By Michael Rich
McKenna Ford hit three three-pointers and scored all 10 of her points in the first half to help the Olentangy Orange girls basketball team build a 28-7 lead at the break on its way to a 43-22 win over Delaware Hayes Friday night in Delaware.
Ford and Schae Lilley combined for 21 points thanks to six of the Pioneers’ seven three-pointers to pace the offense.
“It’s a confidence thing,” Pioneers coach Bob Scott said. “When they’re making shots, they have a lot of confidence.”
Ford capped a 14-1 start by Orange with threes on back-to-back possessions to help it gain a 21-5 advantage after one.
“We started out great,” Scott said. “Defensively, I thought we played really well. We started off shooting really well and got some steals.”
Hannah Sargent, who stuffed the stat sheet with 10 rebounds and six assists to go with six points, fed Alyssa Feely for a basket in the third quarter that gave the Pioneers their largest lead of the game at 36-10.
“She’s long-armed, she’s tall and she’s lanky,” Scott said. “She’s got long arms and she’s deceptive.”
Feeley had seven boards and a couple of steals to go with four points off the bench for Orange. Lena Mancini finished with three points, three rebounds, three assists and a team-high three steals.
“(Feeley) has been playing pretty well,” Scott said. “When she goes in, I know what I’m going to get —I know she’s going to play defense and she’s going to rebound. We probably have to get her the ball a little more in positions when she’s going to (score).”
Pacers coach Jim Morgan thought his team should have played better in the first half against the Pioneers.
“I give (Orange) all of the credit in the world — they played well in the first half — but, they’re not a great team … they’re a good team,” he said. “When you come out and score seven points in the first half and act like you haven’t seen a press before — can’t catch, can’t dribble — that’s what happens. You gotta come ready to play, that’s the bottom line.”
Hayes (4-15, 1-11) closed strong, using a 12-2 run in the third and fourth quarters to close to within a 20-point deficit. Brandy Bauer and Jessica Walker each had three points to pace the Pacers.
“I thought we played a lot harder in the second half … that’s what I wanted to see,” Morgan said. “(I wanted to) see who still wants to play and who still wants to play hard. And they did — they played hard — they didn’t play great, but they played hard.”
Bauer finished with a team-high eight rebounds and Walker added five boards.
“I can honestly say that (Bauer) has given me everything she’s got this year,” Morgan said. “All of the kids have, they really have.”
Katie Blair led Hayes with five points and pulled down three rebounds and Elisha Lowery finished with four points and three boards. Hannah Rafeld finished with five boards and three steals.
Both teams continue league-play Tuesday night. Orange is at home against Franklin Heights and Hayes travels to Mount Vernon. Both are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.