The Delaware Hayes High School wrestling team will play host to the ninth annual Rieman Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 28.

The Delaware Hayes High School wrestling team will play host to the ninth annual Rieman Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 28.

Twelve teams that combined for 28 state qualifiers in 2011 will compete in the event. The field includes Bloom-Carroll, Cincinnati Elder, DeSales, Hilliard Davidson, Massillon Perry, Massillon Perry B, Norwalk, Olentangy, Springfield Kenton Ridge, Troy Christian and Westerville North.

Twenty of those state qualifiers, including 16 state placers, returned this season and are expected to compete in the Rieman. One of the most intriguing matches could be a potential rematch of last year's Division I state final at 145 pounds, in which Davidson's Chase Delande defeated Perry's Tanner Lemon 9-4.

The event was named the Delaware Invitational until 2010, when it was renamed the Tony Rieman Invitational to honor the tournament director and longtime area youth and Delaware City Schools coach who had three sons compete for the Pacers.

The event now will be known as the Tony and Tracie Rieman Invitational. Tracie Rieman, who was married to Tony for nearly 30 years, died March 31, 2011, at age 47.

"Tracie is sorely missed and always will be," Pacers coach Josh Heffernan said. "She was a staple in our program and the epitome of a 'wrestling mom.' She was just simply there doing anything she could for our guys, even after her boys left the program."

There will be a ceremony to honor Tracie, and each team will honor one "team mom" who dedicates herself to helping wrestlers.

"Every kid in our program eighth grade and up knew her well," Heffernan said. "Both Dempsey (Middle School) and Hayes have her initials, 'TSR,' on our orange singlets."

The invitational represents an important late-season test for teams and individuals, who are guaranteed five matches.

"The Rieman is a meat grinder, probably the toughest one-day tournament in the state," Heffernan said. "There's just a ton of talent there. We boast a good deal of former district and state qualifiers and placers, and all of them are really honing things for the (postseason). All are really starting to turn it up a notch, so the competition is tough and the intensity is high.

"Five matches can be an eternity for a kid not ready for that level of competition. So, in that sense, it is an awesome tune-up for the end of the season, where you either rise to and above the level of competition or your season is done."

The Pacers finished 15th (101.5 points) in the 34-team Marion Elgin Invitational on Jan. 13 and 14, behind champion Milan Edison (326.5).

Seth McCurdy won the title at 126 to improve to 30-3 before an OCC-Capital Division match Jan. 19 against Mount Vernon. Heavyweight Colton Christner finished fifth and improved to 22-5.

"Seth has around 120 career wins now and he's just strong as an ox," Heffernan said. "I don't think he realizes how strong he is for a 126-pounder. Colton really turned a corner (at Marion) and learned how to play the chess game that elite heavyweights often have to play. He is a relentless worker and is only in his second season wrestling.

"I think all of our guys really turned a corner. I felt they really improved on many aspects of their wrestling, especially Seth and Colton, who upped their game against more elite competition."

•The boys basketball team will be out to avenge a loss to Mount Vernon and make the chase for the OCC-Capital championship a little tighter when it plays host to the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

Mount Vernon defeated Delaware 60-45 in the first round of league play Dec. 9, in what was the Pacers' third game of the season. The Yellow Jackets shared first place (6-1) in the OCC-Capital with Olentangy Orange before their meeting Jan. 20.

The Pacers lost to Orange 52-51 on Jan. 13 to fall to 4-3 in league play. They also played a league game Jan. 20 against Franklin Heights.

Michael Wells missed a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer against Orange.

"We played smart and with great intensity," coach Jordan Blackburn said. "After playing outstanding basketball for 29 1/2 minutes, there appeared to be a couple lapses down the stretch. We had two guys box out the same guy on one defensive possession, and they got an offensive rebound and scored. We then took an ill-advised shot in transition."

But Delaware got a defensive stop to give Wells the last shot.

Jacob Bosiokovic led Delaware with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Wells scored 14 points and Zach Parsons had 11.

Blackburn has been pleased with the play of freshmen Noble Moore and Khalil Iverson.

"We are privileged to have two freshmen who are capable of competing at the varsity level in the OCC and they will continue to be (on the floor) down the stretch," Blackburn said. "Both are improving every day and they're earning their minutes. Our younger guys will learn from being put in situations at crunch time and fixing mistakes made going forward.

"We are not playing young guys for the future. We are playing them because they give us the best chance to win. (However), when we are in a position to win and don't, it's not OK. Youth is not an excuse."

The Pacers lost a non-league game the following night 76-56 at Gahanna to fall to 7-6 overall. It was Delaware's worst margin of defeat this season.

Wells scored 23 points and Bosiokovic had 19. Iverson added nine.

"We had an emotional loss (the night before) and I felt we let Orange beat us twice," Blackburn said. "Gahanna looked fresher. They shot the heck out of it and sometimes you just tip your cap."

•The girls basketball team is hoping to close the regular season strong.

The Pacers were 5-8 overall and 3-5 in the OCC-Capital before playing Franklin Heights on Jan. 20.

After playing the Falcons, who were 1-10 overall, the Pacers will play Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Mount Vernon and Friday, Jan. 27, at Watkins Memorial. Before Jan. 19, the Yellow Jackets were 2-7 overall and 1-7 in league play, and the Warriors were 4-9 and 3-5.

"We are really stressing to finish the (regular) season and head into the postseason very strong, hopefully playing our best basketball of the year," coach Erin Margraf said. "We felt we lost a couple of games that we were fully capable of winning. We are really trying to get back on track and pick up some wins and play better team basketball at the end of our season as we head into tournament time."

Point guard Kristen McMillen led the team in scoring through 13 games at 11.7 points per contest, followed by Keshawna Ximines (9.0), Julie Bauer (7.0) and Paige Stimmel (6.1). McMillen has averaged 3.6 assists and Stimmel was at 3.4.

"Kristen is starting to see herself as more of a scorer and recognizing that her team needs her to contribute offensively," Margraf said. "She is becoming more of an offensive threat. We also need her to continue to value every offensive possession and reduce the amount of turnovers."

Turnovers have plagued the Pacers much of the season, and Margraf said every player must protect the ball better.

"Other teams are benefiting from our mistakes. We can't afford to continue helping our opponents out night after night with 15-plus team turnovers," Margraf said. "We are also stressing more contribution with rebounding from our post play, specifically."

Ximines, who had 21 points and 10 rebounds against league-leading Orange in an 85-57 loss Jan. 13, was averaging a team-high 7.3 rebounds through 13 games. Julie Bauer (4.2), McMillen (4.0) and Bethany Naegele (3.8) followed.