The Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball team used to struggle when playing postseason games in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

The Delaware Hayes High School boys basketball team used to struggle when playing postseason games in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Now, the Pacers want to play there.

That will be the team's first goal when it begins Division I district tournament play against Dublin Jerome at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23, at Jonathan Alder.

Delaware was seeded 14th and coach Jordan Blackburn chose to enter the same bracket as second-seeded Northland, although the teams wouldn't meet until a district semifinal at the Fairgrounds.

"We chose that spot because we felt it gives us the best opportunity to get to the Coliseum and make a run at a district title," Blackburn said. "If we play with the sense of urgency and the level of intellect we have exhibited lately, that's exactly where we will be headed. Once you get to the Coliseum, everyone has a shot and anything can happen."

The Pacers have not returned to the Fairgrounds Coliseum since the first two rounds of the tournament were jettisoned to different sites after the 2006 season. Delaware's last win there was in 2003, when it won twice before losing to top-seeded Brookhaven 65-44 in a semifinal. The Pacers are only 4-10 in the tournament in the past 10 years.

Delaware won one game last season before falling to eighth-seeded Marion-Franklin 50-46. Included in the string of tournament losses were three consecutive first-round defeats, each by two points, from 2005-07.

To reach the Fairgrounds, the Pacers must beat Jerome and either Olentangy Liberty or Hilliard Darby in the second round at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at Jonathan Alder.

Jerome, which was 7-12 overall before Feb. 18, is coached by former Pacers assistant Dave Hale. The Celtics are led in scoring average by junior guards Cam Wilson (11.3 points per game) and Nick Neale (10.9) and senior forward Ben Nesdore (8.5).

"Jerome is a strong, physical team that relies on defensive pressure and offensive rebounding to score a good majority of their points," Blackburn said. "Dave Hale is a good friend and he knows our system and our players very well. Both teams will run similar offenses and defenses."

Delaware played Liberty but not Darby this season. The Pacers lost to the host Patriots 41-40 in the Larry Eberst Classic on Dec. 29. Liberty, which was 13-6 before Feb. 18, is led in scoring by senior guard Andy Yazrombek (12.6), 6-foot-8 junior center Nick Archer (11.7) and junior guard Jake Bischoff (11.3).

Darby, which was 6-12 before Feb. 18, is led in scoring by senior guard Brennan Hook (12.2), junior guard Bryson Hook (6.4) and senior point guard Matt Allen (5.5).

Delaware was 13-6 overall and 10-3 in the OCC-Capital Division before closing the regular season Feb. 18 against Olentangy Orange. The Pacers handed New Albany a 57-50 loss in overtime on Feb. 11. In the extra period, Delaware outscored the Eagles 17-10 to give them their first league loss.

Matt Bingaya supplied 18 points and 16 rebounds and Zach Parsons had 17 points with five 3-pointers. Mike Wells had 15 points and seven assists.

"New Albany embarrassed us on our home floor (55-34 loss on Jan. 7) and our kids wanted to come out and prove to (everyone) that we are a much-improved team and that we can beat anyone," Blackburn said. "Beating one of the top teams in central Ohio and our conference champions at their place on their senior night was our best win this season."

•The season ended Feb. 16 for the girls basketball team, which lost to Westerville North 67-46 in the first round of the Division I district tournament to finish 10-10.

The Pacers overcame a slow start to trail 24-20 at halftime and seemed to have momentum after finishing the half with a 9-2 run.

However, Westerville North used three consecutive 3-pointers and forced several turnovers with a full-court press to fuel a 17-2 surge that pushed its lead to 41-22 in the third quarter.

After the Pacers beat the press for consecutive layups to make it 41-26, the Warriors scored the next 11 points. Delaware was outscored 28-8 in the third quarter.

"We missed several (close shots) in the first half, blew defensive assignments, made unforced turnovers and allowed too many offensive rebounds, and we still trailed by just four points," coach Erin Margraf said. "So we were excited at halftime. We knew we would shoot better, because we shot about as poor as we have all season in the first half. We just needed to improve on turnovers and defensive rebounding and continue to play good defense.

"But (Westerville North) just flustered us and we were making quick turnovers and they were converting. They made two 3-pointers in the first half, but made their first three tries in the second half. They hit us so fast, we just got deflated. We never stopped playing hard, but it was just devastating mentally."

North, which outscored Delaware 24-0 from 3-point range, opened the game with a 10-2 run and led 22-11 midway through the second quarter before the Pacers rallied. Senior Caroline Welker led the Pacers with 16 points and senior Cindy Bowman added 10.

Bri Clegg and Monique Jones both scored 15 points and Caitlin Kusan added 13 for the Warriors, who improved to 15-6.

•The girls and boys swimming and diving teams competed in the Division I district meet Feb. 18-19 at Ohio State after strong efforts in the sectional Feb. 12 at Thomas Worthington.

The girls team finished fourth (142 points) of 14 teams, behind champion Thomas (194), Olentangy Liberty (173) and New Albany (148).

The Pacers were led by Brittany Puthoff, who lowered her school record in the 100-yard breaststroke to 1 minute, 7.14 seconds to win the title. She also used her specialty stroke to help the 200 medley relay team win in 1:51.43. She was joined in the relay by Jessica Ward, Lindsey Norris and Regan DeWitt.

The top three finishers in each event and top four divers earned automatic bids to the state meet at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 11 at-large berths were awarded per swimming event based on times statewide. The Division I state preliminaries are Friday, Feb. 25. The finals, as well as boys diving, will be Saturday, Feb. 26. Delaware has no girls divers.

