It was a tale of two 8-0 runs Friday in Delaware.
The host Delaware Hayes boys basketball team was able to withstand the first one early on, even battle back to surge in front. The second, though, proved to be the difference as visiting Westerville South pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 69-59 OCC-Capital Division win.
The first spurt came right off the opening tip. Jujuan Ray broke the scoring seal with a triple on the Wildcats’ first possession of the game and, after Jadi Cunningham turned a steal into a three-point play and Ray scored off another Pacer turnover, South found itself up 8-0 midway through the first quarter.
Hayes (6-2, 3-1), which was alone at the top of the league standings before the setback, found its form after that. Hezekiah Russell scored in transition off a nice outlet pass from Jake Lowman to get the Pacers on the board and, after Jesse Burris scored off a steal, Chase Griggs buried a three from wing to make it an 8-7 game.
Anthony Wilson hit a cutting Carter Piatt-Brown for an easy two in the final minute as Hayes clawed all the way back to take an 11-10 lead after one.
The teams traded punches throughout the second and third quarters, with neither able to get much separation. Hayes took a five-point lead when Piatt-Brown hit a three to cap an 18-5 run, but a 5-2 answer by South (4-2, 3-1) knotted things back up at 20.
The threes continued to fall late in the second as triples by Burris, Griggs and Jeremiah Russell kept the Pacers close, down just 30-29 at the break.
Hayes still trailed by one, 46-45 after three, but South took control down the stretch. Another 8-0 run proved to be the knockout blow as the Wildcats took a 54-45 lead into the final few minutes.
The Pacers, who didn’t score in the fourth until there were less than three minutes to go, got hot late as Piatt-Brown hit back-to-back threes, but the Wildcats hit more than enough free throws — finishing 12-for-12 at the line in the final quarter alone — to seal the deal.
Burris led all scorers with 23 points while Piatt-Brown had 13 and Griggs closed with 12. Ray and Kruz McClure, meanwhile, finished with respective point totals of 20 and 18 for South.
Olentangy 57, Hilliard Darby 50
The Braves used a big third quarter to get the job done, outscoring the host Panthers 22-7 to turn a halftime deficit into a solid league win Friday night in Hilliard.
Harrison Ronnebaum and Jack Huskey led Olentangy with a combined six three-pointers and 17 points apiece.
Cam Gilkerson led Darby with 15 points in the setback.
Dublin Jerome 62, Olentangy Berlin 58
The Bears poured in 26 points in the fourth, but couldn’t complete the comeback as the host Celtics held on for a league win Friday night in Dublin.
Derek Goodman had a team-best 23 points for Berlin while Sasha Stavroff had 23 of his own for Jerome.
Also: Big Walnut 61, Worthington Kilbourne 53; Olentangy Orange 54, Upper Arlington 41.
The Olentangy Liberty girls basketball team dominated from the opening tip, outscoring host Hilliard Bradley 21-4 in the first quarter and 20-10 in the second on the way to a convincing 65-27 league win Friday night in Hilliard.
Eleven different Patriots cracked the scoring column. Gigi Bower, who hit three three-pointers, and Claire Mikola had 13 points apiece to lead the way. Addison Marston was also solid in the win, finishing with nine points.
Bexley 45, Buckeye Valley 32
The Barons played solid defense to keep things close, but foul trouble hurt down the stretch as the host Lions hung on for a MSL-Ohio win Friday night in Bexley.
Emily Huston led BV with 10 points while Sydnie Smith had a game-best 16 for Bexley.
Olentangy Berlin 42, Dublin Jerome 41
The Bears started fast and hung on late, outscoring the visiting Celtics in each of the first two quarters before escaping with a thrilling one-point win Friday night in Delaware.
Berlin’s Abbie Bell led all scorers with 14 points. Kadence Conley had 12 for Jerome.
Also: Hilliard Darby 63, Olentangy 40; Upper Arlington 36, Olentangy Orange 22; Westerville South 77, Delaware Hayes 15.