The Upper Arlington High School girls basketball team never got its offense going against New Albany in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

The Upper Arlington High School girls basketball team never got its offense going against New Albany in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

The Eagles made sure of that.

Seeded 11th, New Albany burned time off the clock with a ball-control offense and held the 10th-seeded Golden Bears to a season-low offensive output on its way to a 34-24 win on Feb. 22 at Hilliard Davidson.

UA finished 16-6 overall, while New Albany improved to 17-5 and advanced to play second-seeded Pickerington North in a district semifinal on Thursday, March 1, at Davidson.

The Bears' previous lowest point total came in a 34-26 win over Central Crossing on Feb. 3.

"You feel like you are out there for what seems like a lifetime playing defense and you're still giving up points," senior guard Michela Paradiso said. "Having that to keep happening is really frustrating and really tough."

UA trailed 20-16 after the third quarter but tied the game at 20 on a pair of free throws by Paradiso with 4 minutes, 25 seconds left. According to coach Chris Savage, the turning point occurred when New Albany guard Cheyenne Hartley-Carr made back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Eagles a 26-20 lead with 3:10 left. New Albany point guard Hannah Scipio made eight of 10 free throws in the final 1:28 to seal the outcome.

Senior forward Olivia Menden led UA with eight points and Paradiso scored five. Scipio led New Albany with 19 points.

"That's the game right there," Savage said of Hartley-Carr's 3-pointers. "Six points in a low-scoring game is huge. We didn't score (many points). And when you don't score, you can't win many games."

New Albany's slow-down style has been effective, as the Eagles have won eight of their last nine games. They scored more than 50 points only twice during that stretch but held their opponents to an average of 31 points. Third-seeded Olentangy Orange, which defeated the Eagles 46-39 on Jan. 27, is the only team to score 40 points or more during that stretch.

UA finished 12-2 in the OCC-Central Division to place second, behind Dublin Coffman (13-1) and ahead of Central Crossing (11-3), Davidson (7-7), Thomas Worthington (6-8), Hilliard Darby (4-10), Westland (2-12), and Worthington Kilbourne (1-13).

The league will undergo realignment next school year, with Darby and Kilbourne leaving the OCC-Central for the OCC-Cardinal and Olentangy Liberty and Marysville moving from the OCC-Cardinal to the OCC-Central.

All five opponents that defeated UA advanced to a Division I district semifinal: Coffman (39-38 on Dec. 10 and 54-43 on Jan. 13), Newark (51-38 on Jan. 28) Pickerington North (59-49 on Nov. 26), Watterson (53-40 on Dec. 29) and New Albany.

Paradiso called a 55-30 win over Central Crossing on Dec. 20 the highlight of the season. The Comets were 8-0 entering the game.

"That is when we put everything together," Paradiso said. "We were playing well individually and as a team."

UA loses five seniors in Menden, Paradiso, forwards Zeina Hidmi and Maddie Spielman and guard Jackie Hobson.

Paradiso averaged a team-high 10.3 points, 4.4 assists and 3.3 steals and was named first-team all-league. Menden averaged 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds and made second-team all-league, and Spielman averaged 5.4 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds and made honorable mention all-league.

Expected to return are juniors Holly Holsopple (guard), Katie Kapusta (center), Macauley Mikes (guard) and Allee Overmyer (forward) and sophomores Kyle Croxton (guard), Andi Norman (forward) and Annika Wachtman (guard).

Norman averaged 9.1 points and 3.1 rebounds and was named special mention all-league.

"I'm frustrated for the five seniors," Savage said. "I love them with all my heart. They've been part of two league championships (in 2009-10 and 2010-11). They provided a model for the other kids. They showed the other kids how to be a basketball player, how to be a student and how to be leaders at our school."