Zach Parsons picked a good time to have the best shooting game of his career.

Zach Parsons picked a good time to have the best shooting game of his career.

The Delaware Hayes High School junior was 6-for-6 from the field, including 5-for-5 from 3-point range to help the boys basketball team defeat Dublin Jerome 58-48 in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 23 at Jonathan Alder.

The Pacers played Olentangy Liberty in the second round on Feb. 26.

Parsons scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half to help Delaware take a 26-24 lead.

"I was just playing my role," Parsons said. "The past couple of weeks, my coaches and teammates have told me I need to take those shots, and that gave me confidence. I have been shooting well lately, but I never had a game like this where I took that many shots and never missed."

Parsons needed to be good. Jerome coach Dave Hale, a former Delaware assistant, drew up a game plan to limit the number of touches by Pacers standout Matt Bingaya, who was averaging 21.2 points per game.

"I thought coach Hale had a great game plan," Delaware coach Jordan Blackburn said. "The 1-1-3 (zone defense) they played was designed to take Matt out of the game and they did a very nice job with that."

With Parsons connecting from the perimeter, Jerome players rushed out from their positions in the zone in the second half to contest shots. Once that happened, point guard Mike Wells had room for dribble penetration and Bingaya got more opportunities.

Bingaya and Wells both scored 10 of their 14 points after halftime. Bingaya was 7-for-9 from the floor and had a game-high nine rebounds. Wells had three assists and was 5-for-6 from the free-throw line as the Pacers made 14 of 19 free throws overall.

Jerome stayed close thanks to Nick Neale, who scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the first half.

"We didn't find him early, but we did a much better job in the second half," Blackburn said. "I told the guys that if he scores in the second half, it better be with a hand in his face."

Delaware led 39-31 after three quarters and twice was ahead by 10 in the fourth. But the Celtics, who finished 7-14, got as close as 53-48 with 42 seconds left. The Pacers scored the final five points on two free throws from Wells, one from Jacob Bosiokovic and a basket by Bingaya.

The Pacers closed the regular season by winning seven of their final eight games, beating Olentangy Orange 55-44 on Feb. 18 to finish 11-3 in the OCC-Capital Division, second behind New Albany (13-1).

The second-round winner will play second-seeded Northland or Franklin Heights in a semifinal at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5, in the Fairgrounds Coliseum. The district final is 9 p.m. March 11 at the Fairgrounds.

Delaware swept Franklin Heights this season, winning 61-47 on Dec. 7 and 79-48 on Jan. 21. The Falcons were 1-19 overall and had a first-round bye.

Northland was 20-1 after routing Groveport 87-27 in the first round on Feb. 23.

The Vikings, ranked second in the state poll, are led by senior guard Trey Burke, a Michigan signee who averaged 23.9 points and 6.6 assists in the regular season. Devon Scott, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, averaged 10.1 rebounds.

The Vikings' lone loss was 84-81 to Lakewood St. Edward on Feb. 5.

They are efficient on offense, especially in the post where Scott was 94-for-127 from the floor to lead the area in shooting (74 percent) and 6-8 junior forward Jalen Robinson was 71-for-98 (72.4 percent).

Burke was 192-for-313 (61.3 percent) from the floor, including 39-for-81 (48.1 percent) from 3-point range.

"Burke is the best player in central Ohio, and they also have a pair of very athletic post players," Blackburn said. "Our goal at the draw was to reach the (Fairgrounds) because anything can happen once you get there. But we have a tough game just to reach that tough game. It's time for us to play our best ball of the year, which we didn't do (against Jerome)."