Big news came in bunches for the Pickerington High School Central girls basketball team entering this week, and the Tigers stood to make more with a win Feb. 2 at home over Newark.

Big news came in bunches for the Pickerington High School Central girls basketball team entering this week, and the Tigers stood to make more with a win Feb. 2 at home over Newark.

Central clinched at least a share of its first OCC-Ohio Division championship since 2008 on Jan. 29, when it used a second-half burst to defeat Grove City 76-47.

Then on Jan. 31 at the draw for the 47-team Division I district tournament, the Tigers were voted the top seed for the first time since 2006.

If coach Johnathan Hedgepeth has his way, no one will be talking about the postseason until after his team's regular-season finale Friday, Feb. 5, at Groveport.

"Many people want us to look forward, and from day one our main goal has been trying to win the OCC (-Ohio)," said Hedgepeth, whose team was ranked fifth in last week's state poll. "That's our big thing. OCC first, and nothing more. Until we get it clinched, that's always our focus. We aren't thinking about districts. We're thinking about the OCC."

Against Grove City, Madison Greene had 21 points and Lydia Hedgepeth and Maliya Perry each added 11 as Central increased a 34-33 halftime lead by outscoring the Greyhounds 30-10 in the third quarter and 12-4 in the fourth.

That win came after the Tigers defeated Pickerington North 64-45 on Jan. 26. Kennedi Jones and Bexley Wallace each had 11 points and Hedgepeth and Perry each added 10.

Central was 17-3 overall and 12-0 in the OCC-Ohio before Feb. 2, two games ahead of second-place Reynoldsburg (10-2) and three up on third-place Newark (9-3).

The Tigers will have seven days off after the regular season before beginning the district tournament at home Feb. 13 against 45th-seeded Central Crossing.

Panthers coming off rivalry losses

North was coming off losses to arguably its two biggest rivals entering a Feb. 2 game against Groveport.

After the Panthers lost to Central, they fell behind Reynoldsburg 27-11 in the first quarter Jan. 29 and lost 59-35.

Danielle Bradley had 13 points and Kyla Sawyer scored 11 against Central. Houston Bush led the Panthers against Reynoldsburg with nine points.

North was 9-11 overall and 5-7 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Groveport.

The Panthers wrap up the regular season Friday, Feb. 5, at Gahanna, and then will have two weeks off before beginning the Division I district tournament. Seeded 23rd, North took a first-round bye and will visit ninth-seeded Hilliard Bradley or play host to 27th-seeded Westerville Central in a second-round game Feb. 19.

North and Pickerington Central conceivably could meet in a district final.

"It was sort of the best option," coach Dave Butcher said.

"When you are in the middle of the pack, your options are limited and you take what you can get. (A potential matchup with Central) was not necessarily what we wanted to do, but both of us would have to win a lot of games to get there. You just can't have injuries all the time, and our kids hopefully will come out and play hard (to end the regular season)."