The first half of the Hilliard Darby High School girls basketball team's game against Worthington Kilbourne on Jan. 21 was really no indication of the way the Panthers are capable of playing.

The first half of the Hilliard Darby High School girls basketball team's game against Worthington Kilbourne on Jan. 21 was really no indication of the way the Panthers are capable of playing.

Kilbourne scored the game's first eight points and the host Panthers scored only seven points in the first half and trailed 15-7 at halftime before rallying for a 27-26 victory in the OCC-Central Division contest.

"We finally came out and played in the third quarter with some intensity and some inspiration," coach Liz Lehman said. "Usually we play a decent first half and then get into a hole in the third quarter. We played the opposite of that this time."

The Panthers led 21-20 entering the fourth quarter after outscoring Kilbourne 14-6 in the third. Alex Hoferkamp scored her only point on a free throw with 20 seconds remaining to secure the victory.

Darby, which was 2-12 overall before playing Central Crossing on Jan. 25, defeated Westland 54-40 on Jan. 7 for its other win.

Bri Rispress led the Panthers with 10 points and nine rebounds. Sydney Palsgrove had eight points and Emily Krumpe scored five.

"Bri is a phenomenal rebounder and she gets most of her points off rebounds," Lehman said. "Sydney Palsgrove scored eight points, which is great because she's also our best defender. She has great footwork and never seems to get tired. She does a good job containing the other team's best player. It's always good to have a player who can lock down the other team's best player and hold them below their average."

Krumpe, a sophomore post player, is the Panthers' only player with varsity experience from last season. She was averaging 5.8 points through 13 games and scored a season-high 18 points in a 51-42 loss to Hilliard Davidson on Jan. 14.

"Emily Krumpe has been wearing a protective mask because she broke her nose and (Jan. 21) was the first game she had played without (the mask) for a couple of weeks," Lehman said. "She had been playing well and it took her a while to get used to playing without it.

"Emily's confidence is building and we see the skills she has and that they are getting better. She wants to be good, she is really coachable and we're happy with her progress."

Rispress was leading the Panthers in scoring through 13 games, averaging 6.2 points, followed by junior guard Annie Hilditch (6.1).

"We're playing together more as a team and we're playing with more confidence since the win over Westland," said Hilditch, who had a team-high 19 3-pointers through nine games. "The first half (against Kilbourne) we didn't come to play, but we knew we could start over in the second half and play with passion."

Kilbourne beat the Panthers 39-23 on Dec. 7. Lehman said Darby is much-improved since the first meeting.

"We were 1-for-17 shooting in the first half and we were able to overcome that," said Lehman, whose team made 12 of 16 free throws. "Honestly, the biggest difference was the intangibles. We believed that we were able to pull it out.

"In the past, we would get down on ourselves, but we didn't do that (Jan. 21 against Kilbourne). We were a little more relaxed instead of playing tight and worrying about making mistakes."

Hilditch believes the victory over Kilbourne will help the Panthers the rest of the season.

"We can take away that we believe in ourselves and we came back from the deficit," she said. "It shows that we can compete against teams in our conference and overcome deficits to win."

AT A GLANCE

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

BOYS

Jan. 18 - Lost to Marysville 43-42. Brennan Hook scored 19 points. Matt Cyrus had nine.

*Jan. 21 - Lost to Worthington Kilbourne 49-34. Bryson Hook scored 10 points.

*Jan. 25 - Played Central Crossing

*Jan. 28 - At Upper Arlington

*Feb. 4 - At Dublin Coffman

Of note: The Panthers were 4-9 overall and 2-6 in the OCC-Central before Jan. 25.

GIRLS

*Jan. 18 - Lost to Reynoldsburg 59-19. Alex Hoferkamp scored 10 points.

*Jan. 21 - Defeated Kilbourne 27-26

*Jan. 25 - Played Central Crossing

*Jan. 28 - Home vs. Upper Arlington

Feb. 1 - Home vs. Ready

*Feb. 4 - Home vs. Coffman

Of note: The Panthers were 2-12 overall and 2-7 in the OCC-Central before Jan. 25.

*OCC-Central game