By Michael Rich
St. Charles hit five three-pointers en route to a 19-2 start and the Delaware Hayes boys basketball team couldn’t recover.
The Pacers fell at home 61-36 to the Cardinals in non-league play Monday night.
“One of the reasons we schedule teams that can play is because we think it can help us,” Hayes coach Jordan Blackburn said. “I (thought) our kids kept battling. Hats off to St. Charles — they played great.”
St. Charles shot 10-for-18 from behind the arc, five of which came off the hot hand of senior guard Peter Levy, who finished with a game-high 17 points. Levy also played solid defense, leading the Cardinals with four steals.
“I’ve seen them a couple of times and I haven’t seen them shoot the ball as well as they shot (Monday night),” Blackburn said. “I think you have to give them a lot of credit. They have an experienced, senior-laden team with four or five guys that are 6-5 or taller and four guys that can really shoot the three.”
Braden Budd hit a pair of three-pointers in the first couple of minutes to help St. Charles (5-0) to the first 13 points of the game. He finished with 12 points.
Hayes’ Zach McIntire stopped the bleeding momentarily when he drove the lane on the left and scored. He finished with a team-high 14 points and pulled down five rebounds.
But, the Cardinals followed with threes on back-to-back possessions by Johnny Wallace and Budd to extend the lead to 19-2.
“I thought they moved the ball really well,” Blackburn said. “They beat us off the dribble multiple times where we helped, so they didn’t get a layup. But, they got a wide open three because some of the rotations weren’t as fast as we’d like them to be.”
Hayes (2-3) started strong in the second, getting another McIntire basket and then a Terin Kinsway three-point play to close within 10.
The Pacers had trouble containing Cardinal big man Nick Muszynski underneath at the end of the half, though. He scored on back-to-back possessions after pulling down an offensive rebound and St. Charles led 29-14 at the break.
Muszynski and Zach Donley, 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-6, respectively, proved to be a difficult duo for the Pacers to matchup with inside. Musynski scored 13 points, pulled down eight boards and blocked seven shots for the Cardinals. Donley added six points and eight rebounds.
“We had some quickness disadvantages (and) some size disadvantages,” Blackburn said.
The Cardinals opened the second half 11-2 and cruised from there.
Kinsway was a bright spot for the Pacers. He has posted a new career high in points every game this season, and Monday was no different. He scored 13 points and finished with five rebounds.
“A lot of times I have to remind myself that two years ago he was 12 (years old),” Blackburn said. “I think he just keeps getting better and more physical. To his credit, he really takes film sessions seriously and he has shown marked improvements.
“We think he’s going to be special — he really does care and he really works hard. He’s definitely somebody that the Pacers are excited to have for the next four years.”
The Pacers, whose three losses are to teams with a combined 14-1 record, returns to OCC-Capital play at home against undefeated Olentangy Orange Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
“Our boys and our city will be real excited for Friday night,” Blackburn said. “It’s always a good environment when we play them. I’ve got a lot of respect for (Orange coach Anthony Calo) and what he’s done over there.”
Also: Horizon Science 62, Delaware Christian 49.
Erin McCullough and Elizabeth Blackburn combined for 30 points and 13 rebounds, but host Grove City Christian used a solid final two quarters to rally for a 52-47 win Monday night.
Down 26-23 at the break, Grove City Christian outscored DCS 13-10 in the third and 16-11 in the fourth to smooth out the scoring summary.
GCC chipped away at its deficit from the line, connecting on 15 free throws in the second half.
Madie Morgan finished with 11 points for the Eagles while Liz Sullivan added six rebounds in the loss.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.