With the Dublin Scioto High School girls basketball team seeded third in the Division I district tournament, its coaches realized getting past the first round could be more about the Irish than their opponent.

With the Dublin Scioto High School girls basketball team seeded third in the Division I district tournament, its coaches realized getting past the first round could be more about the Irish than their opponent.

Scioto looked determined Feb. 18 when it opened against Worthington Kilbourne and won 76-33, extending its winning streak to 14.

Scioto entered last Wednesday's second-round contest against Groveport at 20-1 overall and looked like a focused team intent on making a fourth consecutive trip to a district final. The Irish enjoyed a 35-13 halftime lead and Kesi Hess led the way with 19 points. Brandi Gorniak had 15 and Lindsey Kell added 10.

"We knew we had to come out strong and stay consistent," Gorniak said. "We've been using last year's loss in the tournament as motivation and we really haven't had to say a lot about it because we understand the importance of getting back to the championship game."

Pickerington Central, seeded fifth this season, beat Scioto a year ago 70-62 in overtime in a district final. The two teams are in the same bracket this year and could meet in a district final.

"We've been guarding it extremely well and we've worked very hard to dictate tempo," coach Todd Hardesty said. "We've been able to do a lot of good things offensively off of our defense. I think the good teams have to have that balance and score in many ways once you get to this point in the season."

The winner last Wednesday will meet seventh-seeded Reynoldsburg or Hilliard Darby in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Monday at Olentangy Orange.

Reynoldsburg improved to 17-4 with a 67-11 victory over Harvest Prep in a tournament opener Feb. 19. In the OCC-Ohio Division, it beat Pickerington Central twice but suffered defeats twice to eighth-seeded Grove City and sixth-seeded Pickerington North.

"Like every team in that division, they are a seasoned group," Hardesty said. "It's an any-given-night type of league and they knew in that division they had to bring their best every night."

Darby, which lost to Scioto 56-43 on Dec. 10, used a strong defense to get past Westerville North 45-22 in the tournament opener Feb. 19.

The Panthers were 11-10 before last Wednesday. They had won three of their last four games, with the loss coming to second-seeded and unbeaten Delaware 54-52 on Feb. 10.

•The second-seeded boys team wrapped up its third consecutive undefeated season in the OCC with a 77-40 win last Friday at Marysville.

The Irish, who have won 35 consecutive league games, finished 14-0 in the OCC-Cardinal ahead of Westerville South (12-2), Westerville Central (9-5), Olentangy Liberty (6-8), Westerville North (7-7), Olentangy (5-9), Dublin Jerome (3-11) and Marysville (0-14).

"If you asked me at the beginning of the season if I thought we'd finish undefeated in the league, I would've said no," said coach Tony Bisutti, whose team was 19-1 overall before last Wednesday's first-round tournament game against Briggs.

"You usually don't start a season without thinking you're going to stub your toe or have a bad game somewhere along the line. We had a good run, but we had some luck, too."

Bradley McDougald hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to defeat Olentangy 65-64 on Jan. 23. Four days later Scioto got past South 47-45.

The winner last Tuesday will play Columbus West in a second-round matchup at 6:15 p.m. Saturday at Olentangy Orange. The Cowboys are 5-15 overall and have lost six of their last seven games.

West defeated Briggs 72-55 on Feb. 10.


At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Scioto boys and girls basketball teams:

BOYS

*Last Friday -- Defeated Marysville 77-40. Despite shooting just 25 percent from the field in the first half, Scioto held a 29-10 lead at halftime.

Last Wednesday -- Played Briggs in first round of Division I district tournament. The winner will play West at 6:15 p.m. Saturday at Olentangy Orange. Scioto is seeded second.

Of note: The were 19-1 overall before last Wednesday and finished 14-0 in the OCC-Cardinal. They have won 35 consecutive OCC games.

GIRLS

Feb. 18 -- Def. Worthington Kilbourne 76-33 in first round of Division I district tournament. Scioto is seeded third.

Last Wednesday -- Played Groveport in second round. The winner will play seventh-seeded Reynoldsburg or Hilliard Darby at 8 p.m. Monday at Olentangy Orange in a district semifinal.

Of note: The Irish were 20-1 before last Wednesday.

*OCC-Cardinal game