The Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team never trailed in defeating visiting Pickerington North 40-32 in an OCC-Ohio Division game Friday, Jan. 27.

The Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team never trailed in defeating visiting Pickerington North 40-32 in an OCC-Ohio Division game Friday, Jan. 27.

The Raiders, ranked first in the Division I state poll, improved to 17-0 overall and 11-0 in league play. They lead the Panthers by two games with three league games remaining.

The Panthers, who dropped to 15-2 and 9-2, have beaten everyone on their schedule other than Reynoldsburg. The Raiders also won 41-37 on Dec. 16 at North.

In the rematch, Reynoldsburg's Aliyah Zantt led all scorers with 11 points. Alyssa Rice had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Raiders.

Christy Macioce led North with 10 points.

Reynoldsburg led 18-15 at halftime and 30-24 after three quarters.

Early in the fourth, North's Taylor Jones hit a jumper to cut Reynoldsburg's lead to 30-27. Zantt and Adesuwa Aideyman then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 36-27 with 5 minutes, 30 seconds remaining.

"That six-point swing was a big moment in the game," North coach Dave Butcher said. "We also had five turnovers in the third quarter and you just can't get that many no-shot possessions against a great team like Reynoldsburg."

Reynoldsburg coach Jack Purtell wasn't surprised by Zantt's performance.

"She's done that for us the last couple of years," he said. "She has a scorer's mentality and just works so hard. She's not afraid with the game on the line."

Shiloh Murphy had nine points and three rebounds for the Raiders, and Destini Cooper had four points and 10 rebounds. Yamonie Jenkins had six assists and had three steals.

Cooper lauded the effort of her teammates.

"(This game) shows how much each individual has improved and how much each person brings to the team," she said. "Myself, I wasn't scoring tonight, so I felt I had to get it done on defense and had to get the boards."

Cooper and Rice held North's Brittany Johnson to six points.

"Destini has been scoring a lot lately and she had a great floor game tonight," Purtell said. "Alyssa had one of her best games of the year tonight. The whole team played an excellent game."

Jaila Kee-Bryant scored nine points for the Panthers.

"We were close, but couldn't make that key play," Butcher said.

Reynoldsburg now has defeated North five consecutive times: twice this season, twice last season and also in a 2010 regional final.

"It's such an honor to beat a great team like North," Zantt said. "It makes us want to do all we can to work even harder."