Adaptability key for girls
Reynoldsburg's Shanice Johnson (left) works for a loose ball against Grove City's Miranda Frase during a game earlier this season. The top-seeded Raiders begin play in the Division I district tournament Feb. 16 at home against Franklin Heights. Buy This Photo
The Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team has shown it can beat opponents in a variety of ways.
During a 45-35 win over four-time defending Division II state champion Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown on Nov. 24, the Raiders were victorious during a defensive struggle.
They also proved they could win a game that featured hot shooting when they overcame six 3-pointers by Taylor Agler and won 63-58 on Jan. 14 over Olentangy Orange.
On Jan. 29 against visiting Gahanna, Reynoldsburg won a crucial contest with one of its top two inside players spending most of the game on the bench.
Gahanna, which was second in last week's Division I area coaches poll behind the Raiders, got as close as three but couldn't overcome an 18-point deficit in Reynoldsburg's 57-43 win.
Junior post player Alyssa Rice, who was averaging a team-best 14.5 points through 19 games, played less than 10 minutes because of foul trouble.
It's the type of win Reynoldsburg might keep in mind when it begins the Division I district tournament Feb. 16 at home against Franklin Heights. The Raiders received the top seed at the drawing Feb. 3.
"If (either Alyssa or I are) out or down, the other has to pick it up," senior post player Destini Cooper said.
"It's definitely a lot harder to do what we practice. We have to change our offense when we have four little ones and one big."
Without Rice by her side most of the game against Gahanna, Cooper responded with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Cooper was averaging 10 points through 19 games for the Raiders, who earned a share of the OCC-Ohio Division title when they beat Pickerington North 49-37 on Feb. 1.
Reynoldsburg closes the league schedule Friday, Feb. 8, against visiting Newark, which it beat 66-15 on Jan. 8.
The Raiders had won 43 consecutive league games and were 12-0 in the OCC-Ohio before playing Lancaster on Feb. 5. Gahanna was 10-2 in the league before Feb. 5.
Reynoldsburg went 14-0 in the OCC-Ohio each of the last two seasons to win league titles after tying Pickerington Central for second behind Pickerington North in 2009-10.
Also in 2009-10, Reynoldsburg went on to reach a state semifinal.
"I really think (Gahanna and Reynoldsburg) are the two best teams in the Central District," Raiders coach Jack Purtell said. "This group has been in so many big games and they've got the big goal at the end of the year."
McCafferty ready to swim in postseason
Sophomore Morgan McCafferty believes she'll be better prepared if she makes it back to the Division I state girls swimming and diving meet.
She and her teammates compete Saturday, Feb. 9, in a sectional at Upper Arlington.
The winner of each event qualifies for the district meet Feb. 16 at Ohio State. In addition, 27 at-large district berths will be awarded in each event based on times from the Central, East and Southeast sectional sites. Divers do not compete until district.
Last season, McCafferty advanced to district in the 100-yard butterfly and 100 backstroke and then became the first Reynoldsburg swimmer since 2006 to advance to state when she finished fifth in the 100 back (57.46 seconds) at district.
McCafferty, who was seeded 11th and finished 12th (57.7) at state, competed in the USA Swimming junior national championships with her club team, the Greater Columbus Swim Team of Ohio, in December.
"I feel amazing. I'm so ready for the postseason," McCafferty said. "I'm trying to win district in the 100 back this year. I'd like to finish in the top three in the state.
"Last year, I didn't know what to expect going into state. I went into it with low expectations. You have to try not to focus on the fact that there are a lot of people there. I try to go in swimming against the clock. My (club) coach really pushes me and I went to the junior nationals in December, which was a great experience."
In the OCC-Ohio meet Jan. 25 at New Albany, McCafferty won the 100 back (59.03) and was third in the 200 individual medley (2:18.11). She also swam on the third-place 200 medley relay (1:58.24) and the third-place 200 freestyle relay (1:52.12) with sophomores Marisa Glusich, DrewAnn Maffett and Leah Svoboda.
"We were pretty happy," McCafferty said. "We have a small team to begin with, so getting third was a good finish."
Boys basketball team still in league race
The boys basketball team's hopes of winning the OCC-Ohio title took a hit when it lost to Gahanna 65-43 on Jan. 30.
The Raiders were 8-3 in the league before playing Lancaster on Feb. 5. They close the league schedule Friday, Feb. 8, at Newark and Feb. 15 against visiting Groveport.
Pickerington Central was first at 9-2 in the league before Feb. 5.
Reynoldsburg lost to Gahanna even though Lions senior guard and University of Akron signee Aaron Jackson was not in uniform.
Jackson also has been an AAU teammate of Raiders senior forward Wendell Davis, who scored 26 points in the loss.
Davis had 22 points in a 56-46 overtime win at Pickerington North on Feb. 1 to surpass 1,000 career points. He had 1,021 career points before Feb. 5 and was averaging 19.5 per game this season.