanced to the team state meet Friday, Feb. 28, at Hilliard Bradley, and the top eight finishers in each event and the all-around advanced to the individual state meet Saturday, March 1, at Bradley.
Bowlers compete in sectional tourney
The boys and girls bowling teams competed in their respective Division I sectional tournaments Feb. 21 at Eastland Lanes.
The top 20 teams and top 20 individuals not on a qualifying team in both the boys and girls sectionals advanced to district Saturday, March 1, at Eastland Lanes.
The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team in both the boys and girls districts advance to state at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The boys compete at state March 7 and the girls compete March 8.