The Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team gets another chance against Pickerington North when it plays host to the Panthers on Saturday in an OCC-Ohio Division contest.

The Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team gets another chance against Pickerington North when it plays host to the Panthers on Saturday in an OCC-Ohio Division contest.

The Raiders are seeking their first win against North. If they get it, it would serve as a signature win for the program and would increase their chance of getting a high seed for the Division I district tournament.

The tournament draw will be held Feb. 7.

North, which was ranked first in the Division I state poll last week, improved to 14-1 overall and 9-0 in the OCC-Ohio with a 60-32 win over Groveport on Jan. 21. The Panthers played Pickerington Central last Tuesday.

North defeated the Raiders 50-41 in overtime on Dec. 17.

Reynoldsburg led 37-30 early in the fourth quarter but couldn't maintain its lead, in large part because of its poor shooting from the foul line. The Raiders made just eight of 19 free throws, including only one of seven in the second half.

The Raiders were 0-for-5 from the line in the fourth quarter.

"In the first game, we had our chances," forward Aryelle Covington said. "We have to run when we can, get loose balls and hit our free throws."

Forward Kavunaa Edwards led North with 23 points and was averaging 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds through 15 games. Guard Nicole Olszewski added 15 points, making five of six free throws in overtime.

Post player T'Shera Lucas had 20 points to lead Reynoldsburg, which was 11-4 overall and 6-3 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Newark last Tuesday. Covington scored nine points and forward Kenyell Goodson scored eight.

Lucas said the team has been concentrating on its free-throw shooting in practice.

"In practice, if we miss free throws, we all have to run 'suicides,'" she said. "Against Pickerington North, we have to get fouled and then make our free throws. Last year against Pickerington Central (in a district final) and this year against North, the free throws have been important. They can win you a game."

In its 46-43 loss to Central in a district final last season, Reynoldsburg went 3-for-10 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

"We have to be consistent at both ends of the court, we have to go 32 minutes and finish things off," coach Jack Purtell said when asked what his team needs to do to beat North. "We were winning late against North, but turnovers and free throws hurt."

Starting with Saturday's game against North, Reynoldsburg has four regular-season games remaining. Though some players have an assortment of bumps and bruises, Lucas said those players must fight through their pain.

"If we all want it, we have to ask ourselves, 'Are you hurt or are you injured,'" Lucas said. "You've got to work and play through it, period."

Three teams ranked in the top four in the state poll last week -- North, second-ranked Upper Arlington and fourth-ranked Dresden Tri-Valley -- are in the same district with Reynoldsburg. That is why the Raiders must finish strong if they want a chance to earn a high seed for the district tournament.

"Because of our inconsistency, it might hurt us, plus three of the top teams in the state are in our district," Purtell said. "If we have a good week, we have ourselves a top four or five seed. But as I tell the team, you don't have to beat every team; you only have to beat who you play."