The Central Crossing High School girls basketball team entered the Division I district tournament looking to set a new standard for the program.

The Central Crossing High School girls basketball team entered the Division I district tournament looking to set a new standard for the program.

The Comets are hoping to reach a district semifinal for the first time, but to do so they must defeat third-seeded Olentangy Orange in the second round at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, at Westerville Central.

That's no small task considering Orange improved to 19-2 with a 75-16 win over Westland in the first round on Feb. 17. The Pioneers won the OCC-Capital Division title at 13-1.

"They like to push the ball and put some points on the board," coach Neil Hohman said. "They've scored a lot of points. Our goal is to slow the game down a little bit and make them play the tempo we want to play, so we can run our offense. We have to work on getting back on defense and make sure we're not giving them any easy shots. They have some nice post players (6-foot-3 junior Ashley Bassett-Smith and 6-1 junior Kelsey Lewis) and a good point guard (5-7 sophomore Taylor Agler), so they're good from inside and outside."

The winner will play 10th-seeded Logan or Dublin Scioto in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, at Olentangy Liberty. The district final will be played at 4 p.m. March 5 at Liberty.

Central Crossing improved to 9-12 overall, surpassing last season's win total when it finished 8-13, and earned the program's third postseason win by defeating Independence 60-35 in the first round Feb. 17 at Olentangy.

The Comets' other tournament wins came against Watkins Memorial (60-48 in 2004) and Zanesville (40-38 in 2009).

Against Independence, Central Crossing led 18-7 after the first quarter, only to see the 76ers tie the game at 24 by halftime.

"We didn't play great in the first half," Hohman said. "We missed a lot of easy shots, layups."

The Comets, however, regained control in the third quarter, outscoring Independence 24-13 to open a 48-37 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Sophomore Jalynn Graham scored a game-high 22 points to lead Central Crossing. Olivia Davis added 15 points.

"Jalynn played real well," Hohman said. "I thought she did a good job finishing and controlling and pushing the ball."

Grove City ended its season with a 67-37 loss to ninth-seeded Upper Arlington in the first round of the district tournament Feb. 17 at Hilliard Davidson.

The Greyhounds closed the season on a 17-game losing streak and finished 2-19 overall and 1-13 in the OCC-Ohio.

Against UA, Grove City kept the game close early on, trailing 16-9 after one quarter as junior Danielle Terry scored five of her team-high seven points in the quarter.

"Danielle is one of the bright spots," coach Dale Corbett said. "She played well. She's getting better."

UA used a strong inside game to pull away in the second quarter, as it led 35-14 at halftime. The Golden Bears, who improved to 16-5, maintained a comfortable lead throughout the second half.

"Once we got down, we just didn't fight back," Corbett said. "I didn't think we played particularly well."

Senior Alyssa Sammeth and sophomore Miranda Frase added six points apiece for the Greyhounds.

"You can look at us and tell that we're not very big," Sammeth said. "Also, we don't handle pressure very well. We tend to beat ourselves with turnovers."

Grove City loses three seniors in Sammeth, Taryn Allmon and Lindsey Eickel. Sammeth led the team in scoring (8.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.8) and was honorable mention all-OCC-Ohio.

"It takes a lot to be able to lose 19 games and stay close," said Sammeth, who missed the past two seasons because of knee injuries. "We were definitely very close."

In addition to Frase and Terry, expected to return are juniors Kayla Behrens, Allison Miller and Nicole Sprow, and sophomores Anna Conti and Kristen Mesler.

"I think it's a good group coming back," Corbett said. "We need to get together a lot more in the summer and in the offseason and work. We need to get a little physically stronger. There's some talent there."

Mesler, a 6-foot-4 center, has potential to be a solid player, according to Corbett.

"If she put some time into it, she could be a difference maker," Corbett said.

Grove City tied Groveport for seventh in the OCC-Ohio, behind Reynoldsburg (14-0), Pickerington North (12-2), Gahanna (9-5), Newark (9-5), Pickerington Central (6-8) and Lancaster (4-10).

The Greyhounds' wins came against Westland (60-16 on Nov. 26) and Groveport (47-40 on Dec. 10).