The Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team exacted a measure of revenge by defeating Canton McKinley 62-57 in a Division I regional semifinal on March 6 at Otterbein University.
The Raiders improved to 25-0 and advanced to play Gahanna or Northland in a regional final at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at Otterbein. McKinley, which had beaten the Raiders 42-39 in overtime in a state semifinal in 2010 on its way to winning the state title, finished 20-5.
Senior guard Adesuwa Aideyman had 15 points to lead Reynoldsburg, and senior guard Aliyah Zantt and sophomore post player Alyssa Rice each scored 14.
Ameryst Alston, a 5-foot-9 guard and Ohio State recruit who is the state's reigning Ms. Basketball, had 29 points to lead McKinley. But with Reynoldsburg leading 59-55 with 37 seconds left, junior guard Yamonie Jenkins stole the ball from Alston along the baseline under the Raiders' basket.
“I was just trying to keep her on the baseline and maybe contest the shot,” Jenkins said. “I felt the ball and looked down and the ball was in my hands. I felt the game was in our hands right there.”
Zantt helped secure the outcome by going 3-for-6 from the foul line in the final 33 seconds.
“That play (by Jenkins) was huge, but Yamonie, Aliyah and Adesuwa all made big plays tonight,” Raiders coach Jack Purtell said. “Ameryst is a great player and that’s a good team that’s had a lot of success the past three or four years.”
Fueled by 20-2 run that started in the first quarter, Reynoldsburg opened a 30-15 lead with 5:02 remaining in the first half, only to see McKinley cut its deficit to 37-30 by halftime.
The Raiders led 50-40 after the third quarter.
“I’ve said all season that our defense is our offense,” Aideyman said. “That game just showed how good we are as a unit. All of us made big plays and steals, especially in that fourth quarter.”
The win was the 300th career victory for Purtell.
“I’m blessed,” he said. “It’s nice to get a milestone in a regional, but I’m just happy with the win and to advance.”