Delaware Hayes’ Landon Vanderwarker looks for an open teammate during the first half of Friday’s OCC showdown against visiting Westerville South.

Ben Stroup | The Gazette

The Delaware Hayes boys basketball team tightened its grip on a potential OCC-Capital Division title, maintaining its spot alone atop the league standings with a convincing 73-55 win over visiting Westerville South Friday night.

The Wildcats (9-6, 7-4) — the only team to beat the Pacers (16-1, 10-1) so far this season — looked poised to do it again in the early going.

Kruz McClure had six first-quarter points as South took a 16-15 lead into the second.

Hayes erased the deficit in a hurry, though, getting a corner three-pointer from Jake Lowman in the opening seconds of the second before Jesse Burris scored inside and Landon Vanderwarker hit a three to bump the lead up to five, 23-18.

McClure answered with three quick points, but the Pacers kept the pressure on as Jeremiah Russell scored inside before Lowman found a cutting Carter Piatt-Brown for an easy hoop.

South got within two when Amari Hodges scored to make it a 32-30 game, but Hayes ended the half with an 8-3 run thanks in part to a pair of buckets from Russell.

The Wildcats clawed to within two, 40-38, on a McClure free throw early in the third, but that’s as close as things got as the Pacers closed the quarter with a 17-6 surge to take control.

Burris, Lowman and Vanderwarker scored back-to-back-to-back buckets and, after Hodges stopped the bleeding with a basket of his own, Piatt-Brown finished off a three-point play the hard way to make it a 49-41 game late in the third.

The fourth was all Pacers, too, who outscored the Wildcats 16-11 down the stretch to smooth out the scoring summary.

Vanderwarker led Hayes with 25 points while McClure had a game-best 26 for South.

Hilliard Bradley 58, Olentangy Liberty 55

The Patriots took a 23-22 lead into halftime, but the visiting Jaguars, thanks to a 17-11 third and a combined 15 points from Andrew Lamb and Cade Norris in the fourth, rallied for a league win Friday night in Powell.

Norris finished with a game-best 17 points while Jeb Bischoff had 11 and Lamb chipped in eight.

Liberty got a team-high 16 points from Tyler Kropp while Parker Van Engelenhoven and Addison Bailey added 14 and 10 points, respectively.

Also: Big Walnut 76, Worthington Kilbourne 65; Olentangy Berlin 51, Dublin Jerome 47; Hilliard Darby 46, Olentangy 43; Olentangy Orange 53, Upper Arlington 31.


Buckeye Valley 55, Columbus Academy 22; Olentangy 57, Hilliard Darby 38; Olentangy Liberty 52, Hilliard Bradley 41; Upper Arlington 35, Olentangy Orange 23; Big Walnut 48, Worthington Kilbourne 36; Dublin Jerome 48, Olentangy Berlin 33; Westerville South 71, Delaware Hayes 34.