Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball coach Jordan Blackburn is happy with his team's growth thus far this season.
The Pacers were 3-4 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Cardinal Division before playing Worthington Kilbourne on Dec. 22.
"We are getting better every day," Blackburn said. "It's been fun to watch the progress. When we gave up 70 point per game in our first two games, it was alarming. The kids have done a nice job of paying more attention to detail on the little things on defense over the past two weeks."
Delaware opened with a 68-65 loss to Independence on Dec. 1 and lost to Grove City 72-59 the following day. Over the next five contests, the Pacers allowed an average of 44.4 points per game.
"I think we can beat anyone on our schedule on any given night if we play the right way," Blackburn said. "Playing three sophomores and a freshman quite a bit, I'm not sure how many teams could do it. Sophomores Nate Griggs, Addison Harvey and Paul Burris and freshman Ryan Smudz all have started games and they all play a good amount."
Griggs scored a career-high 28 points in a 46-44 win over host Thomas Worthington on Dec. 19. He made two free throws to give the Pacers a 43-42 lead with 1 minute, 17 seconds remaining. After the Cardinals tied the game at 44, Delaware was holding the ball for a final shot when Griggs was fouled with 10.7 seconds left and made two more free throws.
Smudz and Tracey Sumner then forced a Thomas turnover at midcourt to end the game.
Terin Kinsway added 12 points and 14 rebounds against the Cardinals and was averaging 16.7 points through seven games. Griggs was averaging 16.3 points.
"Terin and Nate have stepped up and are leading by example on the floor," Blackburn said. "I also think Tracey Sumner's vocal leadership and effort have been phenomenal. The toughness and team-first attitude of guys like Tracey and Jackson Weller have stood out. We have others who are more talented, but (Sumner and Weller) have earned their minutes through hard work."
According to Blackburn, the Pacers, who lost to Dublin Scioto 46-38 on Dec. 15, are looking to become more versatile as the season progresses.
"We have a team we can put in the game right now that can get stops and we have a team we can put in the game that can score," Blackburn said. "We have several guys who are on one of the two teams, but not both."
Kinsway had 17 points against Scioto and Griggs scored 12.
Wrestling team wins Delaware Duals
The wrestling team will compete in the Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament on Wednesday, Dec. 27 and Thursday, Dec. 28, at Wright State University.
The Pacers were 5-0 in duals before an OCC-Cardinal match against Scioto on Dec. 21.
Delaware defeated Dublin Jerome 45-22 in its league opener Dec. 14 and then went 4-0 in the Delaware Duals on Dec. 16, beating Hilliard Davidson 46-30 to win the championship match after defeating Galion Northmor 36-35, Amanda-Clearcreek 53-27 and Big Walnut 52-18 in the first three rounds of the eight-team event.
Tamas Eder (106 pounds), Jacob McCloskey (182) and Zane Hypes (195) all went 4-0 in the Delaware Duals.
Before facing Scioto, Hypes was 9-0 on the season and Zach Williams (138) was 8-1.
"Zane was a district alternate last year (at 126), but not half the wrestler he is now," coach Josh Heffernan said. "After a disappointing sectional loss, he vowed to outwork everyone, and he's done just that. He wrestled in nearly 100 offseason matches and never missed a training opportunity.
"Zach is a two-time state qualifier with his eyes focused on a state medal this year. He is an experienced wrestler who is capable of scoring big points quickly. He has become much more detail-oriented and focused on doing the little things right in terms of preparation. He's been meticulous with his weight and nutrition, he worked on gaining strength, he fine-tuned some of his technical weaknesses, and he's brought a much-improved training attitude."
McCloskey was 7-2 and Mason Sutander was 6-3 at 170 entering the match against Scioto.
"Jacob has been a nice surprise," Heffernan said. "He is an outstanding student who has always done the right thing in terms of training. He practices intensely every day. It's great to see his confidence grow with each match.
"Mason is explosive, athletic and technically sound. He's extremely talented and poised to put himself on the state map this season."
Girls basketball team struggling in OCC play
The girls basketball team entered its home contest against Worthington Kilbourne on Dec. 22 looking to snap a 27-game league losing streak.
The Pacers were 3-3 overall and 0-3 in the OCC-Cardinal before playing the Wolves.
Delaware finished 0-12 in its first season in the OCC-Cardinal a year ago after going 0-12 in the OCC-Capital in 2015-16. The Pacers' last league win came against Franklin Heights, 48-25 on Feb. 5, 2015.
Delaware missed an opportunity to end the streak against visiting Thomas Worthington on Dec. 19. The Pacers trailed just 34-31 at the end of the third quarter, but the Cardinals, who shared the OCC-Cardinal title with Hilliard Bradley last season, pulled away in the fourth for a 56-42 victory.
Alexis Amabile scored 16 points and Jordan Lantz added 11 against the Cardinals.
The Pacers defeated host Whetstone 40-31 on Dec. 16.
Diehl steps down as boys soccer coach
Josh Diehl has stepped down after four seasons as boys soccer coach to take the same position at Olentangy Berlin.
Berlin opens next fall.
"(Diehl) teaches in the Olentangy school district and this is a great opportunity for him to be able to teach and coach in the same district and for him to start a program from scratch," athletics director Steve Glesenkamp said. "I know he will do a great job for them."
Diehl compiled a 28-28-15 record with the Pacers, including an 8-5-4 mark this fall.
"He is a very solid coach and individual and we'll miss him," Glesenkamp said. "He really cares for the kids and their development as young men. It wasn't all about Xs and Os or Ws and Ls with him. He stands for much more than that and is just a high-character person."
Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes boys basketball, girls basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Dec. 27 -- Home vs. Dresden Tri-Valley
Dec. 30 -- At Mount Vernon
Dec. 28 -- Home vs. Groveport
Dec. 30 -- At Franklin Heights
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 28 -- Hilliard Bradley and Hilliard Davidson at Ohio Wesleyan
Dec. 27-28 -- Greater Miami Valley Wrestling Association Holiday Tournament at Wright State