After setting the program record for wins, the Central Crossing High School girls basketball team entered the postseason with high expectations.

After setting the program record for wins, the Central Crossing High School girls basketball team entered the postseason with high expectations.

But the Comets' stay in the Division I district tournament nearly was short-lived.

Central Crossing trailed Pickerington Central for most of the game before rallying in the fourth quarter for a 30-25, first-round win Feb. 15 at Westerville South.

The eighth-seeded Comets improved to 18-3 and played 14th-seeded Newark in the second round Feb. 21 at Pickerington Central. Newark defeated Marion-Franklin 63-17 in a first-round game Feb. 15.

The Central Crossing-Newark winner will play third-seeded Olentangy Orange or 36th-seeded Walnut Ridge in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. March 1 at Pickerington Central.

"In the district tournament, being a top-10 seed, it's always good to get that first win, especially against a good Pickerington Central team," coach Neil Hohman said.

Central Crossing, which surpassed the 2004-05 team that finished 15-6 for most wins in a season, nearly stumbled against the 26th-seeded Tigers, who finished 7-14.

"We came out a little unsure of ourselves and they came out with nothing to lose," Hohman said. "They don't have any seniors on the team, so they just came out playing hard and shocked us a little bit."

Pickerington Central scored the first eight points and opened a 17-5 lead early in the second quarter.

The Comets closed to 17-10 at halftime and outscored the Tigers 9-6 in the third quarter behind two baskets from Jalynn Graham and an Olivia Davis 3-pointer.

Central Crossing tied it at 23-all on Amber Huggins' two free throws and took its first lead at 27-25 on Graham's basket following an offensive rebound with 3 minutes, 10 seconds remaining.

Graham drove for two points and added one of two free throws to close the scoring.

Davis finished with 10 points and Graham scored nine.

"I believed in my team and I knew we could come back and win," Davis said. "We came together and worked as one not five individuals, just as a family."

The Comets also beat the Tigers in their season opener, 49-36 on Nov. 29.

"I try to stress ... it's always a game of runs," Hohman said. "It has its highs and lows and you just have to keep an even keel and eventually it's going to come back your way if you keep working and doing things right."

•The season ended for Grove City with a 69-34 loss to ninth-seeded Watterson in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 14 at Orange.

The Greyhounds finished 5-16 overall.

Grove City played Watterson without juniors Ashley Antrobus and Miranda Frase, who were out with illnesses, and sophomore Jordan Sargent, who broke her right tibia during a 65-50 loss to Pickerington Central on Feb. 10.

Sophomore guard Jen Draper led the Greyhounds with 15 points.

"We played a good team and we didn't play well," coach Dale Corbett said. "Offensively, we didn't play well at all."

Grove City finished seventh in the OCC-Ohio Division at 2-12, behind Reynoldsburg (14-0), Pickerington North (12-2), Gahanna (9-5), Newark (8-6), Pickerington Central (6-8) and Lancaster (5-9) and ahead of Groveport (0-14).

The Greyhounds' league wins came against Groveport, 64-62 on Dec. 9 and 67-64 on Jan. 24.

Grove City also defeated Marion-Franklin twice, 67-43 on Nov. 29 and 58-56 on Jan. 14 in the Erwin Crenshaw Classic at Westland. The Greyhounds beat Licking Heights 62-48 on Dec. 22.

The Greyhounds lose one senior in guard Danielle Terry, who scored seven points against Watterson.

"Danielle is a good kid and a good captain," Corbett said. "She played hard every night."

"All of us are real close and all of the girls are young, and I was the only senior," Terry said. "A lot of the other girls didn't have as much varsity experience. I played varsity as a sophomore and I remember how I felt. I just felt like everything was so fast-paced and I just had to remind the girls to slow down and play smarter because that is something you get as you play."

The top returnees are expected to be Antrobus, Draper, Frase, Sargent and 6-foot-5 junior center Kristen Mesler.

Other players expected to contribute next season are juniors Mackenzie Harris and Bailee Smith, sophomores Megan Darst and Bree Kilgus and freshman Kayla Mitchell.

Draper was special mention all-league and Mesler was honorable mention all-league.

"It's a young team and hopefully it will get better," Corbett said. "I like my group; we're going to be fine. I would have liked to have more wins, but it's a slow thing."