Senior forward Mary Frances Gardner was disappointed with the outcome but not the effort after the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls basketball team's 37-34 loss to 11th-seeded New Albany in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 18 at Hilliard Davidson.

Senior forward Mary Frances Gardner was disappointed with the outcome but not the effort after the Worthington Kilbourne High School girls basketball team's 37-34 loss to 11th-seeded New Albany in the first round of the Division I district tournament Feb. 18 at Hilliard Davidson.

"We put everything we had out there. It hurts, but it feels good that we played a full game," Gardner said. "That's something we've been working on all season. Even though we did lose, there's nothing else we could've done."

The Wolves held a 34-29 lead with 6 minutes, 14 seconds remaining, but the Eagles closed on an 8-0 run. Senior guard Marissa Elliott had 15 points and sophomore guard Kayla Pack added 12 to lead the Wolves.

Kilbourne finished 5-16 overall, while New Albany improved to 16-5 before playing 10th-seeded Upper Arlington in the second round Feb. 22 at Davidson.

"I know the scoreboard doesn't reflect that, but we played an outstanding game," coach Steve Palmer said. "Their effort was awesome tonight. I can't fault anyone."

Defensive effort was a staple for the Wolves, who allowed 46.6 points per game this season.

However, they struggled to a 1-13 record and last-place finish in the OCC-Central Division. Kilbourne beat Westland 37-23 on Dec. 16 for its only league win.

Dublin Coffman won the league title at 13-1, followed by Upper Arlington (12-2), Central Crossing (11-3), Davidson (7-7), Thomas Worthington (6-8), Hilliard Darby (4-10), Westland (2-12) and Kilbourne.

The Wolves lose two seniors in Gardner and Elliott.

Expected to return in the frontcourt are juniors Maria Calvert, Hannah Loveday and Sienna Haslup. The backcourt should feature Pack and juniors Lauren Barnhart, Alex Malone and Mackenzie Wilson.

Elliott was second-team all-league and Pack was honorable mention.

"They know what it takes to battle now," Palmer said. "We need to keep moving forward and not look back at what we didn't do."

•Zanesville's speed was one of Thomas coach Laurie Barr's top concerns entering her team's first-round Division I district tournament game Feb. 16 at Pickerington Central, and it proved to be too much for the Cardinals in a 60-24 loss.

The 12th-seeded Blue Devils capitalized on turnovers and used their fast break to take a 25-10 lead at halftime.

"We knew they liked to get up and down the court, but we hoped we could do some other things to negate that," Barr said. "Unfortunately for us, they played well and they were able to keep with their game plan."

"We were ready to win and we had the right mindset," said sophomore guard Laura Gomez, who scored eight points. "But we just started getting frustrated. We had a couple of turnovers and that just brought us down."

Thomas finished 8-12, but Barr saw signs of growth this season.

"The wins and losses aren't where we'd hope to be, but if we look back at the growth of the individuals in our program, we've done some amazing things," she said. "Right now, we're just going to sit back and reflect on what went well and what areas we need to work on as coaches. It's always exciting to see how they progress and how they mature in the offseason."

Thomas will lose senior point guard Kim Hoerauf (second-team all-league) and senior guard/forwards Whitney Miller (honorable mention all-league) and Erica Morris. Hoerauf averaged 12.1 points and made 72.7 percent of her free throws. Miller averaged 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds, and Morris 4.7 points and 2.9 rebounds.

Leading the expected returnees are Gomez and juniors Frannie Frazier (first-team all-league) and Mariana Bonilla. Frazier was the team's top scorer (12.9 points per game) and top rebounder (7.5).

Also expected to return are juniors Kamille Freeman and Clare Janoski, sophomores Nya Cason and Ally Lucas and freshmen Tara Bank, Jordan Fischbach Tatiana Gonzalez and Francie Zidonis.

Gomez, who scored as many points against Zanesville as she did in the 10 regular-season games in January and February, said she will use the tournament loss as motivation in the offseason.

"I've tried to become more of a shooter. That's something I've been trying to work on," Gomez said. "I want to build up my strength so I can go up stronger to the basket, make more of my shots and play better next year."