As the Dublin Scioto High School boys basketball team searches for hope in a rebuilding year, last week's two-game winning streak couldn't have come at a better time.

As the Dublin Scioto High School boys basketball team searches for hope in a rebuilding year, last week's two-game winning streak couldn't have come at a better time.

The Irish intended to build on that confidence as they entered a three-game stretch last Tuesday against the top teams in the OCC-Cardinal Division.

"It was tough the first time around, but those teams were just physically better than us at that point," coach Tony Bisutti said. "Our guys are coming out and competing again and they've responded like I thought they would."

Scioto nipped St. Charles 42-41 on Jan. 19 and produced its best offensive night in the 71-56 victory at Olentangy last Friday.

The Irish were 3-9 overall and 1-7 in the league before playing Westerville South last Tuesday.

"We're playing 10 times better," junior guard Jacob McPheters said. "We were really feeling down about ourselves and we really needed those wins. We've been coming around and we're starting to come together as a team."

Entering play last Tuesday, South was atop the OCC-Cardinal at 8-0, followed by Westerville North (7-1), Westerville Central (5-3), Olentangy (4-4), Olentangy Liberty (4-4), Marysville (2-6), Dublin Jerome (1-7) and Scioto.

The Irish hope for a better finish Friday at North after the Warriors used a late run to win 63-50 on Dec. 18.

North's Ralph Hill scored 30 points.

"They made an 8-0 run on us last time and that's how it ended," Bisutti said. "One spurt is all it took. Hill got hot and hit some 25-footers on us. We were playing a lot of zone against him. We were kind of between a rock and a hard place with him. There's really no good solution in stopping him."

The Warriors had won five in a row before meeting Westerville Central last Tuesday. Central fell to South 72-67 in overtime last Friday.

Scioto had a 47-45 lead over Central with a minute left when the two teams met Dec. 22. After that, the Warhawks went on a 6-0 run to win 51-47.

"We're trying not to give up that big run," McPheters said. "We've had a lot of turnovers, but we're really starting to cut down on that. The biggest thing is that we're starting to know better where everybody is on the floor with our cutting and passing."

Along with McPheters, Scioto has been relying on two freshmen, Antonio Bisutti and Josh Ashwill, to handle the ball at guard. They went a combined 10-10 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter against Olentangy.

Ashwill hit two 3-pointers and finished with 12 points off the bench.

Last week marked the first time Scioto had two players in double figures. Raneal Ewing finished with 18 against Olentangy and Jamare Mills added 12.

Leading scorers Ewing and Mills each scored 15 points against St. Charles.

"It would go a long way for our psyche if we could knock off one of these teams," coach Bisutti said. "That would only help us down the road. We've jelled a little bit and some guys have stepped up and maybe we've grown up a little bit."