A return to Division I seemed to suit coach Chris Kelly and his Olentangy High School boys basketball team just fine.

A return to Division I seemed to suit coach Chris Kelly and his Olentangy High School boys basketball team just fine.

The Braves ousted Delaware 53-40 in the first round of the district tournament Feb. 25 at Jonathan Alder after playing in Division II the past two seasons.

"We kept our poise even through the tough times," Kelly said. "We had 100 good looks and we just couldn't put it in the basket, so that became a struggle. But we talked before the game that defense and rebounding would win it for us even if we had a bad shooting night."

Now the test figures to get a bit more difficult when Olentangy faces sixth-seeded Newark in the second round at 7:45 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Jonathan Alder. The teams have not played this season.

The Wildcats improved to 17-4 by defeating Marysville 72-45 in an opening-round game Feb. 25 at Jonathan Alder.

Junior point guard Jalen Dartis paced the Wildcats with 23 points, six rebounds and three assists. Senior Daniel Logan scored 15 points, senior post player Ben Barnhart had 10 and senior guard Christian Keller added nine.

The winner will play fifth-seeded Westerville North or Franklin Heights in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at Jonathan Alder. The Warriors improved to 17-4 by defeating Watkins Memorial 68-39 in a first-round game Feb. 24. Franklin Heights (5-15) had a first-round bye and did not play the Braves this season.

North beat Olentangy twice in OCC-Cardinal Division play, 71-61 on Jan. 13 and 68-61 on Feb. 17.

Jordan Gingery led Olentangy in the first meeting with 17 points, Seth Clark had 15 and Stephen Walczak added 14.

In the second game, Walczak scored 23 points and Clark added 10.

North tied Westerville South for second (11-3) in the OCC-Cardinal behind champion Olentangy Liberty (12-2). Olentangy went 6-8 in the league.

The semifinal winner advances to a district final against fourth-seeded Pickerington Central, eighth-seeded Westerville South, Groveport or Westerville Central at 6 p.m. March 10 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.

In its district opener against Delaware, the Braves went into a spread offense with a 40-38 lead and about five minutes remaining. That resulted in three consecutive 3-pointers, two by Gingery and the other by Clark.

"We went to the spread thinking we just may be able to get some layups, but it also opened up some wide-open, spot-up 3s," Kelly said. "In general, we're a good 3-point shooting team even though we didn't show that for three-and-a-half quarters. But those were pressure shots and we knocked them down."

Gingery scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Erik Brandt and Clark both had nine points, and Eric MacKay, Ryan Shaffer and Walczak all scored six points.

Kelly was impressed with the performance of Joe Morycz, who came off the bench to score three points.

"I thought Joe Morycz did a nice job off the bench when (Walczak) was in foul trouble," Kelly said. "He had a couple huge plays, including a few offensive rebounds that he kicked back out and we (converted into points). Little plays like that add up to wins."

•Orange defeated Canal Winchester 53-46 in the opening round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 23 at Marysville.

The ninth-seeded Pioneers improved to 16-5 and play a second-round game against Reynoldsburg at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at Marysville. The Raiders (11-9) had a first-round bye and have not played Orange this season.

"Reynoldsburg is very long and athletic and their record really isn't who they are. They are much better than their record," coach John Betz said. "Our interior defense has to play well, we have to be able to rebound and not let them get too many offensive put-backs. If we take control of the boards, I think that our offense will start clicking."

The winner plays 10th-seeded Grove City or Hilliard Davidson in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at Marysville. Neither team played Orange this season.

The Greyhounds (15-6) beat Westland 83-79 in the first round Feb. 25. That same night, Davidson (12-9) defeated Thomas Worthington 54-47 in the first round.

The semifinal winner plays in a district final against top-seeded Northland, Columbus West, Pickerington North or Zanesville at noon March 10 at the Fairgrounds.

Against Canal Winchester, Andy Bosley scored 16 points and Matt Kurelic added 15.

•Liberty, which is 18-2, had an opening-round bye and plays Dublin Scioto in the second round of the Division I district tournament at 6 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Reynoldsburg.

The Irish (11-10) defeated New Albany 54-44 in the first round Feb. 23. They have played third-seeded Liberty twice this season, with the Patriots winning both meetings.

On Jan. 3, Liberty won 59-53 as Jake Bischoff had 18 points, Nick Archer scored 13 and A.J. Motika added 10. In the second game Feb. 7, Archer scored 18 points, Alec Charbonneau had 13 and Bischoff added 11 in a 49-37 victory.

"You know the old adage, that it's tough to beat someone three times, but personally I would rather have beaten someone twice going into a game than have lost to them twice," coach Greg Nossaman said. "They know us and we know them and have to go out at 6 o'clock on Friday and try to do it again. We just have to go in and continue to do what we have done all year."

The winner plays 11th-seeded Gahanna or Dublin Coffman in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at Reynoldsburg. The Patriots have not played either team this season.

Gahanna (15-6) had an opening-round, 71-44 win over Lancaster on Feb. 25. Coffman (13-8) won 69-50 over Hilliard Bradley in the first round Feb. 25.

The district final is 3 p.m. March 10 at the Fairgrounds against second-seeded Walnut Ridge, seventh-seeded Upper Arlington, 12th-seeded Mount Vernon or Worthington Kilbourne.