After the Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball team lost to Olentangy Orange 68-53 on Jan. 15 in an OCC-Capital Division game, first-year coach Jordan Blackburn was so upset with the Pacers' help defense that he turned the usual Saturday morning walk-through into a 90-minute practice less than 12 hours later.

After the Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball team lost to Olentangy Orange 68-53 on Jan. 15 in an OCC-Capital Division game, first-year coach Jordan Blackburn was so upset with the Pacers' help defense that he turned the usual Saturday morning walk-through into a 90-minute practice less than 12 hours later.

The extra work and attention to detail that morning must have been spectacular as the Pacers returned later that night to defeat Marion Pleasant 53-19 in their final non-league game of the regular season.

That is the fewest points allowed in a game by the Pacers.

"The previous record (according to previous coach Larry Eberst) was 23 points against Watkins Memorial in the 1980s," Blackburn said. "Plus, that was a Pleasant team that beat Olentangy 81-69 (on Dec. 5).

"We just looked like a totally different team than we did against Orange."

Delaware was 7-5 overall and 4-2 in the league before playing Franklin Heights last Friday and New Albany last Saturday in a makeup from Jan. 8. Delaware plays home games Tuesday against Mount Vernon and Friday against Watkins Memorial.

The Pacers lost to Mount Vernon 50-38 on Dec. 11 and ripped Watkins Memorial 88-44 on Dec. 18. Entering play last Friday the Yellow Jackets were 9-1 overall and second in the league at 6-1 behind Orange, which was 7-0. The Warriors were 0-11 overall and 0-7 in league play.

Delaware was tied with New Albany for third in the league standings at 4-2. Big Walnut was 3-4, followed by Hilliard Bradley at 2-5, Franklin Heights at 1-6 and Watkins Memorial.

The Pacers outrebounded Orange 33-24 and shot well (21-for-45, 46.7 percent), but the Pioneers shot even better (26-for-51, 51 percent) and outscored Delaware 21-9 from 3-point range.

Blackburn said he noted six or seven baskets that could have been prevented, or shots altered, if the help-side defense had been better.

"That obviously would have made things pretty tight down the stretch," he said.

Against Pleasant, which entered the game at 5-4, the Pacers led 12-2 after one quarter, 28-10 at halftime and 37-14 entering the last quarter.

Delaware's defense not only did the job in the half court, limiting the Spartans to 25.8 percent shooting (8-for-31), but also in the backcourt as it forced 20 turnovers with its pressure.

"With our length and athleticism, we should be playing great defense," Blackburn said. "When we do that, it should make it hard for the other team to shoot the ball."

•The girls team lost its fifth consecutive game last Tuesday, falling to visiting Olentangy 54-47 in its final non-league game of the regular season.

The Pacers were 5-8 overall and 3-4 in the OCC-Capital before playing Franklin Heights last Friday and New Albany last Saturday in a game postponed from Jan. 8 because of bad weather.

Delaware plays Wednesday at Mount Vernon and Friday at Watkins Memorial. The Pacers beat both teams in the first round of league play, topping the Yellow Jackets 62-47 on Dec. 12 and the Warriors 63-26 on Dec. 19.

"We've talked a lot about good habits and bad habits and to not let the bad habits and losing be OK with them," coach Erin Margraf said. "We're continuing our goal of striving to get better every day.

Margraf said the offense has improved, as has the man-to-man defense and breaking the press. However, she said a different problem has arisen in each loss.

"One time it's just bad shooting, the next time it's defensive breakdowns and the next time we're throwing the ball away against pressure or our free-throw shooting is awful," Margraf said. "We just haven't been able to put things together, where we're improved in one area without facing a setback in another area."