The Delaware Hayes boys basketball team made life difficult on both ends of the floor, consistently pressuring visiting Buckeye Valley on defense and relentlessly driving to the hoop on offense en route to a 32-14 halftime lead it parlayed into a 69-48 non-league win Friday night in Delaware.
The Pacers (1-0) set the tone early, taking a 4-0 edge thanks to a pair of Jeremiah Russell free throws and a Jesse Burris hoop after the duo combined to force a Baron (0-1) turnover with a full-court press.
Russell buried a three-pointer to balloon the edge to 6-0 shortly after that and, after BV’s Cam Richardson hit a triple of his own to slice his team’s deficit in half, Burris split a pair from the charity stripe before Chase Griggs converted a driving layin to make it a 9-3 game with 2:37 left in the opening quarter.
Hayes’ Jake Lowman got in on the act shortly after that, coming up with a steal before hitting a three set up by an offensive rebound by Burris.
Buckeye Valley’s Marcus Hemphill hit a three to stop the bleeding, but BV still trailed, 16-6, after one.
Hayes’ lead only swelled from there as the pressure continued to cause problems.
A Russell three off a find from Lowman made it 20-6 with 5:20 left in the half and, after BV’s Le’Den Jones hit a three-pointer to keep his team within striking distance, down 22-9, Lowman and Russell sparked a late surge — Lowman hit a pair of threes and found Russell for an easy hoop after a steal — to break things open by the break.
Hayes went to the free throw line 19 times in the game — 10 in the first quarter alone.
Russell, who finished with a game-best 23 points, hit four threes to give his team an edge on the perimeter while Landon Vanderwarker scored 18 points to help Hayes dominate in the paint while Burris closed in double figures with 12.
Hemphill led the Barons with 21 points. He took a page out of the Hayes playbook in the second half, driving hard to the hoop to get to the line nine times — free throws he converted all but one of.
Jones also finished in double figures, closing with 12 points in the setback.
Also: River Valley 76, Olentangy Berlin 61.
Aubrey Bashore poured in a game-best 23 points as Olentangy Berlin rolled to a 59-36 OCC-Cardinal Division win over visiting Thomas Worthington Friday night in Delaware.
The Bears, who led 26-19 at the half, used an 18-4 third-quarter to take control for good.
Layla Merriweather and Cami Elliot backed Bashore with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Delaware Hayes 52, Franklin Heights 12
The Pacers picked up their second straight lopsided win to start the season, cruising past the host Falcons to open league play Friday night in Columbus.
Hayes led 31-4 after the first quarter and never looked back.
Adrionna Brown had as big a part in the fast start as anyone, finishing with nine first-quarter points thanks to a pair of three-pointers. She finished with a game-high 15 points.
Ava Green and Hannah West were also solid, collecting nine and eight points, respectively.
Also: Olentangy 59, Marysville 49; Olentangy Liberty 32, Olentangy Orange 22.