The Division I tournament contest today between the Dublin Scioto High School girls basketball team and Pickerington Central seems more fitting for a district semifinal or final.

The Division I tournament contest today between the Dublin Scioto High School girls basketball team and Pickerington Central seems more fitting for a district semifinal or final.

Instead, they're the only two seeded teams to meet in the second-round.

"It's kind of strange to get a game this good this early," said Scioto coach Todd Hardesty, whose team improved to 15-4 overall following the 64-48 victory over Groveport in a first-round game on Feb. 18. "I truly anticipate a night featuring what high school girls basketball is all about."

The ninth-seeded Irish have won six in a row, while the 10th-seeded Tigers have won 10 of 11 games, including an 80-31 win over Watkins Memorial in the tournament opener.

Central's only loss during that stretch was to top-seeded Pickerington North (48-36 on Jan. 26), which could be a possible district final opponent.

Only to adding to the drama is that the teams met Jan. 16 in Central's All-Ohio Prep Shootout, a game which the Tigers won 54-42.

"Realistically, we look at that game from a familiarity standpoint," said Central coach Wade Brockwell, whose team is 14-6 overall. "We know some of the things they do and their personnel. That's about it. Other than that, we're on a roll right now and, hopefully, we can keep it going against a good basketball team."

Scioto also fell to Central 70-62 in overtime during a district final in 2007-2008.

"We've never beaten any Pickerington school in the tournament," senior guard Katie Papesh said. "Coach Hardesty has made us aware of that. We didn't give up when we faced them this year, but I don't think we played with very much excitement."

The Tigers jumped out to an 18-6 first-quarter lead Jan. 16, but Scioto played them even the rest of the way.

For the Irish, the game followed a devastating 52-51 loss to Marysville.

"We were coming off a huge loss, and they were coming off a big win over Reynoldsburg," Hardesty said. "I think the difference in emotion was evident early.

"They hit a couple of 3s on us and you could kind of see our shoulders droop."

Hardesty is very much concerned about Central's post play.

Jasmine Henshaw finished with 13 points in the first meeting. She was leading the Tigers with 7.5 rebounds per game.

Amy Buccilla was averaging 13.4 points.

Central's defense will be focused on Papesh (12.3 points) and Lindsey Kell (12.8).

"Amy Buccilla has been on a big streak," Brockwell said. "She's on fire lately. Our confidence level and understanding of playing together has improved. When you start doing that kind of stuff, things get better for you."

Both teams have a limited bench so foul trouble will be a worry.

The winner advances to a district semifinal Tuesday against seventh-seeded New Albany or Hilliard Davidson at Olentangy Liberty.

New Albany is 18-3 overall and earned a share of the OCC-Capital Division title. Davidson was 11-9 overall and finished 10-4 (tied for second) in the OCC-Central, behind third-seeded Upper Arlington.


At a glance

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

BOYS

Feb. 17 -- Defeated Hilliard Bradley 42-38

*Last Friday -- Def. Marysville 48-35

Last Saturday -- Lost to Linden McKinley 47-38

Last Tuesday -- Played Grove City in a first-round Division I tournament game. The winner plays Westerville North Friday at Worthington Christian Middle School.

Of note: The Irish were 5-15 overall before last Tuesday.

GIRLS

Feb. 18 -- Def. Groveport 64-48 in a first-round Division I tournament game. Lindsey Kell led three players in double figures with 19 points.

Today -- At Dublin Jerome against 10th-seeded Pickerington Central in second-round game. The winner advances to a district semifinal Tuesday at Olentangy Liberty against seventh-seeded New Albany or Hilliard Davidson.

Of note: The Irish are 15-4 overall.

*OCC-Cardinal game