Dublin Scioto girls basketball coach Jen Music never lost confidence in her team when it trailed Olentangy 16-8 at halftime in a Division I district tournament second-round game Feb. 21.

The 17th-seeded Irish responded by outscoring the 28th-seeded Braves 34-16 in the second half of a 42-32 home win to advance to their second consecutive district semifinal.

"This is a special group and it's always a goal for us to see how far we can get," Music said. "... I feel pretty confident with this group. I knew that they would dig deep. They don't fold and that showed in the second half, that third quarter."

Scioto was 17-6 before playing fifth-seeded Pickerington Central in a semifinal Feb. 26. The teams also met in a semifinal last season, with the Tigers winning 69-33.

The semifinal winner plays second-seeded Watterson or 13th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne in a district final Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Columbus Convention Center.

Scioto split its two OCC-Cardinal Division games with Kilbourne, losing 57-46 on Jan. 3 and winning 43-40 in overtime Jan. 31.

The district champion faces Hartley, Reynoldsburg, Westerville North or Westerville South in a regional semifinal Tuesday, March 3, at Otterbein.

Against Olentangy, Scioto tied the game at 18 midway through the third quarter and took a 21-18 lead on a three-point play by Karleigh Rothe. The Irish never trailed again.

Rothe finished with a team-high 12 points, five rebounds and four steals.

"Coach said (at halftime) that wasn't us out there and that we had to come out and play," Rothe said. "We need to focus on what we do best, rebounding. We needed to get into the paint and just focus on our side, talking up on defense. Once we started doing that, we started to get stuff our way, more points our way, playing good defense. That helped a lot."

Ashleigh Rothe added 10 points and four rebounds. Lauren Erickson also had 10 points, all of which came in the second half.

"(The scoring) was pretty balanced. I like that," Music said.

After being outrebounded 14-4 in the first half, the Irish finished with a 23-17 advantage.

"We had to get back to what we do well," Music said. "We still held them to 16 points in the first half. We just weren't executing the way we needed to on the offensive end. We weren't taking it to the bucket the way we normally do in the first half. We just needed to pick up our energy and get back to the things that we do well."

Scioto opened the postseason with a 43-25 win over 25th-seeded Upper Arlington on Feb. 15 at home. Ashleigh Rothe led the Irish with 10 points.

Wrestlers have high expectations

The wrestling team opens the postseason Saturday, Feb. 29, in a 12-team Division I sectional at UA.

The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the district tournament March 6 and 7 at Hilliard Darby.

"We have to be ready," coach Adam Huddle said. "We're an older group. We have a lot of guys who have a lot of goals, so they don't have a choice. They have to be ready if they want to hit their goals. If they want to do the things that they said they want to, then it's time to go. There's no more time to wait."

Last season, the Irish had four state qualifiers, led by senior Daniel Segura, who finished fourth at 145 pounds. Segura, who is looking to become the program's first four-time state qualifier, is 37-2 this season at 152.

Senior Deron Pulliam is seeking his third state appearance. Pulliam, who finished fifth at 195 last season, is 24-3 this season in the same weight class.

Senior Donovan Hardin and junior Dylan Le also are seeking return trips to state. Le is 30-12 at 113 and Hardin is 30-9 at heavyweight.

Last season at state, Le finished sixth at 106 and Hardin went 0-2 at heavyweight.

"We look forward to the postseason," Le said. "We get into it. We just focus on our techniques and getting a little more conditioning. ... Last year puts a lot of pressure on me because my bar is already high, my standard is already high."

Huddle believes sophomore Matthew Howard (145, 12-9) and freshman Johnathen Segura (126, 10-10) also have a chance to advance to district.

"When you go in with a number (of district qualifiers), be prepared to be underwhelmed or overwhelmed," Huddle said. "You never know. You can't do that to your team. You take up to 14 guys and you hope that all 14 can wrestle their best. You start to evaluate these tournaments more on an individual basis."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

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