The Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team is in the midst of the most important week of its season to date.

The Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team is in the midst of the most important week of its season to date.

The Raiders led the OCC-Ohio Division with a 9-0 record before playing at Newark on Jan. 25. Reynoldsburg beat Newark 62-44 on Dec. 10. The Wildcats were 6-3.

The Raiders have another big game on Friday, Jan. 28, at home against Pickerington North , which was 8-1 before Jan. 25. In their first meeting Dec. 17, the Raiders outscored the Panthers 20-2 in the fourth quarter during a 52-38 win.

Aliyah Zantt came off the bench to lead Reynoldsburg with 19 points. Kavunaa Edwards led the Panthers with 13 points.

Reynoldsburg is the No. 1 team in the Super 7 poll and North is ranked fifth.

"There will be a target on our backs. They will be ready to play," Raiders senior guard Kacia Grant said of North.

The Raiders have won the last two games against the Panthers, including a 45-34 victory in a Division I regional final last season.

A sweep of Newark and North would give Reynoldsburg a commanding lead in the league race with just three games remaining for all the teams.

Reynoldsburg has not won an OCC title since winning four in a row from 2000-03.

Even though his team entered the week on a 13-game winning streak, coach Jack Purtell said he had some concerns.

"First and foremost, we haven't been able to put 32 minutes together in a game in awhile," he said. "That's the challenge we've presented to the kids. We have to continue to get better, to put 32 minutes together in a game."

Purtell said North presents several challenges.

"They are a senior-laden team with lots of experience back," he said. "We know they are going to be ready to play and it should be a great game."

Sophomore Shiloh Murphy thinks the Raiders must start strong.

"If we play hard in the first half, we'll be fine. Then we have to keep the momentum up and keep playing as a team," she said. "We need to pick up our defense, too. We haven't been playing well on the defensive end lately and we will work on that in practice."

Grant said the Reynoldsburg offense must improve as well.

"On offense, we've got to slow down, get set and run our plays," she said. "We're moving too fast right now."

Grant also thinks the Raiders will improve their play against the tougher competition.

"When we play teams like Pickerington North, we play better," Grant said. "We just have to get back our energy. I'm not worried."

Reynoldsburg defeated Grove City 73-41 on Jan. 21 to complete a season sweep of the Greyhounds.

Zantt scored 16 points to lead five Raiders in double figures. Destini Cooper had 14 points and 10 rebounds, Murphy scored 12 points and Adesuwa Aideyman and Alyssa Rice both scored 10 points.

Lindsey Eickel led Grove City with 10 points.

Reynoldsburg led just 14-11 after the first quarter, but stretched the lead to 29-14 at halftime and 57-24 after three quarters.

The Raiders also defeated the Greyhounds 83-29 on Dec. 7.


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

*Jan. 13 - Defeated Pickerington Central 57-40

Jan. 18 - Def. Hilliard Darby 59-19

*Jan. 21 - Def. Grove City 73-41

*Jan. 25 - At Newark. The Raiders defeated the Wildcats 62-44 on Dec. 10.

*Jan. 28 - Home vs. Pickerington North. The Raiders defeated the Panthers 52-38 on Dec. 17.

Of note: The Raiders were 14-1 overall and 9-0 in the OCC-Ohio before Jan. 25.

*OCC-Ohio game