Pacers punch ticket to district championship


The Delaware Hayes girls basketball team has put together quite a run this postseason and, thanks to Wednesday’s 62-56 Division I semifinal win over Bishop Watterson at Westerville Central, who knows how far it’ll go.

One thing’s for sure, though: it’s not over yet.

The 10th-seeded Pacers are doing exactly what teams strive to this time of year. They’re playing their best basketball and, for the third time in as many tournament games, their best was more than enough to get the job done.

It was the Sophia Midura show early on as the senior co-captain drilled three three-pointers to stake her team to an 11-5 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter. Taylor Shumaker hit a mid-range jumper from the baseline to beat the first-quarter buzzer and give Hayes a 19-10 lead after one.

The ninth-seeded Eagles battled back in a big way to start the second quarter, using the three-point line to their advantage as Tatyana Eagle hit back-to-back triples before Hayes’ Chloe Jeffers hit a runner to make it a 21-16 game with five minutes left in the half.

Watterson’s Sophie Ziel hit a three-pointer later in the quarter, cutting the deficit to two, but that’s as close as things would get.

Jeffers answered with a three of her own and, after the Eagles got a three from Kenna Ryan, Samantha Toney — the Pacers’ 6-3 junior forward and the tallest girl on the floor — came alive in the post.

Toney scored a couple put-back buckets toward the end of the half, then found a cutting Porter Barickman for an easy hoop as Hayes took a 33-22 lead into the break.

Toney continued her dominance in the second half, scoring four key hoops in the third quarter to thwart Watterson’s chances for a comeback.

Eagle hit two more threes in the fourth as Watterson got within single digits late, but Jeffers nailed a dagger three late to all but seal the deal.

Jeffers had 20 points to pace the Pacers while Toney was close behind with 19. Midura was also solid in the win, closing with 12 points.

Eagle, who had six three-pointers, led Watterson with 20 points while Ziel, just a freshman, had 17.

Next up, Hayes gets a shot at top-seeded Reynoldsburg in Saturday’s district championship. Tip is set for 1:30 p.m. inside Ohio Dominican’s Alumni Hall.

Gahanna Lincoln 55, Olentangy Liberty 44

The eighth-seeded Patriots owned a slim 19-18 halftime lead, but the fifth-seeded Lions surged in front in the third, using a 12-0 run take control on the way to a Division I district semifinal win Wednesday night at Worthington Christian.

Liberty’s Gigi Bower hit a corner three just before halftime, giving her team the one-point edge, but Gahanna led 34-25 after three thanks to the big run.

Taylor Redman scored off a feed from Jordan Rich, cutting the Patriot deficit to 38-31 midway through the fourth, but that’s as close as things would get.

Laila Marshall led the Lions with 21 points, four steals three assists and three rebounds. Kimora Perkins and Clarke Jackson had 10 points apiece while Bower and Rich led Liberty with 13 points each. Rich also added eight boards in the setback.

Delaware Hayes’ Samantha Toney puts up a shot from in the paint during the first half of Wednesday’s Division I district semifinal against Bishop Watterson. Hayes’ Samantha Toney puts up a shot from in the paint during the first half of Wednesday’s Division I district semifinal against Bishop Watterson. Ben Stroup | The Gazette
Knock off Bishop Watterson 62-56

By Ben Stroup

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