The potential matchup between the Dublin Coffman High School girls basketball team and Gahanna stood out when the Division I district tournament draw was held Feb. 5.

The potential matchup between the Dublin Coffman High School girls basketball team and Gahanna stood out when the Division I district tournament draw was held Feb. 5.

With a pair of victories, the fifth-seeded Shamrocks and sixth-seeded Lions - two young, athletic squads - would square off in a district semifinal.

The time is now.

The anticipated meeting is at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at Hilliard Davidson. The winner faces second-seeded Pickerington North or 11th-seeded New Albany in a district final at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at Davidson.

"It's going to be a good, competitive game," said Shamrocks coach Bryan Patton, whose team is 20-2 and enters the contest on a 17-game winning streak. "Ultimately, I think it will be a four-quarter game and one decided in the last few minutes. That's what you expect this time of year."

Gahanna improved to 16-6 with a 40-28 win over Olentangy Liberty in the second round of the tournament Feb. 21, but two of the Lions' losses came against Reynoldsburg, which was ranked first in the final state poll and is the top seed in the district. Two other losses came at the hands of North, which was fifth in the final state poll.

And the Lions were hardly outclassed in those matchups. They lost to Reynoldsburg 53-50 on Feb. 10 and 31-27 on Jan. 6 and to North 55-51 on Dec. 22 and 53-43 on Feb. 3.

"They will definitely be one of the best teams we've seen all year, and that includes teams we saw in the preseason," senior guard Darian Maynard said. "They have a lot of good players, good speed and can make shots."

Coffman competed against Gahanna in a scrimmage early in the preseason. Not that the game yielded much that can be used now.

"Really, you can take little from something that early," said Patton, whose team beat Watkins Memorial 63-16 in a second-round game Feb. 21. "Maybe philosophy and style, but even that can change over the course of a season."

The Lions are paced by four juniors who earned all-OCC-Ohio Division recognition in guard Quiera Lampkins (first team), 6-foot-1 post player Maddison Blackwell (second team), guard Chrishna Butler (special mention) and 6-0 post player Zenobia Bess (honorable mention).

The Shamrocks' depth is illustrated by the fact that they have no players averaging 10 points. They are led by freshman guard Kamerine Taylor (9.6 points), junior forward McKenzie Bailey (8.6 points and 8.1 rebounds), freshman post player Sade Olatoye (7.5 points and 9.8 rebounds) and junior guard Quynh Vo (6.9 points and 4.0 assists).

Against Watkins Memorial, 13 players scored for Coffman, led by Taylor and junior guard Rylee Axner with nine points each.

North, which is seeking its ninth consecutive district championship, improved to 20-2 with a 94-12 win over Columbus West in the second round of the tournament Feb. 22. That same day, New Albany improved to 17-5 with a 34-24 win over 10th-seeded Upper Arlington in a second-round game.

Coffman, which is seeking its third district title in five years but first since 2009, has not played North or New Albany this season.

The district champion will play third-seeded Olentangy Orange, fourth-seeded Northland, 12th-seeded Zanesville or Newark in a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, at Otterbein University.

Orange is coached by Mary Ann Grimes, who led the Shamrocks to their district championships in 2008 and '09.

"We're playing well," Patton said. "We don't fear anyone. We've sort of been a sleeping giant the last quarter of the year, so we're pretty confident."

•The boys team will play 11th-seeded Gahanna in the second round of the district tournament at 7:45 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Reynoldsburg.

The winner plays third-seeded Liberty or Dublin Scioto in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at Reynoldsburg.

"They're playing well right now," coach Jamey Collins said of Gahanna. "They're quick and they can shoot it. They have done a nice job the last several years. To say it will be a challenge is an understatement."

Coffman improved to 13-8 with a 69-50 win over Hilliard Bradley in the first round of the tournament Feb. 25. The Shamrocks led 19-12 after the first quarter, 29-25 at halftime and 41-35 after the third quarter before outscoring the Jaguars 28-15 in the fourth quarter.

Junior forward Kevin Marsh led the Shamrocks with 19 points and junior forward Jason Hall had 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Bradley finished 9-12.

"We did a good job of keeping our poise even when things didn't go our way," Collins said, "and then we made enough good plays in the fourth."

Gahanna defeated Lancaster 71-44 in the first round to improve to 15-6. The Lions had eight 3-pointers in the game and were led by 6-6 guard/forward Aaron Jackson, who had 19 points, and 6-2 guard Austin Rutherford, who scored 11. Jackson was a first-team all-OCC-Ohio selection and Rutherford made second-team all-league.

Liberty, which was seventh in the final state poll, had a first-round bye and is 18-2. Scioto improved to 11-10 with a 54-44 win over New Albany in the first round Feb. 23.

Coffman did not play Gahanna, Liberty or Scioto during the regular season.

"We finally were able to have the same lineup for two or three weeks," said Collins, whose team has had to deal with several injuries throughout the season but has won three consecutive games. "The guys are finally getting comfortable with each other. The guys realize who they are and what they are. Win or lose, they finally have an identity now."