With four returning starters, the Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball team is looking to produce a better season this winter.

A year after finishing 10-13 overall for their third consecutive losing season, the Pacers may have the potential to contend for a league championship as well.

"The guys have some lofty goals and if we are going to accomplish some of those, we will need to be the most together and cohesive team around," said 10th-year coach Jordan Blackburn, who entered the season with a 125-81 record with the Pacers. "We've got a lot of experience and talent back and we're a very good passing team."

Leading the returnees are 6-foot-5 senior forward Terin Kinsway and 6-0 junior guard Nate Griggs.

Last season, Kinsway averaged 16.4 points and 9.6 rebounds and was named first-team all-OCC-Cardinal Division, second-team all-district and honorable mention all-state.

"Terin is a scrappy fourth-year starter who is very strong and competes very hard," Blackburn said. "He's a very confident player who also is very humble and well respected. He has the ability to go around big defenders and post up smaller defenders."

Griggs is a third-year starter at point guard who averaged 14.1 points and 3.1 assists and was named second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district last season. Also last year, he set the school record for 3-point accuracy in a season (50.7 percent, 34-for-67), a mark that was best in the Central District.

"Nate is one of the best shooters I have ever coached," Blackburn said. "I expect Nate and Terin to really have outstanding seasons."

The other returning starters are 6-6 junior forward Paul Burris and 6-2 senior forward Jwan Lyles. Burris averaged 6.1 points and 3.8 rebounds last season and put in a lot of work in the offseason, according to Blackburn.

"Paul is a third-year starter and is a Division I (college) recruit," Blackburn said. "He worked at his game and he's only going to get better."

Also returning are 6-1 senior forward Jack Weller, 6-0 junior guard Addison Harvey and 5-10 sophomore guard Ryan Smudz.

Harvey is a two-year letterwinner who was expected to be in the starting lineup when the Pacers opened Nov. 30 at Buckeye Valley. Weller is a three-year letterwinner and Smudz started eight games as a freshman last year.

"Addison was one of our best defenders last year and Jack does a lot of things that help the team that some people don't see," Blackburn said. "He's a solid screener and does a lot of the dirty work."

The Pacers, who went 5-7 in the OCC-Cardinal last season, open league play Friday, Dec. 7, at home against defending champion Hilliard Bradley.

Girls basketball team seeks improvement

As the lone senior on the girls basketball team, Piper Adkins, a 5-8 guard, is expected to carry the leadership mantle as the young Pacers look to improve on last season when they finished 8-15 overall and 1-11 in the OCC-Cardinal.

"Piper provides leadership and experience and also will be expected to provide some scoring punch as she moves from point guard to the wing this season," second-year coach Lou Tiberi said. "She is a three-year letterwinner and we'll need her leadership if we want to continue to improve and mature as a program and become more competitive in the OCC. Fourteen of the 20 girls in the program are freshmen or sophomores."

The Pacers opened with back-to-back wins, beating host Centennial 70-41 on Nov. 24 and host Central Crossing 58-29 on Nov. 27. They played their home opener Nov. 30 against Hamilton Township and will begin league play Tuesday, Dec. 4, at home against first-year Olentangy Berlin.

Other returnees are junior Katie Smith (5-7, guard) and sophomores Alexis Amabile (5-8, guard), Alyssa Griner (5-10, forward), Jordan Lantz (6-3, post player) and Karli Theis (5-2, guard).

Last season, Lantz averaged 10.5 points and 8.1 rebounds and was named special mention all-league but missed the final eight games with an injury. Amabile averaged 9.1 points and was honorable mention all-league.

"Katie will be a 3-point threat and has the experience and athletic ability to be a quality perimeter defender," Tiberi said. "Alexis Amabile and Jordan Lantz will provide balanced inside and outside scoring.

"Those six, along with freshman Chloe Jeffers (5-8, guard), will play the bulk of the minutes this season. So we're going to be about seven deep and continue to develop the rest of our younger players."

Completing the roster are juniors Nadine Hassan (5-6, guard), Abby Stephens (5-6, forward) and Kayla Thompson (5-3, guard) and sophomore Telijah McCollum (5-7, guard).

Against Centennial, Amabile had 23 points, Griner and Jeffers both scored 10 and Lantz and Theis both scored seven. Amabile had 22 points against Central Crossing, with Griner scoring 10, Lantz scoring nine and Theis scoring eight.

"It's important that we stay healthy and continue to improve and mature as a team," Tiberi said.

Athletes announce college decisions

Piper was one of four student-athletes who recently announced their college decisions.

Piper will play women's lacrosse at Wingate, Chloe Barton will play softball for Northwestern Ohio, Valerie Keller will compete in women's crew at Ohio State and Morgan Miller will play women's lacrosse at Walsh.

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

BOYS BASKETBALL

Nov. 30 -- at Buckeye Valley

*Dec. 7 -- vs. Hilliard Darby

*Dec. 14 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

*Dec. 17 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

*Dec. 21 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne

Dec. 27-29 -- KSA Events Holiday Tournament in Orlando, Fla.

*Jan. 4 -- at Hilliard Bradley

*Jan. 8 -- at Dublin Jerome

*Jan. 11 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin

Jan. 15 -- vs. Marysville

*Jan. 18 -- vs. Hilliard Darby

*Jan. 22 -- at Thomas Worthington

*Jan. 25 -- at Dublin Scioto

Jan. 29 -- vs. Mount Vernon

*Feb. 1 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley

*Feb. 5 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

*Feb. 8 -- vs. Dublin Jerome

Feb. 12 -- vs. Licking Heights

*Feb. 15 -- at Olentangy Berlin

Feb. 16 -- vs. Marion Harding

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Nov. 24 -- at Centennial

Nov. 27 -- at Central Crossing

Nov. 30 -- vs. Hamilton Township

*Dec. 4 -- vs. Olentangy Berlin

*Dec. 7 -- vs. Hilliard Darby

Dec. 11 -- at Olentangy

*Dec. 14 -- at Dublin Scioto

*Dec. 17 -- at Thomas Worthington

*Dec. 21 -- at Worthington Kilbourne

Dec. 28 -- vs. Buckeye Valley

*Jan. 4 -- vs. Hilliard Bradley

*Jan. 8 -- vs. Dublin Jerome

*Jan. 11 -- at Olentangy Berlin

Jan. 15 -- at Grove City

*Jan. 18 -- at Hilliard Darby

*Jan. 22 -- vs. Thomas Worthington

*Jan. 25 -- vs. Dublin Scioto

Jan. 30 -- at Mount Gilead

*Feb. 1 -- at Hilliard Bradley

*Feb. 5 -- vs. Worthington Kilbourne

*Feb. 8 -- at Dublin Jerome

Feb. 13 -- vs. Licking Heights

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Delaware Hayes bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:

BOWLING

*Dec. 6 -- Big Walnut at Colony Lanes

SWIMMING & DIVING

Dec. 3 -- Whetstone at Columbus Aquatics Center

Dec. 7 -- Columbus Academy Relays

Dec. 8 -- Ned Reeb Memorial Invitational at Ohio State

WRESTLING

Dec. 7 -- Home vs. Mount Vernon and Watkins Memorial

*League contest