A slow start in a Division I district final ended up being too much for the Olentangy High School girls basketball team to recover from Feb. 27 at Ohio Dominican.

A slow start in a Division I district final ended up being too much for the Olentangy High School girls basketball team to recover from Feb. 27 at Ohio Dominican.

The third-seeded Braves, who lost to sixth-seeded Newark 69-54 to finish 22-4 overall, settled for a district runner-up trophy for the sixth time in seven seasons.

"There are a lot of teams that would like to win as many tournament games as we've won the last seven years," said John Feasel, who was named district Coach of the Year. "Getting there and losing sucks, but getting there is the hard part."

The Braves, who trailed 22-8 by the end of the first quarter, committed 16 first-half turnovers and were behind 35-24 at halftime.

Newark improved to 20-6 and won its second consecutive district title.

"(Feasel) runs a lot of good stuff over there, and you've got to force them to do things," Newark coach J.R. Shumate said. "We got out on them a little bit in transition in the first quarter. We dictated where things were going to be going with our defense."

Olentangy got 12 points from Chelsea Moore and 10 from Olivia Margolies.

The Braves opened the postseason with wins over 42nd-seeded Delaware (75-26 on Feb. 13) and 47th-seeded Franklin Heights (73-32 on Feb. 17) and then beat 10th-seeded Teays Valley 47-44 on Feb. 24 in a district semifinal at Newark.

Senior Kelly Meade averaged 15.4 points and was first-team all-district and all-league. She leaves as the all-time leading basketball scorer, for boys and girls, at the school with 1,413 points.

Moore, a senior who averaged 6.0 points, was honorable mention all-league.

Olentangy went 13-1 to win the OCC-Capital Division ahead of Worthington Kilbourne (11-3), Mount Vernon (10-4), New Albany (9-5), Orange (7-7), Big Walnut (4-10), Delaware (2-12) and Franklin Heights (0-14).

Junior guard Allison Raiff and sophomore guard Molly Delaney both were second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district. Raiff averaged 5.3 points and Delaney averaged 6.8.

Also eligible to return are juniors Julia Scott (guard), Abbey Feasel (wing player) and Gillian Feasel (wing player), sophomore Grace Pennington (guard) and freshmen Emily Margolies (forward) and Olivia Margolies (forward).

Olivia Margolies averaged 6.2 points and 6.0 rebounds.

"We'll have Molly Delaney coming back, Grace Pennington coming back, Alli Raiff who was all-district honorable mention, and I think Olivia Margolies is going to be pretty good," coach Feasel said. "We're going to miss our seniors. They were a tight-knit group."

Patriots' season ends in district semi

Liberty coach Sam Krafty had been warned that seasons like last year do not come often.

The Patriots won their first Division I district and OCC-Central championships a year ago while going 25-2.

This season, Liberty's best player, senior guard Alexa Fisher, missed 10 games with injury, including her team's 48-39 loss to 11th-seeded Upper Arlington in a district semifinal Feb. 24 at Orange.

Liberty, the second seed, finished 21-4 overall.

"I'm going to miss this team," Krafty said. "Obviously not having (Fisher) makes a pretty big difference, but I'm pretty proud of my kids. This is about getting back up after getting knocked down."

The Patriots opened the postseason by beating 44th-seeded Westland 80-37 on Feb. 13 and 35th-seeded Orange 48-32 on Feb. 19.

Fisher was hurt during a 54-41 win over Teays Valley on Jan. 16 and missed the last eight games, including a 56-40 loss to UA on Jan. 22 and a 57-42 loss to Dublin Coffman on Feb. 5 in the regular-season finale.

The Patriots shared the league title with Coffman at 12-2, ahead of UA (11-3), Thomas Worthington (9-5), Hilliard Davidson (6-8), Marysville (4-10), Central Crossing (1-13) and Westland (1-13).

Fisher, who averaged 13.9 points and made first-team all-league and second-team all-district, likely would have been able to play had the Patriots reached a district final Feb. 27. She dressed but did not play in the tournament loss.

Lauren Hofer, who averaged 11.5 points and made first-team all-league and honorable mention, and Savitha Jayaraman, who averaged 7.2 points and was honorable mention all-league, were other key seniors.

Junior guard Breanna Yashko, who was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, averaged 12.5 points.

Also eligible to return are junior Katie Harrop (guard) and sophomores Sydney Englehart (wing player), Kennedy Kashmiry (guard), Lauren Spicer (post player) and Jessica Thomas (post player).

"(Yashko) is probably the most improved player in the Central District, and she'll be as improved next year," Krafty said.