The Olentangy High School girls basketball team is somewhat relieved to be facing Gahanna today in the second round of the Division I district tournament at Hilliard Davidson.

The Olentangy High School girls basketball team is somewhat relieved to be facing Gahanna today in the second round of the Division I district tournament at Hilliard Davidson.

The Braves have spent most of their time since a 55-41 loss to Westerville South in their regular-season finale Feb. 13 beating up on each other in practice.

"We've been working hard the last couple of days," coach John Feasel said. "It's almost like being at the beginning of the season again. The girls just love two-a-days."

The Braves have gone 1-5 in tournament openers the last six years. Gahanna improved to 13-8 after defeating Teays Valley 49-23 in the first round Feb. 19.

Gahanna finished fifth at 7-7 in OCC-Ohio Division, which featured fifth-seeded Pickerington Central, sixth-seeded Pickerington North, seventh-seeded Reynoldsburg and eighth-seeded Grove City.

"They're well-tested," Feasel said. "(Pickerington North coach Dave Butcher) said Gahanna would probably be second in any other division of the OCC, so they must be pretty good."

Gahanna is led by Haley Schmitt, a junior center who has averaged 12.6 points in February. She had 15 points against Teays Valley.

"It's going to be hard to stop her. She can score from anywhere," Feasel said. "We're going to have to do a good job at boxing her out. They have some nice guards but hopefully we can pressure them so they can't throw it into her."

• Orange finished its inaugural season 8-13 overall after losing to sixth-seeded Mifflin 51-36 on Feb. 18 at Olentangy in the first round of the Division II district tournament.

The Punchers scored the first 10 points and never looked back.

"We spotted them a 10-point lead and you can't do that in the tournament," coach Amber Ellison said. "Once we got past the jitters of playing in our first tournament game, we did well."

Orange got within 22-18 at halftime, but the Punchers outscored the Pioneers 22-9 in the third quarter.

The loss snapped Orange's three-game winning streak.

Ellison said the high point of the season came in during a stretch from Dec. 23 to Jan. 9, which included victories over Watkins Memorial 52-33 on Dec. 23, Beechcroft 42-32 on Jan. 3, Franklin Heights 47-41 on Jan. 6 and Hamilton Township 51-37 on Jan. 9.

Orange finished fifth in the OCC-Capital at 4-8 behind Delaware (12-0), New Albany (9-3), Big Walnut (8-4) and Mount Vernon (7-5) and ahead of Franklin Heights (1-11) and Watkins Memorial (1-11). Big Walnut was seeded first and New Albany was seeded second for the Division II district tournament and Delaware was second in the Division I district tournament.

The Pioneers had no seniors and expect to return juniors Megan Walker, Chelsea Mayweather and T.J. Williams, sophomore Taylr Thompson and freshmen Haley Mucha, Allison Donatelli and Kelsey Lewis.

Walker led the team in scoring average (9.4). She made 31 percent of her 3-pointers (37 of 127), but in the last seven games shot 42 percent. Donatelli averaged 8.6 points and 3.0 assists. Lewis averaged 8.5 points and 7.8 rebounds. Williams, who suffered a stress fracture in a leg in a 60-40 loss to Big Walnut on Dec. 12, averaged 7.8 points and 6.8 rebound in the eight games she played.

"These kids improved from game one to 21," Ellison said. "They got a lot of game experience and got comfortable with my system."

At a glance

ORANGE

•Record: 8-13 overall, 4-8 (fifth) in OCC-Capital

•Seniors lost: None

•Key returnees: Allison Donatelli, Kelsey Lewis, Haley Mucha and Megan Walker

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Liberty and Olentangy girls basketball teams:

LIBERTY

Last Wednesday -- Played Northland in second round of Division I tournament. The winner advanced to a district semifinal Tuesday at Olentangy Orange against Upper Arlington or fourth-seeded Dresden Tri-Valley, with the district final set for March 7.

Of note: The Patriots were 10-10 overall before last Wednesday and finished 8-6 in the OCC-Cardinal.

OLENTANGY

Today -- At Hilliard Davidson vs. Gahanna in second round of Division I district tournament. The Lions were 13-8 after defeating Teays Valley 49-23 on Feb. 19. The winner will play top-seeded Dublin Coffman or Newark in a district semifinal Wednesday at Orange, with that winner advancing to a district final March 7.

Of note: The Braves are 6-14 overall and finished 5-9 in the OCC-Cardinal.