Correction: A previous version of this story had the incorrect class for Delaware Hayes’ Porter Barickman.
Porter Barickman could read the tea leaves after last season. Despite leading the Delaware Hayes girls basketball team in rebounding, averaging 6.4 per game, she wasn’t assured the post position for her junior campaign.
Barickman was a key contributor inside as the Pacers finished 14-8 overall and tied Westerville South for second (9-5) in the OCC-Capital Division behind Westerville North (12-2). But this season, she’ll play extensively on the perimeter.
“It was a little weird at first because I’ve never really played outside,” she said. “In the offseason, I played outside with my AAU team (United) because they also have another big. Over the summer, I went to Just Hoops and worked on (my shot).”
Despite her prowess on the boards, the 6-foot Barickman saw the emergence of junior Sam Toney (6-3) down the stretch last year.
“With Sam now as a post, we can work together and have two bigs on the floor,” Barickman said. “We can swing the ball, high-lows are (an option) and one of us is going to have a mismatch.”
The move wouldn’t be possible without Toney’s work in the offseason.
“She just really changed her body during the offseason,” fifth-year coach Lou Tiberi said. “She got herself in really good shape. She’s just improving every day and putting herself in a position where she’s going to play a lot for us this year.
“Sam is definitely a back-to-the-basket player. You don’t see a lot of twin towers in basketball any more. We (will do) some double low-post with them.”
Barickman will play with two proven outside threats in seniors Chloe Jeffers and Sophie Midura. Each shot 40% from 3-point range last year, and Barickman wants to be another threat from beyond the arc.
“As a post player, you should still be able to hit mid-range shots,” she said. “(My shot) has improved a lot. Last year, I wasn’t much of a shooter. This year, it’s a lot better and I’m just going to try to keep improving it.”
Tiberi already has seen Barickman’s improvement.
“I think she made the most 3s for us in our scrimmages,” Tiberi said. “She’s moved from that strictly back-to-the-basket post player to a person we’re fine with shooting a 3-point shot. She went (from being) a very poor free-throw shooter to (being) one of our best, most consistent free-throw shooters.”
Barickman also has seen success as a goalie for the girls soccer team, which has captured back-to-back league titles, winning for the first time in program history in 2020. Junior guard/forward Sara Dudley also is a midfielder in soccer.
“I think it helps us want to strive to do better,” Barickman said. “We’re back-to-back champions and we want to get that in (basketball), too.”
•Coach: Brock Cunningham, first season
•Top players: Abbie Bell, Cami Elliott, Deanara Mbouge, Layla Merriweather and Mia Raines
•Key losses: Ella Bishop, Jenna Boucher, Maddie Goodman and Courtney Suchan
•Last season: 6-17 overall
•2020-21 OCC-Cardinal standings: Marysville (8-2), Olentangy (6-4), Hilliard Darby and Dublin Jerome (both 5-5), Berlin and Thomas Worthington (3-7)
•2021 postseason: Lost to Logan 45-42 in second round of Division I district tournament
•Outlook: The Bears have a new coach in Cunningham, who was a boys assistant at Marysville for 17 years before replacing three-year coach Megan Phillips. He wants to take advantage of the team’s speed and athletic ability by pushing the ball as much as possible.
Senior forward Mbouge returns after missing last season with a knee injury, but another returning starter, junior guard Bishop, will miss the season with a knee injury. Mbouge joins junior forward Bell for a strong inside presence. Sophomores Merriweather and Raines and freshman Elliott will share time at point guard.
•Quotable: “We’re blessed with athleticism and speed. I think we’re going do things to get up in (the opponent) and press. Deanara is a presence and Abbie moves well for a post player. We will change things up and who will be playing depending on matchups of who we are playing.” — Cunningham
•Coach: Lou Tiberi, fifth season
•Top players: Porter Barickman, Sara Dudley, Chloe Jeffers, Sophie Midura, Taylor Shumaker and Sam Toney
•Key losses: Alexis Amabile, Myah Byers, Alyssa Griner and Telijah McCollum
•Last season: 14-8 overall
•2020-21 OCC-Capital standings: Westerville North (12-2), Delaware and Westerville South (both 9-5), Dublin Scioto (7-6), Worthington Kilbourne (7-7), Big Walnut (6-8), Canal Winchester (5-8), Franklin Heights (0-14)
•2021 postseason: Lost to Canal Winchester 61-52 in first round of Division I district tournament
•Outlook: The Pacers continued their upward trajectory last season, competing for a league title. But to take the next step, Tiberi believes his team needs to have success in the postseason. Delaware, seeded 17th in last year’s district tournament, was upset in the first round by 27th-seeded Canal Winchester, a team it had defeated twice during the regular season.
Delaware will be led by Jeffers, a senior guard and Butler signee who was honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league as a junior. Jeffers does a little bit of everything, averaging 13.4 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.8 steals last year while shooting 49% from the field and 40% from 3-point range.
