WILLARD -- The Buckeye Central girls basketball team is headed to the regional tournament, again.
The Buckettes upended Sandusky St. Mary's 47-42 in Saturday night's Division IV district championship tilt at Willard High School.
Coach Abram Kaple's team roared to a commanding 13-3 first-quarter lead and it proved to be the decisive stretch of the game. The Panthers rallied to within 19-14 at halftime, but B.C. weathered the storm and enjoyed a 32-25 advantage heading to the final period. St. Mary's outscored the Buckettes 17-15 in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough to keep Kaple's team from snipping the nets.
Sandusky St. Mary's finished the season at 17-7.
Buckeye Central improved to 22-3 and earned a ticket to Thursday's 8 p.m. Massillon Perry regional. B.C. tangles with Willoughby Cornerstone Christian. The Patriots beat Willoughby Andrews Osborne 50-42 for the Grand Valley District championship on Saturday.
The Sweet 16 pairing sets up a rematch of last year's regional, when B.C. earned a tough, 57-53 victory to dismiss the Patriots from the tournament.
Dalton meets Berlin Western Reserve in the first game of Thursday night's regional. The two survivors tangle in Saturday night's regional championship game for a berth in the Division IV Final Four in Columbus.
Buckeye Central earned a regional title last season and reached the state tournament before falling to Ottoville at the Final Four.