Chloe Jeffers kept the Pacers in things early and helped secure the win late as the Delaware Hayes girls basketball team topped visiting Westerville North 43-40 in OCC-Capital Division action Tuesday night in Delaware.
The senior, who is headed to Butler after she graduates and already has two 30-point games this season, scored all but four of the Pacers’ first-half points. She had eight in the first quarter and eight more in the second as Hayes trailed the Warriors 23-20 at halftime.
The Pacers led, 32-30, when Sophia Midura split a pair of free throws toward the end of a back-and-fourth third, but Emoni Finch hit a three-pointer at the end of the quarter to make it a 33-32 game heading into the final eight minutes of action.
Jeffers opened the fourth with a pair of free throws to help Hayes regain the lead, but Finch answered with a lay-in before Malaya Collins calmly knocked down a pair from the charity stripe to make it a 37-34 spread with 4:42 left.
Points proved hard to come by down the stretch, but Jeffers and Co. were able to manufacture just enough. She hit a pair of free throws and scored in transition to put her team up 39-38 with 1:13 to play.
With North forced to foul, Jeffers hit two more tosses after Hayes got a stop on the defensive end. A Finch hoop at the other end cut the deficit in half with 18.2 seconds left, and the Warriors got the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead in the final seconds, but Sara Dudley came up with a clutch steal to all but seal the deal. She was fouled driving to the hoop, splitting the pair to account for the final margin.
Jeffers finished with a game-best 27 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers (4-1, 3-0), who won for the fourth straight time after dropping their opener at River Valley. Midura backed her with 10 while Samantha Toney had five points and 15 boards in the win.
Finch and Kayla Curry-Brown led the Warriors (3-3, 2-1) with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Next up, Hayes will look to stay perfect in league play when it travels to Worthington Kilbourne Friday night. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.
Also: Olentangy Liberty 42, Gahanna Lincoln 39; Westerville South 55, Big Walnut 34.
Westerville North used a balanced offensive attack and 11 different scorers to cool off visiting Delaware Hayes, which had won three straight to start the season, 68-32 Tuesday night in Westerville.
Caleb Iheukwu had a game-best 18 points to lead the Warriors (3-1, 2-0) while Carter Reese and Noah Lawrence finished with eight apiece.
The Pacers (3-1, 1-1) got a team-leading 13 points from Jesse Burris and 11 more from Anthony Wilson.
Also: Olentangy Orange 47, Westerville Central 34; Westerville South 80, Big Walnut 55.