The Delaware Hayes High School girls basketball team needs to be more aggressive early in games and carry over its practice habits into games, according to guard and captain Piper Adkins.

The Pacers were 5-7 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Cardinal Division entering a game at Olentangy Berlin on Jan. 11 and had lost four of their previous five games.

"We have all the pieces we need to win more games, but we can't put it all together in games for some reason," said Adkins, the team's lone senior. "I think we play a little scared or timid, especially early in games. We tend to try to get the feel for the other team and then decide at some point that we can play with them.

"But I think if we came out with confidence from the start, we could dictate and be more aggressive and have the other team doubting themselves."

During its recent 1-4 stretch, all of Delaware's losses were by eight points or fewer. The Pacers lost to Thomas Worthington 54-46 on Dec. 17, Worthington Kilbourne 48-43 on Dec. 21, Hilliard Bradley 39-35 on Jan. 4 and Dublin Jerome 45-37 on Jan. 8 and defeated Buckeye Valley 56-44 on Dec. 28.

"Six of our top eight players are freshmen or sophomores, so it's a young team that can't seem to get over the hump right now," coach Lou Tiberi said. "We seem to start slow, catch up and are right in the games, but then we lack some execution and confidence in the fourth quarter with the games on the line. In OCC games, we can't have those four-minute lulls. We've got to play well and execute for four quarters."

Playing without leading scorer Alexis Amabile for a third consecutive game, Delaware dug out of a 10-point first-half deficit against Jerome to tie the score at 26 in the third quarter. However, the Celtics scored the next eight points to open a 34-26 lead early in the fourth quarter, and the Pacers would get no closer than four points the rest of the way.

"Alexis is averaging 16 points per game, so her being out with an (hand) injury the past few games has hurt us a bit," Tiberi said. "But the girls continue to work hard and sooner or later, we're going to win some of these games. It's important that we do so that they can begin to believe in themselves. We're halfway through the season, so we can't keep saying, 'We're young, so it's OK.' We've got to put it all together."

Jordan Lantz had 13 points against Jerome and Karli Theis scored eight. Against Bradley, Lantz had 12 points, Alyssa Griner scored 10 and Chloe Jeffers added seven.

"I believe we're going to turn the corner in the second round of OCC play," Tiberi said. "I just have a feeling that if we get healthy and stay healthy, we're going to surprise some teams."

Boys team looking to get back on track

The boys basketball team was trying to get back on track when it played Olentangy Berlin in an OCC-Cardinal contest Jan. 11.

The Pacers dropped consecutive games for the first time this season, falling to unbeaten Bradley 57-46 on Jan. 4 and Jerome 59-44 on Jan. 8 to drop to 7-3 overall and 4-2 in the league. Entering play Jan. 11, they were tied with Jerome and Thomas Worthington for second place in the OCC-Cardinal behind Bradley, which was 6-0.

Delaware was outscored by host Bradley 33-21 in middle quarters. Nate Griggs had 14 points to lead the Pacers, while Terin Kinsway and Addison Harvey scored 10 apiece and Paul Burris scored nine.

At Jerome, the Pacers trailed 31-23 at halftime and 45-32 entering the fourth quarter. Griggs had 17 points and Burris scored eight.

Girls swim team wins home invitational

The girls swimming and diving team finished first in the Delaware Invitational held Jan. 4 and 5 at Ohio Wesleyan, winning five events, including all three relays.

The Pacers totaled 429 points to finish ahead of Watterson (350), Westerville South (255), Hilliard Darby (119), Hilliard Davidson (89) and Buckeye Valley (64).

Valerie Keller, Kailyn Smith, Lauren Ertz and Rena Ouyang won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1 minutes, 42.94 seconds, Smith and Ertz were joined by Emily Abahazi and Elizabeth Abahazi on the winning 400 free relay (3:58.04) and Elizabeth Abahazi, Maddie Richardson, Ouyang and Keller comprised the winning 200 medley relay (1:54.75).

Keller also won the 50 free (25.72) and Kelsie Keeder finished first in diving (176.1 points).

The boys team placed third (207) in the Delaware Invitational behind Davidson (350) and Darby (310) and ahead of South (193), Buckeye Valley (66) and Watterson (61).

Finishing first for the Pacers were Kael Gannon in the 100 butterfly (55.15), Aidan Stojkov in the 100 backstroke (58.46), Paul Carter in the 100 breaststroke (1:01.57) and the 400 free relay of Gannon, Stojkov, Caleb Bucher and Lucas Paper (3:24.94).

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek

Schedules

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

BOYS BASKETBALL

Jan. 15 -- Home vs. Marysville

*Jan. 18 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby. The Pacers beat the Panthers 71-47 on Dec. 7.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Jan. 15 -- At Grove City

*Jan. 18 -- At Hilliard Darby. The Pacers lost to the Panthers 60-44 on Dec. 7.

BOWLING

*Jan. 15 -- Westerville North at Colony Lanes

*Jan. 16 -- New Albany at Gahanna Lanes

*Jan. 18 -- Hilliard Darby at Colony Lanes

GYMNASTICS

Jan. 19 -- Westerville Central Warhawk Invitational at Worthington Youth Boosters

SWIMMING & DIVING

Jan. 19 -- Presidential Pentathlon Plus at Ohio Wesleyan

WRESTLING

*Jan. 17 -- At Thomas Worthington

Jan. 18-19 -- Top Gun Invitational at Alliance

*League contest