One of the areas the Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team worked to improve during the season's first two weeks was its defense.
That goes for the squad's two newest players, junior twins Natalie and Nicole Orr, as well.
According to Natalie, a junior guard who along with junior forward Nicole enrolled at Reynoldsburg at the end of the last school year, the sisters played a significant amount of zone while they were at Whitehall the last two seasons.
Now they're learning a defense that features mostly man-to-man with some matchup zone mixed in.
"Our defense is getting better and we're getting a little more cohesive," coach Jack Purtell said. "We're not quite as fast as we have been in the past, but we're working on full-court pressure stuff in practice.
"(The Orr sisters) have been doing a great job. They're learning the system and they're both bright kids. We play defense a little differently than what they're used to."
Nicole is 5-foot-10 and made second-team all-district in Division II a year ago for the Rams. Natalie, who said she's 5-6 1/2, is backing up Yamonie Jenkins at point guard after being a key player for Whitehall last season.
Reynoldsburg opened OCC-Ohio Division play with a 91-15 win over Groveport on Nov. 30 as Nicole scored 11 points and Natalie had seven. The Raiders defeated Grove City 86-33 on Dec. 7 to improve to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the league. They continue OCC-Ohio play Friday, Dec. 14, at Pickerington Central and Tuesday, Dec. 18, at Gahanna.
On Dec. 21, the boys and girls teams play host to Pickerington North in a doubleheader.
According to both Nicole and Natalie, the move to Reynoldsburg was a family decision that has been beneficial athletically and academically.
Natalie is participating in the arts program at the Summit campus and Nicole attends classes at Livingston Avenue.
The sisters experienced the Raiders' basketball system throughout the summer.
"We knew we were coming into a good program and we were expecting to do well this season," Nicole said. "Our parents ... didn't want to stay in Whitehall, and our first choice was actually to move to Upper Arlington. ... But we ended up in Reynoldsburg for a reason.
"Once we got enrolled over the summer, we played with the team in the fall and got in weekly workouts. Mainly my role is to just work hard on defense. I just do whatever is necessary. It's definitely different, but I think I was prepared for this adjustment."
Natalie was the taller of the sisters in their early elementary years before Nicole's growth spurt.
According to Nicole, their father, David Orr, played for Hartley in the 1980s.
"So far it's been good," Natalie said. "We've bonded as a team and we're getting closer as a team. For me and probably for Nicole, too, we've had to pick up a lot of things on defense. We go full-court man 24-7 here."
Most of bowling teams are back
The boys and girls bowling teams each return several key players from a year ago.
"I think we'll have a really decent team this year," said Jean Martin, who is in her 11th season as coach. "Every year I say it's going to be my last year but I just love these kids."
The girls team is led by senior Angela Williams, who was 33rd (432) in the sectional tournament at Eastland Lanes last season. The Raiders took 13th (2,684) of 28 teams behind champion Westerville Central (3,551) as the top nine advanced to district.
Also back after competing at sectional are sophomores Michaela Johnson (64th, 374), Emily Harrell (119th, 234), Katie Crow (149th, 107) and Lauren Sampson (150th, 105).
Others looking to contribute are juniors Brittani Briner, Amber Grigley and Courtney Quappi.
Last season, the girls team was fifth (7-4) in the 12-team Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-South Division behind champion Briggs (11-0).
The girls opened with COHSBC-South wins Dec. 3 over Columbus South (1,668-928) and Dec. 4 over Africentric (1,519-965) and defeated Newark 1,573-1,344 on Dec. 7 in their OCC-Ohio opener.
The boys opened with wins over South (1,811-1,101) and Africentric (1,920-1,139) and lost to Newark 2,684-2,055.
Last season, the boys were fifth (7-4) in the COHSBC-South behind champion Groveport (11-0) and 19th (3,048) in the 28-team sectional at Eastland Lanes behind champion Westerville South (3,916).
The boys team's top five scorers at sectional last season all are back. Chad Szczepanski (49th, 483), Zak Aeling (62nd, 458), Canei Brent (tied for 69th, 443) and Matt Scholl (tied for 85th, 398) are seniors and Jacob Debrock (106th, 331) is a junior.
Also contributing are juniors Nicholas Mahan and Kyree South.