As the Hilliard Darby High School girls basketball team prepares to meet the leaders in the OCC-Central Division standings, it can't help but point to what happened a week earlier.

As the Hilliard Darby High School girls basketball team prepares to meet the leaders in the OCC-Central Division standings, it can't help but point to what happened a week earlier.

Thomas Worthington's 3-pointer with 2 seconds remaining last Friday ensured the upset of previously unbeaten Upper Arlington 45-42.

"We feel like anything can happen right now and that only makes us even more motivated heading into these games and playing everyone a second time," senior Allison Jordan said. "We're talking about how we want some respect and we want to be considered a threat in the league."

The Panthers, 9-5 overall and 5-3 in the league before playing Central Crossing last Tuesday, remained in the hunt for an OCC-Central title.

Hilliard Davidson and UA were tied atop the standings at 7-1, followed by Dublin Coffman (6-2) heading into play this week.

In last week's Division I state poll, UA was second behind Pickerington North.

"Thomas Worthington's win really showed that UA is beatable and I think that's reenergized us," said coach Liz Lehman, whose team plays at UA Friday ahead of Tuesday's contest at Dublin Coffman. "They got us on our home court and now we're hoping to get them at home."

The losses to UA (56-30 on Dec. 18) and Coffman (44-33 on Dec. 22) ended a four-game winning streak to open the season.

In those games, Darby was without senior point guard and leading scorer Kalee Seagle, who continues to see limited playing time with soreness in both ankles.

Without her, the Panthers have struggled to handle opponents' pressure. Darby committed 20 turnovers in its first meeting with the Golden Bears.

"We're trying to rest her as much as possible," Lehman said. "We've been trying to cut down on (turnovers) and really work on our shot selection. I think Kalee provides a calming presence when she's on the floor and she can do a lot on her own."

Before the loss to Thomas Worthington, UA had won 19 consecutive regular-season games dating back to last season.

Coach Chris Savage would like to see his team become more consistent in its 3-point shooting. Free throws also have been inconsistent.

The loss to the Cardinals might have been the wake-up call the Golden Bears needed.

"I'm happy our defense has been pretty consistent, but our offense is nowhere near where it needs to be," Savage said. "As strange as that sounds, that's kind of a positive for us. We're winning now despite our offensive deficiencies. If we were firing on all cylinders offensively right now, we might be peaking too early and not at tournament."

UA is led by senior Ashley Stuart (5-6), juniors Mary Corbett (5-7) and Sarah Hobbs (5-7) and sophomore Michela Paradiso (5-6) as guards.

"I think they transition well and we're going to have to be ready for that," Jordan said. "We're going to have Kalee back and that should help us handle their pressure a little better. We need to have fewer turnovers and just play all-around better defense."

The Panthers play Davidson on Feb. 10, a game which was postponed on Dec. 4 following the death of Davidson student Arthur Lane, who was hit by a train.