When things were going well for the Reynoldsburg High School boys basketball team this season, it usually meant that 6-foot-4 senior forward Wendell Davis was putting up the numbers that helped him earn OCC-Ohio Division Player of the Year and first-team all-district honors.
The Ashland University signee was held in check by ninth-seeded Gahanna in a Division I district semifinal March 6 at Westerville Central, and the eighth-seeded Raiders lost 42-38 to finish 19-6 overall.
Davis, who averaged 19.8 points and nine rebounds, was limited to 12 points by the Lions. He scored his 1,000 point in a 5 6-46 win over Pickerington North on Feb. 1 and finished his career with 1,165 points, including 495 this season.
"Wendell's our guy and he's a marked man out there," coach Scott Davis said. "We needed other guys to step up and we had other guys step up at times. (Gahanna's) just a good team and has got a lot of weapons."
The Raiders trailed Gahanna 33-24 heading into the fourth quarter and pulled within three points at 37-34 with 3 minutes, 8 seconds remaining on a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Lloyd Chatman.
Reynoldsburg cut its deficit to 40-38 with 4.2 seconds left, but Lions forward Javon Bess made a pair of free throws to seal the outcome.
The contest marked the final prep game for the Raiders' six seniors, including forwards Mykel Traylor-Bennett (6.9 points per game) and Mike Smith (3.5 ppg) and guard Jaylen Givens (4.4 ppg). Traylor-Bennett was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.
"The seniors did a great job in terms of being coachable and buying into our philosophy," said coach Davis, who completed his first season leading the program after spending the past four seasons as coach at Beechcroft. "We had great leadership from Wendell and others."
Reynoldsburg won its first nine games and 12 of its first 13 before a second-half skid nearly kept it from winning the OCC-Ohio championship.
The Raiders lost to defending state champion Pickerington Central 60-59 in overtime Jan. 25 and fell to Gahanna 65-43 on Jan. 30 but won three of its final four OCC-Ohio games. They ended up sharing the league title with three other teams after Central lost three of its final four league games.
Reynoldsburg tied Central, Grove City and Newark for first at 10-4, ahead of Gahanna (9-5), Pickerington North (4-10), Groveport (2-12) and Lancaster (1-13).
The Raiders opened the district tournament with a 71-44 win over 37th-seeded Whetstone on Feb. 23 and beat 26th-seeded Worthington Kilbourne 43-37 in overtime in the second round Feb. 27 to set up a third meeting with Gahanna.
Reynoldsburg split its two league games against the Lions, winning 40-38 on Dec. 18 and losing 65-43 on Jan. 30.
In the tournament matchup with Gahanna, freshman guard Mark Fair led the Raiders with 14 points. He scored 10 points in a 74-51 win over Lancaster on Feb. 5 and could become a go-to player on offense next season along with Chatman, who averaged 7.4 points.
Chatman missed six games in January with a hamstring injury but scored in double figures five times.
Junior guard Travis Gleason (5.1 ppg) was special mention all-league and junior guard Tyrek Pugh (4.4 ppg) was honorable mention all-league.
The Raiders will enter next season inexperienced in the frontcourt.
"They're going to be good next year," Wendell Davis said. "Mark Fair's a left-handed guy who can play, Lloyd's a shooter and Travis returns. They're all hard workers."