By Michael Rich
Jason Sieve hit a pair of threes to open the fourth quarter and the Olentangy boys basketball team hung on late to beat host Delaware Hayes 56-47 in OCC-Capital play Friday night.
“I think we stayed tough mentally and had enough small stretches where we scored and they didn’t,” Olentangy coach Chris Kelly said. “I thought we did our best job of the year of being patient and letting the game come to us.”
Sieve’s threes pushed a 37-30 lead to 13, the Braves’ largest of the game, to open the final frame and help propel Olentangy to its third consecutive victory.
“He got started last game — stepping up,” Kelly said. “He went through a little shooting slump, which a lot of players in the world do — even in the NBA. We expected (his shot) to come.”
“I felt like every time that I passed to him, he made it,” Carter Kinnaird said. “I loved it.”
Hayes (5-7, 2-4) made a late charge with seven straight points, but Olentangy (5-3, 4-3) wrapped it up at the line, going 8-for-8 to close it out.
“We think we’re pretty close to having a very good team in the sense of the word team — where 10, 11 guys can step up and make plays at the offensive end and the defensive end,” Kelly said.
Kinnaird led Olentangy with 15 points and seven rebounds. Sieve had 12 points and Sam Hyberg hit a pair of threes to finish with eight.
“I think I did well on the boards (Friday night),” Kinnaird said. “(The win) helps us a lot. We had lots of momentum going into (Friday’s) game. It helps us for the league title (and) that’s our whole goal is to win the league title.”
The Pacers got going early after a three-pointer by Will Yoakum gave them the lead midway through the first quarter.
Terin Kinsway followed with one of his two first-quarter threes to push the lead to four and Zach McIntire hit a pair of free throws to give the Pacers a 14-8 lead.
Kinsway led the Pacers with a career-high 17 points. The freshman also had four rebounds.
“I thought Derrick (Buford) and Terin were everywhere tonight,” Hayes coach Jordan Blackburn said. “Derrick played just so hard and I thought he was an important reason (why) we were in the game.
“I thought Terin played extremely hard. He doesn’t look like a freshman out there, he just looks like one of the guys. I thought both of them played well tonight, but what we need is all eight to play well.”
Olentangy finished the period 6-0, highlighted by a three-point play by Kinnaird after he pulled down an offensive rebound. Kinnaird scored on the next possession to knot the score 14-14.
Hyberg had five, including a three-pointer, and Collin Mathews scored four in a 13-9 second quarter to help Olentangy take a 27-23 lead at the break.
Olentangy was without Brandon Mazzeo, who was out with a groin injury.
“We missed Brandon tonight, but we’ve got a lot of guys that can come in and, they’re not only athletic, but they can score, they can knock down some shots (and) they play hard on defense,” Kelly said.
McIntire and Yoakum finished 7-for-29 from the floor for the Pacers, which was a big key according to Blackburn.
“Obviously, we think that they are darn good high school players,” he said. “We rely on them. Any team we play, if those two guys are (7-for-29) — and you can give Olentangy some credit for that — that’s going to make it tough for our scoring.”
Yoakum finished with 12 points and nine rebounds and McIntire added 12 points and eight boards.
Olentangy is back at it tonight at 7:30 p.m. when it hosts district-rival Olentangy Liberty. Hayes returns to action Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m., hosting league-foe Worthington Kilbourne.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.