Coach Jodi Korbas hopes her Hilliard Darby High School girls basketball team can outrun the cold and flu bugs before her first venture into the Central District tournament.
Korbas played basketball at Ohio State from 1984-87 and coached girls basketball at Shelby the past 10 seasons. At 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, her Panthers open the postseason with a first-round Division I district tournament game at seventh-seeded Olentangy.
She hopes the eight days between the end of the regular season and the district opener would help the Panthers get healthy.
"We're at that time of the season when the cold and flu have been catching up with us," she said. "One at a time, (the players) have been dropping out of practice because of it. We're fortunate that it hasn't happened during the games."
Olentangy was 17-4 before playing Newark on Feb. 12. Darby did not play the Braves this season.
"(The Braves) are a very good team and play in a tough (OCC-Capital) division," said Korbas, whose team is 6-16 overall and seeded 34th in the district tournament. "We have to play one of our best games this year, but it is a new season. Everyone comes into the tournament at 0-0 and gets a fresh start."
The winner advances to play at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, against 21st-seeded Mount Vernon or 25th-seeded Westerville Central at the home of the better seed. Mount Vernon was 11-10 before playing Watkins Memorial on Feb. 12 and did not play the Panthers this season.
Darby was swept by Westerville Central in OCC-Cardinal play. The Warhawks won 43-39 on Jan. 8 despite senior guard Sydney Palsgrove and senior center Emily Krumpe both scoring 15 points.
On Feb. 8, the Panthers lost to Central 44-32. Krumpe led with 10 points and both Palsgrove and freshman guard Sam Sech added five.
The second-round winner plays sixth-seeded Westerville North, ninth-seeded Pickerington North, 36th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne or 37th-seeded Marion-Franklin in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Feb. 28 at Jonathan Alder.
The Jaguars finished seventh (4-10) in the OCC-Cardinal behind Westerville North (14-0), Dublin Jerome (9-5), Dublin Scioto (9-5), Hilliard Bradley, (8-6), Westerville Central (7-7) and Westerville South (5-9) and ahead of Kilbourne (0-14).
Darby lost to Scioto 51-35 on Feb. 5 as Krumpe scored 13 points.
Boys team closes OCC schedule with Bradley
The boys team lost to Scioto 57-54 on Feb. 5, but coach Mark Hess said his team's effort was the most important thing.
"We left Scioto really encouraged," said Hess, whose team is 13-8 overall and 7-6 in the OCC-Cardinal. "The energy that we had at Scioto was the best that we have had all year.
"We were down 15-2 to start the game and we were able to take a four-point lead in the third quarter just off of our effort.
"We have had some slow starts this season and if we can come out and start with that kind of energy, it might have been a different outcome."
Senior forward Nic Baker led with 13 points and junior guard Taylor Van Winkle scored 12, all on 3-pointers. Sophomore guard David Dennis also had 12 points.
The Panthers kept that high level of energy while winning two games in a row entering their regular-season finale Friday, Feb. 15, against Bradley.
On Feb. 8, they defeated Westerville Central 62-34 as Baker scored 14 points and both Van Winkle and senior guard Caleb Day added 11.
Van Winkle scored 15 points as Darby defeated Jonathan Alder 54-52 on Feb. 9. Dennis had 12 points and sophomore guard Jordan Clark added 11.
The Panthers defeated Bradley 51-39 on Jan. 11 in the opening round of league play as Baker scored 16 points and Day added 10.
The Jaguars are 1-19 overall and 0-13 in the OCC-Cardinal.
"That's a game (the players for both teams) have circled," Hess aid. "That's a game they get up for. The kids have known each other, went to school together in the past and will be ready to play.
"It's going to be a tough game. Even though (the Jaguars') record isn't great, (coach) Mike (Limbird) has them playing hard. Their season can be based on whether they come in here and beat us on our own court, and we can't let that happen on our senior night."
The Panthers are seeded 19th of 41 teams in the Division I district tournament and open Feb. 23 at 17th-seeded St. Charles. The winner plays 13th-seeded Newark or 35th-seeded Watkins Memorial in the second round Feb. 27.