With a 56-46 win over Pickerington North on Feb. 1 and a loss by Pickerington Central the same night, the Reynoldsburg High School boys basketball team moved into a first-place tie in the OCC-Ohio Division despite losing its previous two league games.
A week later, the Raiders slipped to third in the league and found themselves in need of significant help to win at least a share of the league championship.
"We knew that our league would come down to this," coach Scott Davis said. "Teams are going to beat up on each other. It's the last week of the season and you want to have a chance at the league title."
Reynoldsburg, which lost to Newark 67-57 on Feb. 8 to fall to 9-4 in the league, closes the OCC-Ohio schedule Friday, Feb. 15, against visiting Groveport.
Central is 10-3 in the league but plays Friday, Feb. 15, against visiting Gahanna, which has won eight of nine and has its roster intact after having several players miss games for disciplinary reasons.
Newark, which improved to 9-3 in the league with the win over Reynoldsburg, played Gahanna on Feb. 12 and closes the regular season Friday, Feb. 15, at Lancaster.
Grove City is 9-4 in the league and also has a shot at the title if it beats Pickerington North on Friday, Feb. 15, and gets help.
"Grove City, Pickerington Central, Newark, Gahanna and us are as good as any teams in the Central District," Davis said.
Reynoldsburg won 12 of its first 13 but had lost four of seven before playing Dublin Scioto on Feb. 12.
Against Newark, senior forward Wendell Davis was held to 11 points -- six below his average -- and senior forward Mykel Traylor-Bennett and senior guard Travis Gleason each scored 10. The Raiders were behind 15-6 after one quarter.
Reynoldsburg trailed Pickerington North 29-14 on Feb. 1 before rallying to win. Sophomore guard Lloyd Chatman returned for that game after missing the previous eight with an injury.
Reynoldsburg was seeded eighth for the Division I district tournament and will open the postseason at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at home against Whetstone.
Gahanna, which is the ninth seed, could be the opponent if Reynoldsburg reaches a district semifinal. Second-seeded Westerville North also is in the bracket.
Girls team wins third straight title
The girls basketball team enters the Division I district tournament after capturing its third consecutive OCC-Ohio championship.
The Raiders closed the league schedule with wins over Pickerington Central (64-30 on Jan. 25), Gahanna (57-43 on Jan. 29), Pickerington North (49-37 on Feb. 1), Lancaster (64-19 on Feb. 5) and Newark (62-26 on Feb. 8) after losing to Twinsburg 45-38 on Jan. 21.
Reynoldsburg has won 45 consecutive league games and went 14-0 in each of the past three seasons.
"It just really shows that hard work pays off and how dedicated you have to be to put that together," senior guard Shiloh Murphy said. "It's not our ultimate goal, but being able to accomplish it shows we're capable of coming together when it's time, especially against teams like Gahanna and Pickerington North."
The three-time defending district-champion Raiders begin the postseason at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at home against Franklin Heights. The winner will play Columbus West at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at a site to be determined.
Last season, Reynoldsburg beat Groveport (90-32), Franklin Heights (109-15), Watterson (66-33) and Olentangy (56-31) to win a district title.
In the Raiders' win over Newark on Feb. 8, junior post player Alyssa Rice had 19 points, junior forward Nicole Orr scored 14 and senior forward Destini Cooper added 13.
"We haven't really put 32 minutes together yet," coach Jack Purtell said. "I think we're a little streaky for the veteran team that we are. It's just a matter of keeping focused and staying healthy.
"It's a credit to our kids that they're the No. 1 seed for the third year in a row, and it's nice that a lot of people have respect for where the program's at. The next-highest seed (in our bracket) is No. 8 (Hilliard Davidson), so we're set up for success."
Swim teams advance 5 individuals, relays
Five individuals and three relays from the girls swimming team and two boys relays have advanced to the Division I district meet Saturday, Feb. 16, at Ohio State.
The top two placers in each swimming event at district automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 21-23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded for each swimming event based on times statewide.
In a 12-team sectional meet Feb. 9 at Upper Arlington, the girls were sixth behind the champion and host Golden Bears (463) and the boys placed last (12) behind champion UA (351).
Sophomore Morgan McCafferty won the 100-yard backstroke (59.72 seconds) and freshman Acadia Gaver placed sixth in the 500 freestyle (5:34.07) to lead the girls. The 200 medley relay of junior Sara Kohs and sophomores Marisa Glusich, Leah Svoboda and McCafferty placed fifth (1:56.72) and the 200 free relay with the same four also was fifth (1:46.41).
Advancing to district for the boys after placing 10th in their respective races were the 200 free relay of seniors Joshua Dorsett and Connor Svoboda, junior D.J. Jenkins and sophomore Devin Wooddell (1:45.52) and the 200 medley relay of the same four (1:59.64).