Delaware Hayes Roundup: Alexis Amabile helps Pacers girls basketball team battle through injuries

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Alexis Amabile was averaging 22.8 points through eight games for Delaware Hayes, which was 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Westerville North on Jan. 12.

Despite being without a couple key players because of injury, the Delaware Hayes girls basketball team got out to a strong start. 

The Pacers, who opened with a 70-69 league win against visiting Worthington Kilbourne on Dec. 18, were 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the OCC-Capital Division entering a game at Westerville North on Jan. 12. 

Their other league wins were 53-48 against visiting Dublin Scioto on Jan. 5 and 42-37 over visiting Canal Winchester on Jan. 8. Their losses came against visiting Big Walnut (58-37 on Dec. 19) and at Westerville South (55-45 on Dec. 22). 

“We’ve been able to play through some fairly significant injuries, and the girls have done what they needed to do to put us on top more times than not,” coach Lou Tiberi said. 

Chloe Jeffers, a 5-foot-11 guard, and Alyssa Griner, a 6-0 forward, are currently out with injury. Griner has yet to play this season and Jeffers, who was averaging 10.3 points per game, was injured against Scioto. 

Tiberi said he expects those two to return in the next few weeks. In their absence, he said Alexis Amabile, a 5-10 guard who was averaging 22.8 points through eight games, has made significant contributions to spark the Pacers. 

“She’s been able to keep us in games with her scoring,” Tiberi said. “We’ve got to find ways to get other people involved. I think she’s taken a lot on her shoulders while Chloe and Alyssa have been out.

“We don’t want her to have to carry as much of the load; we’re trying to get more people involved and balance things out a little more. But she’s had nights where she’s had great starts and great finishes.” 

Amabile’s scoring prowess includes a 36-point performance in a 59-52 victory at Upper Arlington on Dec. 30. She also has shot 73 percent from the free-throw line. 

“One of the best things she’s done for us this year has been her ability to get to the free-throw line,” Tiberi said. “She can usually cash them in when she gets there.” 

Amabile said the uncertainty of the season amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has motivated the Pacers to play hard. 

“I think with the whole virus and everything that has been thrown our way this year and our season constantly being up in the air, we have all been playing with a chip on our shoulder,” she said. “We practiced for months not knowing if we would have games or not. And now that we are finally getting the chance to play, we have used that energy in every one of our games thus far.”

Tiberi said Myah Byers (5-7, guard), Porter Barickman (6-0, post player), Sophie Midura (6-1, forward), Telijah McCollum (5-8, forward) and Sara Dudley (6-0, forward) also have contributed to the shorthanded Pacers. Midura was third on the team in scoring, averaging 8.1 points while shooting 71 percent from the foul line. 

Delaware was scheduled to play a league game at Franklin Heights on Jan. 15 before visiting Olentangy Berlin on Jan. 16. The Pacers then have league matchups Jan. 19 at Big Walnut and Jan. 22 at home against North before visiting Dublin Jerome on Jan. 23. 

Delaware Hayes' Kailyn Smith competes in the 200-yard individual medley during a meet against Big Walnut on Dec. 19 at the Delaware YMCA. Smith finished first in 2:22.56.

Swimming teams

adjusting to limitations

The boys and girls swimming and diving teams have enjoyed success at their first two meets despite having spent less time in the water and training less than prior seasons because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“It’s definitely a different training season,” coach Jordan Nicol said. “We’re not swimming as much as we have in the past because of the limitations and we’re certainly not seeing as much competition, so it’s going to be hard for them to kind of dial all of that in before any postseason championships that we have.” 

Nicol said Connor Green, Max Etheridge, Kailyn Smith and Mackenzie Carter are among those who have stood out for the Pacers so far. 

In the Pacers’ opener Dec. 19 against Big Walnut, Green finished first in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 45.76 seconds) and 500 free (4:57.93). Etheridge was second in the 100 butterfly (1:05.88). 

Both Etheridge and Green finished first with Charles Abahazi and Kaden Gannon in the 400 free relay (3:34.38), while Green placed first with Gannon, Abahazi and Ryan Gray in the 200 free relay (1:37.04). 

Smith won the 500 free (5:44.85) and 200 individual medley (2:22.56). She and Carter along with Margaret Wolf and Natalie Fiant won the 200 free relay (1:49.02) and 200 medley relay (1:57.27). 

In Delaware’s second meet Jan. 9 against Hilliard Davidson, Green was first in the 50 free (22.45) and 200 free (1:45.58) and joined Etheridge, Gannon and Abahazi on the winning 400 free (3:35.12) and 200 free (1:34.86) relays. 

Smith won the 200 IM (2:20.28) and 100 fly (1:01.78), and Carter was first in the 50 free (24.98) and 100 free (55.89). 

Smith, Carter, Fiant and Madison Richardson won the 200 medley relay (1:56.35), and Smith, Carter, Fiant and Wolf won the 200 free relay (1:44.59). 

The Pacers are scheduled to swim at Columbus Academy on Jan. 22 and compete against Buckeye Valley on Feb. 6. As of Jan. 10, Nicol said Delaware and Marysville were working toward scheduling a virtual meet, but it hadn't been finalized. 

“Keeping the kids motivated without solid plans is something we have to keep working on, and they’re doing pretty well for everything that we’re asking of them and following all the COVID protocols, so we’re happy with that,” Nicol said. 

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSteve