Often the tallest player on the court, 6-foot-3 Jalynda Salley rarely goes unnoticed.
However, what the senior is accomplishing for the Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team this season could be considered under the radar, as she is coming off the bench regularly for the first time with the Raiders.
Salley, who scored 26 points in her varsity debut as a freshman in 2014-15, has 966 career points and also has averaged nine rebounds in her prep career.
Now, she has added a new part to her game, embracing the role of energy-provider for a team that has won two consecutive Division I district championships.
"Me coming off the bench is kind of an advantage for us because everybody expects me to start," Salley said. "I'm OK with it. I learned my role is more important coming off the bench. I feel like as soon as I get in, I basically change the image of the game. Once I score, everybody's like, 'She's ready, let's go.'"
The Raiders improved to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division by beating Grove City 87-56 on Dec. 15.
Reynoldsburg continues league play Friday, Dec. 22, at Pickerington Central, which went 10-0 to win last year's OCC-Ohio title. The Raiders have lost seven in a row in the series.
After averaging 12.9 points and 10 rebounds as a freshman, Salley averaged 11.8 points and 9.5 rebounds as a sophomore when Reynoldsburg went 23-6 and reached a state semifinal.
She scored 19 points in a 53-47 regional cha mpionship win over Newark that season.
Salley averaged 9.3 points and 7.6 rebounds last season and is averaging 9.1 points this winter.
"Her role has changed a little bit since her freshman year," coach Jack Purtell said. "She's a difference-maker. Jalynda has accepted her role coming off the bench. She's getting as many minutes as when she was starting. I'm really proud of her. She's does a really good job."
Salley is hoping she has a future in college basketball, possibly at a mid-major school where she'll likely study sports management and criminal justice.
Someday, she might become a defense attorney because of how well it fits with her personality.
Having a sharp intellect has helped her on the court over the years, too.
"I love (shows like) 'Law & Order' and 'How to Get Away with Murder,' and I just love debating and everything that goes with it," Salley said. "In basketball it gets a little snappy at times and I always have to have the last word. It makes me more pumped because they're trying to get in my head, and I know they can't."
The Raiders are hoping a 53-32 loss to Newark on Dec. 12 doesn't linger. They also lost to Newark 56-51 in the regular season and 72-40 in a regional final last season.
In the latest loss, no players scored in double figures for Reynoldsburg.
Against Grove City, Uju Ezeudu and Kyria Walker each scored 20, Salley had 12 and Malaysia Miller added 10.
Boys basketball team preps for Central
On Friday, Dec. 22, the boys basketball team also will get its first shot at defending OCC-Ohio champion Pickerington Central.
The Raiders improved to 2-1 in the league by beating Grove City 59-47 on Dec. 15. They lost to Dublin Coffman 56-53 on Dec. 16 to fall to 4-2 overall.
Central was 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the league after beating Lancaster 67-42 on Dec. 15.
The Tigers have been playing without junior guard Jeremiah Francis, a North Carolina commit who is out until at least mid-January with a left knee injury, as well as junior point guard Javohn Garcia, who has been battling a sprained ankle.
Despite those absences, Central still has a talented cast led by senior Detroit Mercy recruit Adrian Nelson (6-6, forward) and senior Juan Elmore (6-5, forward). Both were averaging 14 points through three games.
Reynoldsburg lost to Central 61-46 and 71-58 last season and has lost five in a row in the series.
After losing to Gahanna 67-59 on Dec. 8 in its league opener, Reynoldsburg beat Newark 59-53 on Dec. 12 as Elijah Thurston scored 13 points, Ben Fort had 12 and Tre Williams added eight. Williams averages 17.8 points and Jamiel Goliday averages 12.0.
Against Coffman, Reynoldsburg trailed 48-44 but got two free throws and a basket from Williams with 3 minutes, 33 seconds left to tie the game.
The Raiders cut it to 56-53 on a 3-pointer by Thurston with 1.8 seconds left before the Shamrocks closed it out.
"We had too many turnovers (against Coffman)," coach Scott Davis said. "We didn't hold up physically and had a lot of no-shot possessions, so that hurt us."
Boys bowlers earn first win of season
The boys and girls bowling teams return to Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference action Jan. 8 against Worthington Kilbourne at Capri Lanes.
After losing 2,022-1,765 to Hilliard Bradley on Dec. 15, the boys team is 1-3 overall and in the COHSBC-B Division.
The Raiders were 0-2 in the OCC-Central after losing to Pickerington North 1,966-1,904 on Dec. 4 and to Pickerington Central 2,014-1,799 on Dec. 5.
On Dec. 11 at Holiday Lanes, Reynoldsburg edged Centennial 1,948-1,934 for its first win as Logan Gapen averaged 199.5, followed by Tyler Robinson (173.0), Michael Brooks (157.0) and Davide Milan (143.0). Gapen was leading in average at 177.5 through three matches, followed by Brooks (158.8) and Michael Neff-Young (150.2).
The girls were 0-3 overall and in the COHSBC-B after losing 1,824-1,310 to Bradley. They are 0-1 in the OCC-Central.
The Raiders lost to Central 1,345-876 and to Centennial 1,578-1,010.
Through two matches, Missy Ross was averaging 117.0, followed by Halle Pennycuff (113.5), Kay Hetterscheidt (87.0), Kimmee Shook (85.8) and Katie Morgan (83.0).
Pennycuff rolled a 176 in her second game against Centennial.
Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg boys basketball and girls basketball teams:
*Dec. 22 -- At Pickerington Central
*Dec. 22 -- At Pickerington Central