Upper Arlington High School girls basketball coach Chris Savage liked what he saw from his team defensively in a 40-24 victory over Mount Vernon in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 18 at Hilliard Davidson.

Upper Arlington High School girls basketball coach Chris Savage liked what he saw from his team defensively in a 40-24 victory over Mount Vernon in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 18 at Hilliard Davidson.

However, he didn't like what he saw offensively.

"I saw some good defense and very little offense," Savage said. "We really need to correct those problems and work on our composure offensively. We need to get to an area where we are comfortable against pressure and not panic and throw (the ball) away."

Seeded 10th, UA improved to 16-5 and advanced to play 11th-seeded New Albany in the second round Feb. 22 at Davidson. The second-round winner plays second-seeded Pickerington North or Columbus West in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. March 1 at Davidson.

The Golden Bears trailed Mount Vernon 7-6 after the first quarter but outscored the Yellow Jackets 12-4 in the second quarter and 8-4 in the third to open a 26-15 lead.

"I don't really know (what's going on with our offense)," senior forward Olivia Menden said. "We've just kind of hit a slump and sometimes you just hit a slump. The important thing is that you bounce back."

Through 21 games, UA was 8-0 when scoring at least 50 points and 8-5 when scoring fewer than 50.

Menden has been among their key contributors. Through 21 games, she had 10 double-doubles, including an 11-point, 11-rebound performance against Mount Vernon. Sophomore forward Andi Norman also had 11 points against the Yellow Jackets, who finished 6-15.

"She's been a sparkplug for us and has really played well on the inside," Savage said of Menden.

"We've been focusing on the basics," Menden said. "(Playing solid) defense and making the little things count are what wins games. They are the building blocks you have to go back to."

North was 19-2 before playing West, which had a first-round bye after going 1-19 in the regular season. The Bears have not played West this season but lost to North 59-49 in the opener Nov. 26.

UA led the Panthers 40-39 through three quarters but was outscored 20-9 in the fourth quarter.

"(Getting another shot at North) would mean a lot, especially to us seniors," Menden said. "We know we have what it takes to play a good game against them. We proved that at the beginning of the season."

UA has had two of the past four seasons come to an end at the hands of North. The Panthers beat the Bears 63-46 in a district semifinal last year and defeated UA 55-48 in a district semifinal in 2008.

"Pickerington North is a preeminent program in the area," Savage said.

"If we keep improving, we'll be considered a good program. However, we won't be considered a great team until we beat one of the big ones."