The Delaware Hayes boys basketball team opened its season with a thrilling 56-52 victory over crosstown rival Buckeye Valley on Wednesday night in Delaware.
The Barons made it a game late, but their comeback bid fell short as they ran out of time after they missed two threes in the final minute — hoops which would have tied the game.
“We knew that storm was coming,” Delaware Hayes coach Adam Vincenzo said about a third quarter avalanche of threes by BV. “We talk a lot about dictating the thermostat. We weathered the storm. Last year, we would have melted. It’s good to see that we have some seniors that refuse to lose.”
Buckeye Valley scored the first two points of the game, but the Pacers answered with a quick 9-0 run. Hayes got a couple easy buckets in a row and also made a few tough shots en route to a 16-8 lead after a quarter of play.
Sophomore guard Jesse Burris was the focal point of the Pacer offense from the start. His teammates fed him the ball early and often and just let him go to work, and it helped them jump out to an early lead.
The second quarter was much of the same.
Buckeye Valley cut the margin to seven midway through the quarter, but freshman guard Carter Piatt-Brown hit a corner three to balloon the lead back to 10. Burris hit a tough mid-range shot in the final seconds of the half to give the Pacers a 29-17 edge going into the locker room. He had eight in the quarter and 12 in the half.
The Barons woke up after halftime and unleashed five three-pointers to cut the Pacer lead to four. It was 42-38 after a thrilling third quarter where both teams performed at a very high level offensively. A few times after the Barons hit a three that seemingly felt like a momentum-swinging moment, the Pacers went down and answered with a three of their own.
The Barons did end up tying the game on a contested Dylan Thompson three with just under two minutes left, then Burris got an offensive rebound and hit a layup to put the Pacers up two.
Thompson finished with five threes in the second half and 19 points in the game, but his team’s comeback fell just short.
Burris scored eight of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and iced the game with a free throw in the final seconds to give the Pacers the thrilling four-point season opening win.
“It’s not surprising at all,” Vincenzo said about Burris’ play down the stretch. “For a sophomore, he is much more advanced than most guys. He’s got the green light. He took the challenge to guard Thompson down the stretch, that’s leadership.”
Jake Lowman backed Burris with 13 points on the strength of a team-best three triples while C.J. Holmes and Hezekiah Russell finished with six and five points, respectively.
Troy Scowden finished with 11 points for BV while Owen Osborne had nine.
Next up, the Pacers will host Marion Harding on Nov. 30. The Barons, meanwhile, will travel to face the Wellington School that night.