Midura, a senior guard/forward, averaged 6.8 points and 4.2 rebounds and shot 41% from the floor and 40% on 3s on her way to honorable mention all-league honors last year.
The Pacers have to replace outside scoring threat Amabile (19.2 points), who was honorable mention all-state, second-team all-district and first-team all-league.
Last year’s leading rebounder, Barickman (6.4 rebounds), a junior, will give Delaware some versatility as she’ll play both inside and outside as junior Toney contributes underneath.
•Quotable: “We’ve made nice strides everywhere (in the past) except for the tournament. It’s just a hurdle we haven’t been able to get over … and that’s something we want to change, obviously. I think we have a good nucleus of players returning, but our depth is going to be an issue. We only have six girls returning with varsity experience from last year. We’ve got Chloe Jeffers, so we should be a competitive team. I really believe (Jeffers) is one of the top all-around players in the state.” — Tiberi
•Coach: Tom Waterwash, second season
•Top players: Gigi Bower, Emma Karagheuzoff, Addison Marston, Sarah Mitchell, Taylor Redman and Jordan Rich
•Key loss: Caitlin Splain
•Last season: 13-11 overall
•2020-21 OCC-Central standings: Dublin Coffman (10-0), Liberty and Hilliard Bradley (both 7-3), Hilliard Davidson (3-7), Orange and Upper Arlington (1-8)
•Postseason: Def. Pickerington North 57-42; lost to Bradley 46-40 in second round of Division I district tournament
•Outlook: Liberty has a young group featuring sophomores Bower, Karagheuzoff and Mitchell, but it’s an experienced group.
Rich, a senior forward, and Bower are Liberty’s top two returning scorers. Both were honorable mention all-district and second-team all-league last year.
Rich, who averaged 10.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.3 assists, has developed an outside shot. Bower averaged 9.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals while shooting 39.5% from 3-point range.
Redman, a senior forward who was honorable mention all-league, should be a factor inside after averaging 5.7 points and 4.2 rebounds.
The Patriots have to replace Splain, who was honorable mention all-state, second-team all-district and first-team all-league after averaging 13.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.0 steals.
•Quotable: “We’ve been right on the edge. We’ve had good seasons — good records with good runs — but we’re looking to make that next step into the traditional powerhouse teams in central Ohio. The kids have worked really hard, so we’re going to keep our expectations high.” — Waterwash
•Coach: John Ballmer, first season
•Top players: Danielle Arhin, Camryn Cummings, Paige Pawlikowski and Sofia Sferra
•Key losses: Dani Beidelman, Kennedie Doup, Ellen Kinnaird and Meg Spohn
•Last season: 12-9 overall
•2021 postseason: Def. Big Walnut 50-35; lost to Logan 52-44 in Division I district semifinal
•Outlook: Ballmer views Olentangy’s biggest strength as the post with Arhin, a senior, and juniors Sferra, a move-in from the Chicago area, and Pawlikowski. Cummings, a junior, has some length at 5-11 on the wing.
Ballmer, who coached with the Olentangy boys program the past four seasons, is on the girls side for the first time since coaching at Shanahan Middle School from 2012-16.
Seniors Bridgett Stafford and Isabelle Walters lead Olentangy outside along with Adi Schaffner, a sophomore, running the point. Stafford returns after a one-year absence.
Olentangy has to replace 2021 graduates Doup (9.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists) and Spohn (7.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists). Both were honorable mention all-district. Spohn was first-team all-league and Doup was second-team all-league.
•Quotable: “We’ll be able to run, but primarily we’re going to want to feed the post and score from there or kick it out if they double team because we do have some good shooters, too. We’ve got good senior leadership in (Arhin, Stafford and Walters). The future looks good for our program.” — Ballmer
•Coach: Brian Cromwell, second season
•Top players: Ellie Beck, Emma Delmore, Mairin O’Brien and Madison Yanka
•Key loss: Kayla Delmore
•Last season: 3-18 overall
•2021 postseason: Lost to Newark 62-13 in second round of Division I district tournament
•Outlook: The Pioneers will be without sophomore guard Kayla Delmore (second-team all-league), who suffered a season-ending knee injury in an open gym just before preseason practice. However, returning are Kayla’s twin sister, guard Emma Delmore, senior point guard Beck and sophomores O’Brien (forward) and Yanka (guard).
Senior guards Kate Collins and Molly Strickland and junior guard Jordan Sullivan saw varsity time last season. Senior forward Grace Deller is a move-in from Ortonville (Michigan) Brandon.
•Quotable: “We definitely have more depth, but losing Kayla was a blow. We have been trying to find ourselves and our new identity. They have been asked to do more and they have been doing a great job. We’re definitely going to work a lot of transition on offense and we plan to play 10 players and get up and down the court.” — Cromwell
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Girls Basketball: Barickman’s expanded game to benefit Delaware Hayes