The pressure players face during the postseason is different than that of the regular season, and perhaps nobody understands that better than Utica High School girls basketball coach Michelle Snow.

The pressure players face during the postseason is different than that of the regular season, and perhaps nobody understands that better than Utica High School girls basketball coach Michelle Snow.

The Redskins have compiled an 83-17 record in the regular season in five years under Snow and captured three outright MBC championships, including this season. But they are 7-4 in tournament play under Snow, and three of the wins came a year ago as Utica reached a Division III district final before losing to Newark Catholic 66-63.

The postseason lasted just one game for the Redskins in 2007, and they exited in the second round the year before that despite going undefeated in the regular season.

Snow hopes her fourth-seeded Redskins avoid another sluggish start when they play Fairbanks in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Olentangy Liberty.

"We were OK tonight, once we settled down, anyway," she said after a 47-29 victory over Worthington Christian in the second round last Wednesday at Delaware.

The Warriors, who finished 4-17, forged a 9-all early in the second quarter as Utica struggled with turnovers and fouls.

"I don't know what it is about tournament time," Snow said. "Even the better teams we've been scouting have shown jitters early on. That's just how the tournament is I guess."

Unseeded Fairbanks could capitalize if the Redskins, who are 19-3 and have won nine in a row, let it happen again.

The Panthers evened their record at 11-11 by eliminating eighth-seeded Jonathan Alder 49-39 in the first round Feb. 16 and seventh-seeded West Jefferson 53-48 in the second last Tuesday. Solid first-quarter efforts played a role in both victories.

Fairbanks led the Pioneers, who finished 13-7, 10-3 after eight minutes. Against the Roughriders, who finished 17-4, it led 17-8 after the first quarter.

Guard Lyndsey DeRoads scored a combined 27 points in the two games. Twin guards Nora and Emily Boerger also are threats from 3-point range. The Panthers made a combined nine 3-pointers in the two games.

The winner will play in a district final at 5 p.m. Saturday at Liberty, likely against top-seeded Marion Pleasant.

"We're hoping for a big week," post player Tricia Harvey said. "But we know we have to play better, especially at the start."

Heath advanced to play in a district semifinal against fifth-seeded Marion Elgin at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at Liberty. The unseeded Bulldogs beat third-seeded Newark Catholic 55-39 last Wednesday at Pickerington North to improve to 15-7. The Green Wave finished 18-4.

The Comets routed Cardington 67-37 last Tuesday as coach Bill McElroy earned his 300th career win. They were led by junior point guard Taylor Price with 10 points, eight rebounds, five assists and six steals.

The winner Tuesday will play in a district final at 2 p.m. Saturday at Liberty, likely against second-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek.

Also in Division III, Northridge finished 0-21 with a 50-27 loss to Amanda-Clearcreek last Wednesday and Johnstown finished 11-11 with a 48-40 loss to Grandview last Wednesday.