The Reynoldsburg High School boys basketball team expected a more focused effort from Canton McKinley after the Raiders built a seven-point halftime lead in a Division I regional semifinal March 14 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
That proved to be a correct assessment, as the lead quickly evaporated and the Raiders were dealt a 57-49 loss.
The Bulldogs, who improved to 18-7 and advanced to a regional final Saturday, March 17, at the Fairgrounds, opened the third quarter on a 13-4 run to take their first lead.
Wendell Davis’ 28 points and 12 rebounds proved to be not enough for the Raiders, who finished 14-10.
Hollis Alexander scored 11 of his 14 points in the third quarter and Devaughntah Williams scored 11 of his team-high 19 in the final period for McKinley. Da’Vontai Rorie added 13 points as the Bulldogs won their 14th consecutive game.
“Alexander played well in the third quarter,” Raiders coach Chris Rider said. “We got Rorie and Williams pretty much taken care of, but that’s what makes a good team is when you have a third guy.”
Reynoldsburg led 11-2 after the first quarter and 22-13 with 1 minute, 20 seconds to go in the first half. During the opening two quarters, the Raiders made just nine of 15 free throws but took a 24-17 lead into halftime.
McKinley outscored Reynoldsburg 21-6 in the third quarter and led 43-35 with 4:38 remaining when the Raiders made a final run.
Davis scored back-to-back baskets to cut it to 47-45 with 1:47 left, but lost the ball out of bounds with 1:16 remaining. McKinley led 49-45 when Davis missed a layup with 55 seconds left.
The Bulldogs made seven of eight free throws during the final 1:07 and shot 11-for-15 from the line overall.
Reynoldsburg finished 15-for-47 from the floor and 19-for-31 from the free-throw line.
“I just thought our perimeter defense in the second half was tough,” McKinley coach Keith Noftz said.
“We had too many turnovers in the second half and missed a lot of points from the free-throw line,” Davis said. “We could have been up 10 or 15 points in the first half if we’d made our free throws.”