Terin Kinsway and Will Yoakum paced the Delaware Hayes boys basketball team to a 52-41 victory in front of a packed house at rival Buckeye Valley Saturday night.
Kinsway and Yoakum combined for 24 points in the second half as the Pacers used a 22-5 run to run away.
It was a struggle, though. Yoakum was called for two fouls and was on the bench with 5:48 left in the first quarter, which helped the Barons gain the early advantage.
“I was really proud of the way we responded,” Yoakum said. “I didn’t have any doubt in my mind … I knew we were going to be alright. I’m not the only guy – we’ve got Sam (Midura), Terin and we got Kameron (Beekman) – it’s not just me.”
The floor was littered with inexperience on both sides.
Hayes freshmen Nate Griggs, Addison Harvey and Paul Burris and senior first-year players Anthony Rodgers and Beekman were on the floor at various times during the first half.
“I thought our freshmen really grew up (Saturday night),” Hayes coach Jordan Blackburn said. “There was a point where we looked out on the floor and we had three freshmen, a sophomore (Kinsway) and a kid (Rodgers) who hasn’t played basketball in high school (since his freshman year).”
“I thought the freshmen took a big leap forward this game,” Kinsway said.
Buckeye Valley had players like Ethan Crawford (junior), Dylan Herbert (freshman), Aaron Watson (junior) and Nathan Edington (senior) all get their first extended minutes on the varsity level.
Despite the new faces, it was still the same game that the Delaware community has grown accustomed to – high-intensity, hard-nosed basketball.
“I was really happy with how our kids played,” Barons coach Andy Gast said. “Defense and intensity and playing hard – you can always control that.”
Braxton Wells took two charges that sent Yoakum to the bench and hit a three-pointer and Austin Richard scored six points as BV built an early 11-4 lead.
“I was very pleased with how we started the game,” Gast said. “We got Yoakum in some foul trouble and that helped us out.”
Griggs and Burris each hit threes to help the Pacers (1-1) close the first quarter down 15-12.
A Beekman basket briefly gave Delaware the lead at 21-20 with 2:20 left in the half.
“We didn’t make our mind up to pull Yoakum until halftime – we just wanted to see how our team was competing,” Blackburn said. “When we were keeping it between two and four points we just said (that) it’s smarter for us to keep him (on the bench).”
Watson hit a couple of free thows and Herbert found Crawford on the next possession to give the Barons a 24-21 lead at the break.
Edington kicked one out to Herbert for three to push the lead to four out of halftime – BV’s largest lead of the second half.
In a complete reversal of fortune, Richard and Wells were both saddled with foul trouble for the Barons (0-1). Each had to leave the game with four fouls in the first five minutes of the second half.
Yoakum closed the third with a pair of free throws and a three-point play to give the Pacers a 34-32 lead through three.
“(Coach Blackburn) told me not to force the issue and my teammates did a really good job of setting me up to score – it’s really just a testament to them,” he said.
Yoakum scored six points during a 10-2 Delaware run to open the fourth and push the lead to 10, and Kinsway followed with seven straight points, which included a three-point play to push the lead as high as 14 down the stretch.
“We continued to pound the ball in the paint,” Blackburn said. “I thought the kids stayed together because they like each other so much – they’re just all on the same page.”
Kinsway led all scorers with 20 points to go with five rebounds and Yoakum scored all but two of his 15 points in the second half and finished with three rebounds.
“We think of (Kinsway) as a senior,” Blackburn said. “He started as a freshman last year. He’s a tough kid who listens. (Saturday night), I thought he was a man on the boards.”
Griggs added nine points, Beekman had a team-high seven rebounds, two assists and a highlight-reel block and Sam Midura pitched in with four boards.
Richard led the Barons with 12 points and had three rebounds. Crawford had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists and Herbert and Wells added six points apiece.
Edington led BV with eight rebounds and three blocks to go with three assists. Herbert had three assists and three rebounds. Ben Spaulding chipped in five boards, including four on the offensive end.
“We’ve got to improve our shooting percentage and turnovers, but defensively – for about 90 percent of the game – we were really solid,” Gast said. “I thought we got a little tired toward the end.”
Both teams return to action Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in non-league games. Delaware visits Pickerington North while BV hosts Briggs.
Also: Liberty 66, Grove City 54.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.