The Licking Valley High School girls basketball team overcame a sluggish start to post a 56-39 victory over Hamilton Township in a Division II second-round tournament game Tuesday at Central Crossing.

The Licking Valley High School girls basketball team overcame a sluggish start to post a 56-39 victory over Hamilton Township in a Division II second-round tournament game Tuesday at Central Crossing.

"I don't think we were moving our feet enough defensively and that let them score some easy layups," said coach Ty Crawmer, whose Panthers led only 14-11 after the first quarter. "We got better in the second half, and now we're taking another step forward."

The Panthers improved to 12-10 with a fourth consecutive victory. They will play second-seeded New Albany in an upper-bracket semifinal at 8 p.m. Monday at Pickerington North. The Rangers, who had a first-round bye, finished 5-14.

"We didn't really know a whole about (Hamilton Township)," Licking Valley senior guard Karoline Wilson said. "We just tried to play together as best we could. It took us a while, though."

Wilson scored a game-high 20 points and finished with five 3-pointers, two of which came early in the second half as the Panthers pushed their lead to 46-27 by the end of the third quarter. Stephanie Cooperrider scored 10 of her 12 points in the first half and Megan Overbey added nine points.

The Rangers played without senior Megan Campbell, a West Virginia Wesleyan-signee who first-year coach John Denen said was ill. Lacey Marcum scored 14 points while Brooke Parsley had 10.

"We didn't have a lot of gas left in the tank," Denen said. "A lot of our girls have been sick."