The Delaware Hayes boys basketball team couldn’t overcome a 16-2 run in the second half by visiting Hilliard Bradley and fell 49-34 in OCC-Cardinal boys basketball action Friday night in Delaware.
The Pacers held Bradley to just three three-pointers on 24 attempts. Delaware coach Jordan Blackburn said stopping the Jaguars’ prolific three-point shooting was the top goal defensively.
“They have some quickness advantages at four of the five positions and some strength advantages at four of the five positions,” Blackburn said. “So, we thought a matchup zone was our best way. It ended up they shot a very poor field-goal percentage.”
Delaware used its matchup zone on Bradley three-point shooters Braden Norris and Matt Allocco, but had a hard time boxing out for the rebounds.
“They’re coming in averaging 31-32 (points per game) and are two of the top shooters in the area,” Blackburn said.
Enter Zach Hummel. The Jaguars scored second-chance points on six straight possessions in the first half, led by Hummel, who put back five baskets.
Hummel finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive end.
“(Hummel) is their fifth-leading scorer,” Blackburn said. “It’s hard to block out in matchup zone because you don’t know where your guy is coming and he got in there a couple times. He plays hard – he’s a scrapper and does a good job in his role.”
Still, Delaware connected on three triples in the first half, two by freshman Paul Burris, to overcome a pair of spurts in the first half as the Pacers (11-9, 4-6) trailed 23-20 at the break.
“I’m definitely proud of our kids, and this is something that we should use as a tool to grow,” Blackburn said.
Will Yoakum turned a steal on one end into a lay-in on the other to make it 27-24 midway through the third quarter.
Allocco, who had missed on his first seven three-point tries, finally connected from the left corner to start the deciding run.
Isaiah Speelman and Norris followed with back-to-back baskets to quickly push the lead to 10.
Yoakum’s basket at the end of the third quarter put a dent in the lead momentarilyl, and Delaware trailed 34-26 at the end of the third.
Speelman followed with three of the next four baskets for the Jaguars to open the fourth, pushing the lead to 43-26.
Speelman led the Jaguars (17-1, 10-0), who picked up their 16th straight victory, with 16 points and four rebounds and Norris added 14 points and four rebounds.
Yoakum led the Pacers with 17 points and nine rebounds, Burris finished with eight points, Terin Kinsway added six points and five rebounds and Sam Midura had five boards.
“I think (Bradley is) No. 1 in Central Ohio in team defense,” Blackburn said. “We knew we would have to play our offensive team to have a chance.
“For example, Anthony (Rodgers) and Tracey Sumner didn’t play as much as usual (Friday night), and they’re excellent defenders. On the offensive end, we maybe have some guys that shoot a little better.”
Delaware returns Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. at league-foe Worthington Kilbourne.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.