The Delaware Hayes girls basketball team hung around early, either leading or keeping it a one-possession game for most of the first half, but Worthington Kilbourne used a big second half to notch a 54-31 league win Tuesday in Delaware.
Abby Weller scored Hayes’ (10-11, 0-11) first three points and Madison Eldridge hit a three to even things up, 6-6 with two minutes left in the first quarter.
Weller, who had seven first-half points, gave the Pacers a 12-11 lead by banking in a short turnaround jumper with 6:30 left in the second, but the Wolves (8-13, 5-7) got a three from Morgan Schutte to go back on top seconds later.
Weller hit a pair of free throws and Rachael Bourget scored off her own steal to get Hayes back within striking distance after Kilbourne had taken an 18-12 lead on four straight made free throws, but the Pacers couldn’t get any closer.
Hayes trailed by just three, 19-16 at the half, but was outscored 14-8 in the third and 21-7 in the fourth.
Weller finished with a team-best 12 points in the setback while Kilbourne’s Jordyn Wilson led all scorers with 23.
Buckeye Valley 78, Hamilton Township 25
The Barons had it all clicking Tuesday, coupling a balanced offensive attack with a dominant defensive effort en route to a non-league win against visiting Hamilton Township.
Buckeye Valley (9-10) led 24-2 after the first quarter and 46-11 at the half. The Barons won the third 18-7 and the fourth 14-7 to smooth out the scoring summary.
They shot 42 percent from the floor and only turned the ball over five times. Defensively, they held Hamilton Township to 22-percent shooting while forcing 27 turnovers.
Morgan Scowden led BV with 14 points while Kelsey Shearer finished with 12 to go with seven rebounds and three assists. Logan Hatcher and Lisa Leienberger were also solid, finishing with 10 points apiece.
Clarissa Thornton led Hamilton Township with 11 points.
Newark 57, Big Walnut 33
The Golden Eagles hung around early, but were outscored 13-2 in the third as the visiting and undefeated Wildcats cruised to a league win Tuesday in Sunbury.
Big Walnut (12-7, 4-5) got seven points apiece from Katie Neff and Katie Cochran while Newark’s (21-0, 9-0) Carlee Street led all scorers with 14 points.
Westerville South 37, Orange 27
The Pioneers played pretty good defense, allowing just three points as part of a 9-3 fourth-quarter surge, but couldn’t find their shooting touch during Tuesday’s league loss to the host Wildcats.
Orange (7-14, 2-7) scored nine or fewer points in all four quarters while South (12-7, 6-2) won the second and third quarters by a combined 27-14 margin.
Schae Lilley led the Pioneers with nine points in the setback.
Liberty 39, Westerville North 38
The Patriots (14-7, 7-2) only managed a combined eight points in the second and third quarters, but made plays when it mattered most en route to a thrilling league win over the visiting Warriors (16-5, 6-3) Tuesday in Powell.
Liberty, which used a 15-6 first-quarter surge to build an early lead, kept its spot atop the OCC-Buckeye Division with the win. It’ll have a chance to wrap up at least a share of the league title Friday against host Westerville Central.
Hayes fell behind 18-2 to start the game and never recovered, falling to host Kilbourne 56-33 in OCC action Tuesday night.
The Pacers (11-10, 4-7) trailed 18-5 after the first quarter and 28-11 at the break.
“We didn’t come ready to play tonight and, ultimately, that falls on me,” Hayes coach Jordan Blackburn said. “We had two good days of practice leading into this game and, for some reason, didn’t bring the same energy and tenacity that we usually play with. We got it corrected, but by that point we were down 18-2.”
Will Yoakum led the Pacers with 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting, but didn’t get a ton of help. The rest of the team shot just 6-for-33 from the field.
Highland 52, Buckeye Valley 40
The Barons won each of the first two quarters, building a 26-19 halftime edge, but the host Scots dominated the second half to earn a non-league win Tuesday night.
Highland (12-7) outscored Buckeye Valley (7-12) 16-8 in the third quarter and 17-6 in the fourth.
Ethan Crawford led the Barons with 10 points and three assists while Elijah Jackson finished with eight points and a game-best four assists.
Olentangy 52, Westerville Central 47
Greg Hendrix had a big night, scoring nine of his game-high 19 points in a decisive third quarter to lift the Braves to a league win over the visiting Warhawks Tuesday in Lewis Center.
The third was a turning point for Olentangy (8-10, 2-6). The Braves trailed 25-21 at halftime, but won the third 18-9 to take a five-point lead into the final eight minutes of action.
Sean Marks complemented his teammate’s 19-point performance with 16 points of his own while Central (4-15, 3-5) was led by Thomas Hickman’s 13 points.
Westerville North 57, Liberty 52
The Patriots led by one at the half, but were outscored 24-9 in the third on the way to an OCC loss Tuesday in Westerville.
Liberty won the fourth 17-8, but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Ben Roderick led the Patriots (12-7, 4-4) with 24 points while Jeremiah Keene finished with 18 for North (13-6, 6-2).
Also: Newark 70, Big Walnut 37; Westerville South 71, Orange 37; Horizon Science 76, Delaware Christian 67.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.