The New Albany High School girls basketball team won't have to go through the offseason with the stigma of not getting out of the first round of the Division I district tournament.

The New Albany High School girls basketball team won't have to go through the offseason with the stigma of not getting out of the first round of the Division I district tournament.

Coach Jamie Puryear made sure to thank guard Cheyenne Hartley-Carr for that.

Hartley-Carr scored a season-high 17 points in a 37-34, opening-round win over Worthington Kilbourne on Feb. 18 at Hilliard Davidson. She made several key plays down the stretch to help the 11th-seeded Eagles improve to 16-5 and turn back a Wolves team that finished 5-16.

"We all owe her for this one, because she stepped up and made some great baskets down the stretch and even some defensive plays that were more important than those critical baskets," said Puryear, who improved his postseason record to 8-4. "The last two games she's led us in scoring. She's stepped up."

With New Albany leading 35-34, Hartley-Carr made a steal with 16 seconds left as Kilbourne attempted to get the ball into the post. Hannah Scipio drew a foul in transition and made a free throw.

Scipio made another free throw with 4 seconds left for the final margin, but it was Hartley-Carr who made the lead possible.

The Eagles lost a 29-25 lead and trailed 34-29 with 6:11 remaining when Hartley-Carr hit a 3-pointer near New Albany's bench. With 4:35 left, Hartley-Carr made another 3 to give New Albany its 35-34 lead.

"I knew I was on and just had to keep shooting," Hartley-Carr said. "I had confidence and my team had confidence in me."

With the clock winding down and Kilbourne playing zone, New Albany gave the ball to Scipio, who has been effective this season holding possession at the end of games. She ran nearly a minute off the clock before being called for a double-dribble with under three minutes to go.

On the Eagles' next possession, Scipio ran off more time before getting fouled with less than two minutes to play. She missed the free throw, but after Kilbourne got the rebound, Hartley-Carr was able to force a jump ball that gave the Eagles possession. New Albany didn't score, but Kilbourne didn't get the ball back until there were 35 seconds left.

After a timeout, Kilbourne tried to lob the ball underneath the basket to guard Marissa Elliot, who had scored a team-high 15 points, but the pass went out of bounds. On Kilbourne's next possession, Hartley-Carr stole the ball.

The game played out similarly to the regular-season finale Feb. 10 against Delaware. The Pacers played zone, slowing a New Albany team that was playing without post player Kyasia Duling. Hartley-Carr, who scored 16 points, banked in a 3-pointer to give New Albany a 35-32 lead with 3:55 left.

Scipio then dribbled out most of the clock, eventually hitting four free throws in the final 32 seconds to give the Eagles a 39-32 win.

New Albany played 10th-seeded Upper Arlington in a second-round game Feb. 22, with the winner advancing to play second-seeded Pickerington North or Columbus West in a semifinal at 8 p.m. March 1 at Davidson.

North entered that game 19-2, while West was 1-19.

The Eagles are seeking their fourth district final appearance in five years. In their last appearance in 2010, they lost 68-56 to North.

Last year, the Eagles lost in the first round 40-33 to Dublin Jerome.

"It feels really good to get past the first round and into the second round," Hartley-Carr said. "It helps you want to keep working harder. (The first game) was a good introduction to the tournament. We could have played better, but we got past it and got the win."