LEWIS CENTER, Ohio -- In a gym that lacked energy before the game, Olentangy Orange made up for it on both sides of the ball forcing turnovers on defense and patiently getting the shots they wanted on offense.
Led by junior guard Andre Irvin and senior wing Ryan Cutler, Orange jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in a 57-43 win over visiting Delaware Hayes.
Orange got production from their entire cast tonight, seeing many players make significant plays down the stretch. Irvin and Cutler combined for 32 points and juniors Jason Foster and John Stearns came up big on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter to secure the lead.
For Delaware, everything they did ran through senior forward Paul Burris. He led the team with 18 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. Another senior forward Nabil Abdus-Salaam was incredible on the boards all night pulling in 15 rebounds. The Pacers got a spark from junior guard Ryan Smudz in the third quarter after he knocked down back to back threes, but in the end it wasn’t enough.
Orange’s balanced offensive attack and strong defense late earned them their first win of the season. The Pioneers will look to duplicate this performance on Friday in a big game as they host defending regional champions, Olentangy Liberty.
For the Pacers, they will look to bounce back this Friday at home against Hilliard Darby to avoid an 0-3 start.
Ryan Cutler (6’4 W / Olentangy Orange / 2020): Cutler displayed tonight that he is a threat from every spot on the floor, knocking down 4 threes, scoring at the rim, and capitalizing on his free throws. He was able to stretch the floor and get to the rim almost whenever he wanted. He added seven rebounds and helped Orange clean up the defensive effort in the second half to ensure a victory. Look for Cutler to have a huge season if he continues to be efficient offensively and a leader on the defensive end.
Paul Burris (6’6 PF / Delaware Hayes / 2020): Burris came out of the gate hot, scoring nine in the first quarter and keeping his team in the game. He finished with 18 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks, three of which came in the fourth quarter. Similar to Cutler, Burris proved his ability to score from everywhere on the floor. He had a strong presence in the post and also stepped outside to bury two threes. With most of all Delaware’s offense running through Burris tonight, he is set up to have a big season for the Pacers if that trend continues.
Andre Irvin (5’8 PG / Olentangy Orange / 2021): The junior point guard was shifty tonight with the ball in his hands and showed that he is able to get to the rim at will and find his open teammates. Without taking away anything from Ryan Cutler’s impressive skills, Irvin often set him and his other teammates up for good scoring chances. Irvin was also a problem on defense for Delaware as he was active in the passing lanes and forced many turnovers throughout the night.
Jason Foster (6’5 W / Olentangy Orange / 2021): Foster was mostly quiet tonight until the fourth quarter when he made his presence felt on both sides of the ball. He was the most athletic player on the court and showed that by getting to the rim and finishing through contact. We loved his patience on offense and toughness on defense when it mattered most late in the game. Look for Foster to play a big role on Orange if they want to have success this year.
Nabil Abdus-Salaam (6’4 PF / Delaware Hayes / 2020): We cannot speak enough about how impressive Salaam was on the boards tonight. The way he boxed out and cleaned up on the glass awarded him 15 rebounds. He was very quiet offensively, only scoring one point, but the hustle on 50/50 balls, defense, and rebounding did not go unnoticed. This will be an important factor that Delaware will need more of this season for them to be successful.