With his team trailing for most of the game Jan. 21 at Grove City, Reynoldsburg High School boys basketball player Wendell Davis led the comeback from a pair of large deficits on the way to a 65-60 victory.

With his team trailing for most of the game Jan. 21 at Grove City, Reynoldsburg High School boys basketball player Wendell Davis led the comeback from a pair of large deficits on the way to a 65-60 victory.

For coach Chris Rider, performances such as the one Davis had that night - when he had a game-high 25 points and at times took over the game with his physicality - have been enjoyable to watch.

"It's hard not to like him," Rider said of Davis, a 6-foot-4 sophomore forward. "For a young kid, he's a pretty good leader, and he plays with a lot of heart. He can handle the ball, but he's even better around the bucket. He really battles. You saw him face up and take some guys off the dribble (against Grove City), and he did a good job of finishing. He might have had one turnover, but I didn't see too many."

Davis spent most of last season on junior varsity but moved up to varsity in early February and averaged 5.5 points over the Raiders' final seven games.

He has taken a big step forward this season.

During a 78-53 loss to Delaware on Dec. 18, Davis scored a season-high 27 points. Since then, he's been averaging 14.1 points, raising his season average to 13.3.

Perhaps more important is what he has brought to the frontcourt with his rebounding ability.

With the Raiders trailing 36-29 early in the third quarter Jan. 21, Davis had 10 points, five rebounds and two steals before the end of the period.

Reynoldsburg took the lead at 37-36 midway through the third quarter, but Grove City rebuilt the advantage to 54-45 with 6 minutes, 51 seconds remaining. Davis then helped lead another charge in the fourth quarter by contributing seven points, six rebounds and one blocked shot.

Reynoldsburg had lost three of its previous four games before beating the Greyhounds.

"Practice was real good (last) week and people were more determined," Davis said. "We found the shooters and we played with a little more heart."

The Raiders, according to Davis, have spent time during recent practices doing rebounding drills. That's nothing new for Davis, who has at times brought the ball upcourt for the Raiders but primarily plays forward at the AAU level.

Davis played on the Ohio Varsity White team that won the AAU U-15 state championship last June.

Brookhaven's Randal Clarkson, Gahanna's Aaron Jackson and Westerville North's Jack Gibbs were guards on that team.

"Shooting and handling the ball is something I want to keep getting better at," Davis said. "(Rider) told me before the start of the season that he wanted me to take the ball up the court, so I've been working on dribbling and shooting and I've been getting better."

RIDER'S MILESTONE -Also contributing offensively to the win over Grove City were Spencer Kirksey (15 points) and R.J. Raglin (11 points).

The performances of Davis, Kirksey and Raglin, combined with a technical foul on the Greyhounds' bench during the game's final minute, helped Rider earn his 200th win at Reynoldsburg.

Kirksey was fouled with Reynoldsburg leading 58-57 with 52 seconds left, and the Grove City bench was whistled for a technical for slamming the bleachers after the foul was called. Kirksey then made four free throws to make it 62-57, and Reynoldsburg led by as many as seven points during the game's final minute.

Rider, who went 80-27 in six seasons at Zanesville Maysville before coming to Reynoldsburg, was 200-98 before Jan. 25. He has led the Raiders to five OCC titles, one district title and five district-runner-up finishes in 14 seasons.

"I've had a lot of good teams," Rider said. "Staying at a place for 13 years is a long time nowadays."

AT A GLANCE

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Reynoldsburg boys basketball team:

*Jan. 14 - Lost to Pickerington Central 50-46. Chris Lee scored 11 points for the Raiders, who led 31-24 at halftime but were outscored 26-15 in the second half.

*Jan. 21 - Defeated Grove City 65-60. Reynoldsburg trailed by nine points early in the fourth quarter before rallying as Wendell Davis scored 25 points.

*Jan. 25 - Played Newark

*Jan. 28 - Home vs. Pickerington North. The Raiders lost to the Panthers 46-40 on Dec. 17.

Of note: The Raiders were 5-8 overall and 4-4 in the OCC-Ohio before Jan. 25.

*OCC-Ohio game