For the Pacers, seven girls advanced to district in six individual events, and they comprised all three qualifying relays. Ward, Puthoff, DeWitt and Abby Kremer were competing in the maximum four events at district, with Norris competing in three. Abby Hoovler and Susan Thomson were competing in two events apiece.

Ward (fourth, 1:00.03), Norris (fifth, 1:01.29) and Kremer (14th, 1:05.43) advanced from sectional in the 100 butterfly, with Ward (fourth, 1:01.79), DeWitt (ninth, 1:03.38) and Norris (12th, 1:05.23) advancing in the 100 backstroke. DeWitt (fifth, 2:20.82) and Hoovler (12th, 2:26.95) moved on in the 200 individual medley.

In addition, Kremer was seventh (2:06.22) in the 200 freestyle and Thomson was 12th (26.52) in the 50 free. The 400 free relay of Ward, Kremer, DeWitt and Puthoff was fifth (3:47.56), and the 200 free relay of Hoovler, Thomson, Kremer and Puthoff was sixth (1:46.10).

"We are thrilled by the number of individual qualifiers and I think it's impressive to qualify three swimmers in three events, with the girls doing that in the 100 fly and 100 back and the boys doing it in the 100 back," coach Bill Rietz said. "On the girls side, there are only two swimming events where we don't have a representative - the 100 free and 500 free."

The boys team finished 11th (39) of 12 teams in the sectional at Thomas, as New Albany (238) won.

All three relays advanced to district, led by the sixth-place 200 medley relay (1:49.66) of Joe Kinney, Hyeon Bae, Cameron Hackett and Joel Simpson.

Individually, Thomas Lenhart was ninth (1:01.39) in the 100 back, an event in which Hackett (10th, 1:02.12) and Kinney (14th, 1:04.96) also advanced. Nate Planisek was 11th (1:55.20) in the 200 free and Hackett was 11th (58.70) in the 100 fly.

The 200 free relay of Spencer Deighton, Planisek, Sam Thomson and Anthony Sanfillipo was 10th (1:40.64), and the 400 free relay of Hackett, Sanfillipo, Simpson and Tyler Kelly was 11th (3:37.81).

Eric Berry was competing in diving at district. There was no sectional diving.


Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Hayes girls basketball, bowling, gymnastics, swimming & diving and wrestling teams, as well as the Delaware club hockey team:


*Feb. 11 - Lost to New Albany 54-41 in regular-season finale. Caroline Welker had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Corsica Barber had 10 points and seven rebounds and Cindy Bowman added nine points and four assists.

Feb. 16 - Lost to Westerville North 67-46 in first round of Division I district tournament

Of note: The Pacers finished 10-10 overall and 6-8 in the OCC-Capital.

*OCC-Capital game


Feb. 18 - Competed in Division I sectional at Eastland Lanes. The top six boys and girls teams and top six boys and girls individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to the district tournament Saturday, Feb. 26, at HP Lanes. Top three boys and girls teams and top three boys and girls individuals at district advance to state March 4-5 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.


Feb. 12 - Finished third (121.6) in OCC-Central meet at Worthington Kilbourne, behind champion Kilbourne (134.975) and Olentangy Liberty (128.775), and ahead of Dublin Scioto (109.625), Hilliard Davidson (108.125) and Westland (70.5). Alex Kern was sixth in the all-around (32.075), Kristin Yannacey was seventh (32.050) and Kelsey Clark was 13th (27.8). Yannacey was second on floor (9.0), sixth on vault (8.250) and sixth on bars (7.850), Kern was fourth on bars (8.075), tied for eighth on floor (8.3), tied for ninth on vault (8.050) and tied for ninth on beam (7.650), and Jennifer Foreman was sixth on floor (8.425).

Feb. 26 - District tournament at Kilbourne. Top three teams advance to state team tournament March 4 at Hilliard Bradley. Top eight individuals in each event advance to state tournament March 5 at Bradley.

Of note: The Pacers finished third in the OCC-Central at 3-2, behind Kilbourne (5-0) and Liberty (4-1), and ahead of Davidson (2-3), Scioto (1-4) and Westland (0-5).


Feb. 12 - Boys: Finished 11th (39) of 12 teams in Division I sectional at Thomas Worthington behind champion New Albany (238). Girls: Finished fourth (142) of 14 teams in sectional at Thomas, behind champion Thomas (194).

Feb. 18-19 - Competed in district meet at Ohio State. The top three finishers in each swimming event and top four divers advanced to the state meet Feb. 24-26 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. Additionally, 11 at-large berths per event were awarded statewide based on times.


Feb. 11 - Lost to Medina 46-34

Feb. 19 - Competed in Division I sectional at Marysville. Top four in each weight class advanced to district Feb. 25-26 at Hilliard Darby. The top four in each weight class advance to state March 3-5 at Ohio State.


*Feb. 11 - Lost to PRPC 5-0

*Feb. 13 - Lost to Northeast 7-0 in regular-season finale

Feb. 17 - Lost to Hilliard 12-1 in first round of Blue Jackets Cup. Andrew Pantaleano scored off an assist from Ryan Panovsky.

Feb. 18 - Played Westerville in Blue Jackets Cup

Of note: The Tribe was 2-27 overall before Feb. 18 and finished last at 0-24 in the GCHSCHL, behind PRPC (15-7-2), Hilliard (14-7-3), Northeast (14-7-3), Newark (12-11-1), Athens (11-10-3) and Westerville (11-11-2).