It took a while, but the Olentangy High School girls basketball team breezed through the first round of the Division II tournament.

It took a while, but the Olentangy High School girls basketball team breezed through the first round of the Division II tournament.

The Braves, 16-5 overall, held a 9-6 first-quarter lead but rolled to a 73-16 win over Whitehall on Feb. 17 at Dublin Scioto.

"I was disappointed by the first quarter, but the other three quarters were pretty decent," said coach John Feasel, whose team faced Columbus South last Wednesday in the second round. "They've done a good job of focusing on the league, but you go to a whole different level when you start playing in a tournament."

Freshman Brooke Zwayer scored 12 points and junior Jamie Richardson added 11 for Olentangy. The Braves outscored Whitehall 22-0 in the fourth quarter.

Before Feb. 17, the Braves had lost their tournament opener six out of the last seven times since the 2001-02 season. Only senior Christine Delaney and junior Emily Raiff played in its lone tournament win, a 40-30 victory over Mount Vernon during the 2007-08 season.

The Braves last made it to a district final in 2001-02 before losing to Brookhaven 71-41. Their last district championship came during the 1997-98 season.

"We haven't had too many teams here make it into March," Feasel said. "We want to go where no one from our school has ever been."

If Olentangy made it past the Bulldogs, it faces either Licking Heights or Jonathan Alder. The Braves have not faced either opponent this season. The Pioneers, who won Division III district titles in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and also captured the 2006 state championship, were 14-3 overall and ranked fifth in the final Division II area coaches poll. The Hornets, 6-12 overall coming into the tournament, are led by a trio of freshmen including 6-foot-2 Kyasia Duling, 5-8 Asitia Richardson and Chelsea Dunkle.

•One of the positives that came out of Liberty's 67-29 loss to fourth-seeded Brookhaven in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 17 at Dublin Jerome was that 27 of the points the Patriots scored came from underclassmen.

Junior Allyson VanGundy scored nine points and sophomore Erin Pfeifer had six points to lead the Patriots, who were outscored 17-2 in the second quarter.

"That's a good sign for the future," said coach Jennifer Clark, whose team closed the regular season with back-to-back wins over Westerville Central 46-40 on Feb. 12 and Ready 55-42 on Feb. 13 to finish 4-17 overall.

The Patriots finished eighth in the OCC-Cardinal Division with a 2-12 record with wins over Westerville North 48-47 on Dec. 22 and Westerville Central.

Olentangy and Dublin Scioto tied for first with 11-3 records. Westerville South (10-4), Westerville North (9-5), Marysville (6-8), Dublin Jerome (4-10), Westerville Central (3-11) and Liberty rounded out the standings.

The Patriots lost their first five games and 10 games from Jan. 5 to Feb. 10. Liberty was 3-2 in games decided by six points or fewer with a 40-39 victory over Central Crossing on Dec. 30 being the other win.

If Liberty is going to improve next season, it's going to have to rebuild a presence inside. The Patriots lose 6-foot-2 center Brittney Wex, who averaged 11.2 points and 10.7 rebounds, and 5-9 forward Michelle Voss, who averaged 3.6 points and six rebounds, to graduation.

"Michelle and Brittney led us a lot," Pfeifer said. "The thing I'll remember is the times we spent together with the girls and how much we've grown as a team throughout the season. We went from Britney, Michelle and (Allyson VanGundy) leading us to all of us contributing."

Pfeifer, a 5-11 post player who averaged 2.8 rebounds, and VanGundy, a 5-10 guard/forward who averaged 12 points and five rebounds, are the only players over 5-9 expected to return.

While it lacks size, Liberty will be heavy in guards next year with juniors Natalie Lyndes, sophomores Jalynn Guice and freshmen Natalie Durtschi, Maddie Redwine, Kennedy Wilke, Morgan Dye and Karla Levering expected to return.

Levering averaged 4.4 points and 3.8 rebounds and Redwine averaged four points a game.

"The kids we have coming back have a great attitude," Clark said. "I think we could be pretty good."

•Orange had 12 days to get ready for its Division I tournament debut. The Pioneers, who hadn't played since a 56-48 win over Hilliard Bradley on Feb. 12, had a first-round bye and faced Dublin Jerome in the second round last Wednesday. The winner plays either Hilliard Darby or Brookhaven. Orange has not faced either possible opponent this season.

Since starting the season with a 2-2 record, the Bearcats have won 17 games in a row. The Panthers, winners of three of their last four, improved to 13-8 overall with a 64-56 win over Delaware on Feb. 17.

At a glance

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

LIBERTY

Feb. 17 -- Lost to Brookhaven 67-29 in first round of Division I tournament.

Of note: The Patriots finish the year 4-17 overall and 2-12 (seventh) in OCC-Cardinal

OLENTANGY

Feb. 17 -- Defeated Whitehall 73-16 in first round of Division II tournament. The Braves outscored the Rams 22-0 in the fourth quarter. Brooke Zwayer had 12 points and Jamie Richardson had 11.

Last Wednesday -- Played Columbus South in second round. The winner advances to a district semifinal Monday (6:15 p.m.) at Pickerington North against Jonathan Alder or Licking Heights in a district semifinal. The winner advances to district final March 3 (6:15 p.m.) at Pickerington North where possible opponents are Canal Winchester, Hartley, Granville and Eastmoor.

Of note: The Braves were 16-5 overall before last Wednesday and finished 11-3 (tied for first) in OCC-Cardinal

ORANGE

Last Wednesday -- Played Dublin Jerome in a second round of the Division I tournament. The winner plays Monday (8:15 p.m.) against Hilliard Darby or Brookhaven in a district semifinal at Liberty. The district championship game is March 5 (1 p.m.), where possible opponents are third-seeded Upper Arlington, Chillicothe, Reynoldsburg or Westland.

Of note: The Pioneers were 16-4 overall before last Wednesday and finished 10-4 (third) in OCC-Capital.

At a glance

LIBERTY

•Record: 4-17 overall and 2-12 in OCC-Cardinal

•Seniors lost: Michelle Voss and Brittney Wex

•Key returnees: Karla Levering, Erin Pfeifer, Maddie Redwine and Allyson VanGundy