The Delaware Hayes boys basketball team has been on the wrong side of more than a few close games this season.
Tuesday, though, it was the Pacers’ turn to come up clutch late. Down one in the final seconds, Jesse Burris drew a foul shooting a three-pointer at the buzzer and calmly sank two of three from the charity stripe to lift Hayes to a thrilling 39-38 OCC-Capital Division win over visiting Big Walnut.
Burris, just a freshman, finished with a game-high 15 points in the win. Five of those fifteen came in the fourth … and the Pacers (1-7, 1-3 OCC) needed every last one of them to secure their first win of the season.
Up 28-25 after three, Big Walnut (5-3, 2-1 OCC) looked poised to polish off a win when Garrett Stover scored off a steal to balloon the Golden Eagles’ edge to seven, 38-31 with less than three minutes left.
Anthony Wilson gave the Pacers some life with a big-time bucket with two minutes to go and, after a stop on the other end, Burris was fouled with a chance to tighten things up even more. He made the front end of the one-and-one, but missed the second — a miss that turned out to be the best thing that could possibly happen to Hayes.
The Pacers tracked down the rebound and Hezekiah Russell promptly buried an open three to close the gap to one with a minute to play.
The Eagles had a chance to add to their lead, but missed the front of a one-and-one to set up the frenetic finish.
Russell backed Burris with eight points while Jayson Enke finished with six.
Jagger Barnett led BW with 12 points, including eight in the fourth, while Caleb Conard chipped in 10.
Big Walnut finished with a flurry, outscoring visiting Delaware Hayes 22-15 in the fourth quarter to turn what was a tie game after three into a 65-56 OCC-Capital Division win Tuesday night in Sunbury.
Abby Brown hit six threes on her way to a game-best 27 points. Eight of those 27 came in the fourth quarter.
Annie Thomas was also solid in the win, finishing with 17 points for Big Walnut (6-4, 3-4 OCC), which hit 10 triples and outscored Hayes 13-4 from the free throw line.
Alexis Amabile hit five threes on the way to a 20-point performance for the Pacers (8-4, 4-4 OCC). Chloe Jeffers added 15 and Telijah McCollum and Sara Dudley had seven apiece.
Worthington Christian 55, Buckeye Valley 25
The Barons scored just two points in the first quarter and two in the third as the visiting Warriors rolled to a league win Tuesday night in Delaware.
Kat Weakley and Blessing King finished in double figures for Worthington Christian (12-1, 4-0 MSL-Ohio), closing with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Chelsea Edington led BV (4-6, 3-2 MSL-Ohio) with nine points while Kayla Helms and Anika Craft had four each.