Early run lifts Pacers past Braves


DELAWARE – Senior Piper Adkins summed up Delaware Hayes’ 63-52 win over old league-rival Olentangy Tuesday night with one word: “Wow.”

She said it remembering where the two teams were just four short years ago.

Olentangy was one of the top programs in the area and has since seen a roster turnover and the opening of a new high school stunt its numbers a little.

Hayes, meanwhile, is in the midst of building its program back up to past glories.

Tuesday night Hayes got to show just how far it had come.

“When I started at Hayes … I played (in a game) where we had a (76-point) loss and I’m able to leave Hayes with a win against Olentangy,” Adkins said. “It’s an underdog story and I’m glad the underdog won tonight. We got to prove people wrong.”

The Pacers sank 11 three-pointers, including one each by Alexis Amabile, Chloe Jeffers and Karli Theis to help the Pacers start 13-1.

Bridget Stafford came off the bench and knocked down a three and Meg Spohn followed with a hoop to get Olentangy within seven after a timeout.

But Katie Smith and Amabile bookended a 12-0 spurt with three-pointers and the Pacers never allowed their lead to drop under 10 again.

Adkins was on the floor the last time Hayes played Olentangy, which beat the Pacers in the first round of the 2016 district tournament in Lewis Center back when the two were in the OCC-Capital.

She was also on the floor the last time Olentangy played in Delaware – an 89-13 decision.

So, this was a particularly special win for Adkins, who has seen the program grow over her four years.

“The team just brushed it off as another loss,” Adkins said. “I actually punched a locker after everyone had left. Not only was I mad at the outcome – I was mad at myself. There were so many things I could have done way better in that game.”

But that piece of history didn’t matter to Hayes coach Lou Tiberi. He’s trying to prove to his team that they are capable of beating anybody on their schedule.

“I don’t know if it’s a turnaround yet, but we’re definitely headed in the right direction,” he said. “We still have a numbers issue – we had a short bench tonight. The fact that they came out and had a lot of energy and made shots gives me a lot of hope.”

The win might go a long way to prove Hayes is not the same team it once was.

Amabile and Smith each knocked down four three-pointers. Amabile led with 30 points and Smith followed with 12. Theis added eight points and Jeffers chipped in seven and led with eight rebounds and five assists for the Pacers (4-2).

But neither is Olentangy, which has just four players with varsity experience.

“We’re still struggling to find ourselves,” Olentangy coach Kate Cummings said. “We make it so hard to get shots and it’s really not as difficult as we’re making it.”

Freshman Bridget Stafford had 19 points and Olivia Margolies added 14 and five rebounds to lead Olentangy (3-3).

Both teams return to league play Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Olentangy hosts Westerville North in its home opener in OCC-Buckeye play and Hayes visits Dublin Scioto in OCC-Cardinal action.

Hayes’ Chloe Jeffers (12) drives past Olentangy’s Dani Beidelman during the first half of Tuesday’s non-league showdown in Delaware.
http://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2018/12/web1_hayestangy.jpgHayes’ Chloe Jeffers (12) drives past Olentangy’s Dani Beidelman during the first half of Tuesday’s non-league showdown in Delaware. Ben Stroup | Gazette

By Michael Rich

For the Gazette

Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichnotwealthy or contact him at [email protected].

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