It’s hard to beat a team three times in a single season, no matter what the sport is.
The Delaware Hayes girls basketball team found that out during Wednesday’s Division I sectional semifinal against visiting Canal Winchester, a league foe the Pacers beat twice during the regular season, as the Indians started fast and were solid down the stretch on the way to a 61-52 win.
Canal flipped the script, scoring 60-plus points after managing just 37 Jan. 8 at Hayes and 40 Feb. 12 at home … and did it from beyond the arc and the free-throw line.
The Indians led 36-22 at halftime, getting five three-pointers in the first quarter and three more in the second. Three of the triples came from Kennedy Ratliff, who finished with four overall and a game-high 22 points in the win.
The Pacers made a push out of the locker room. Alexis Amabile polished off a three-point play to cut the deficit to 10, 43-33 with 2:04 left in the third, then hit a three in the final minute of the quarter to slice it to single digits.
Hayes maintained the momentum into the early stages of the fourth, getting a hoop from Amabile and a pair of free throws from Sara Dudley to make it a 43-40 game with 5:47 left.
Chloe Jeffers scored inside a few possessions later, but Canal’s Kierstyn Liming answered with a three to get the Indians back on track. From there, with the Pacers forced to foul, they sealed the deal at the charity stripe.
Canal made 14 of its 16 free throws for the game, including a 13-for-14 effort in the fourth. Kate Ratliff went 6-for-6 in the final quarter while Kennedy Ratliff was 4-for-4.
Kate Ratliff backed Kennedy Ratliff with 19 points while the Pacers got 15 apiece from Jeffers and Amabile.
Olentangy Liberty 57, Pickerington North 42
The 14th-seeded Patriots raced out to a 12-4 lead after the first quarter and never looked back en route to a Division I sectional semifinal win over the visiting and 26th-seeded Panthers Wednesday night in Powell.
Balance was the name of the game for Liberty, which had five different players score at least nine points.
Jordan Rich finished with a team-best 13 points for the Patriots. Gigi Bower and Taylor Redman added 11 apiece, Emma Karagheuzoff had 10 and Caitlin Splain finished with a team-leading three triples on the way to a nine-point night.
Next up, Liberty will take on 13th-seeded Hilliard Bradley in Friday’s sectional final. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in Hilliard.
Henry Hinkle scored a team-best 20 points, including the 1,000th of his career, to lead Olentangy Liberty to a 65-51 non-league win over host St. Francis DeSales Wednesday night in Columbus.
The Patriots dominated early on, jumping out to a 22-9 advantage after the first quarter and a 37-19 lead by the break.
The Stallions closed the gap a bit with a 19-13 third, but couldn’t get much closer than the final 14-point spread.
Andrew Wade and Cooper Davis backed Hinkle with 13 points apiece while DeSales’ Desmond Watson led all scorers with 29 points in the setback.
Westerville North 48, Delaware Hayes 42
The Pacers trailed by just a point, 34-33 heading into the fourth quarter, but the visiting Warriors pulled away down the stretch to notch an OCC-Capital Division win Wednesday night in Delaware.
Semaj Council had six of his game-best 16 points in the fourth while Caleb Iheukwu had five on the way to a 10-point night.
Ryan Smudz and Jesse Burris had 14 points apiece to lead Hayes.