Former Brookhaven High School basketball player Reiko Bagley Sr. wanted to find the right environment for his children when he decided to return to the Columbus area with his family.
After initially enrolling his sons, Reiko and Roshean, at Marion-Franklin during the 2016-17 school year, Reiko Sr. reconnected with Drew Williams, a former Brookhaven assistant who was preparing for his fifth season leading the Whitehall-Yearling boys team.
The 1995 Brookhaven graduate quickly knew he wanted his sons to play for his former coach.
"I knew (Whitehall) was where I wanted to go," said Reiko Sr., who moved with his family from Illinois. "You have great guys who try to bring up (kids) the right way."
Led by the younger Reiko, a 6-foot-5 senior forward, the Rams are 6-3 overall and 4-0 in the MSL-Ohio Division heading into a key contest Friday, Jan. 12, at Columbus Academy. The Vikings are 9-0 overall and 4-0 in the league.
Reiko is averaging a team-high 21.9 points and scored a season-high 30 in an 87-46 league win at London on Dec. 15.
"Reiko has been a great addition," Williams said. "He's part of my family. I coached his dad, so he's part of my family. The kids all jell together. Reiko is an awesome kid. Him and his brother are both solid people."
Whitehall turned in a pair of impressive league efforts last week, defeating visiting Grandview 49-33 on Jan. 3 and host Worthington Christian 66-40 on Jan. 6.
The Rams held Grandview to just two points in the first quarter while building a 16-2 lead. Reiko led Whitehall with 20 points, followed by Taylon Cofer with 11.
Reiko had 19 points against Worthington Christian, with Cofer scoring 16 and Darius Butler adding 10.
After playing at the junior varsity level as a freshman, Reiko received little playing time during his sophomore and junior seasons in Illinois and never became eligible after he enrolled at Marion-Franklin during his junior year. Reiko, Roshean and their sister, Kiara, transferred to Whitehall during the second semester of the 2016-17 school year.
Although Reiko said the pace of play in Columbus is quicker compared to Illinois, he has adjusted.
"In Illinois, a lot of teams play zone (defense) so it's a lot slower," said Reiko, who credits his father for his development.
"Everything I know inside of the (3-point) arc he taught me," Reiko said.
Reiko would like to play in college and has begun receiving interest from schools.
After beginning the season as a key reserve, Roshean, a 6-3 junior forward, has moved into the starting lineup.
"Roshean didn't start at the beginning of the year," Williams said. "He just recently got put in the starting lineup. He's a utility guy. He just bangs, rebounds, he's fast. He's a tough, gritty kid."
Kiara, a sophomore guard, has played well for the girls team despite battling a concussion.
The Bagley family moved to Columbus from Rock Island, Illinois, which is about 175 miles west of Chicago.
While the family has formed a newfound loyalty to Whitehall athletics, they differ on collegiate teams as Reiko Sr. and his seven children are Ohio State fans while Reiko's wife, Angie, is an Iowa supporter. She said she did a little bragging when Iowa upset Ohio State 55-24 in football Nov. 4, which eventually contributed to the Buckeyes missing the College Football Playoff.
Girls basketball team seeks second win
The girls basketball team will look for its second win of the season when it plays host to Bexley on Saturday, Jan. 13.
The Rams, who lost to the Lions 56-20 on Dec. 2, are 1-12 overall and 0-5 in the MSL-Ohio.
Whitehall lost to visiting Academy 40-35 in overtime Jan. 5 as Sahlena Harvey scored a game-high 14 points.
Kiara Bagley scored a game-high 21 points in a 47-33 loss to visiting Groveport on Jan. 6.
Bowling teams seeking titles
The boys and girls bowling teams continued their pursuit of Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-D Division titles when they faced Walnut Ridge on Jan. 8.
The boys were 3-0 overall and in the league, and the girls were 2-0 overall and in the league.
Entering play Jan. 8, Makayla Barber led area girls bowlers with a 215.3 average while teammate Madison Stiffler was third (210).
For the boys, Brandon Shaw had a team-best 192.2 average, followed by Jason Kefauver (191.1). A.J. Stiffler and Charles Clark both were averaging 190.1.
Wresters finish fourth in Canton
The wrestling team returns to action Friday, Jan. 12, and Saturday, Jan. 13, when it competes in the Licking Heights Invitational.
The Rams finished fourth (183 points) in the six-team Canton McKinley Invitational on Dec. 29 behind champion McKinley (239.5). Luke Gibson (138 pounds) and Assante Ndongo (heavyweight) won titles.
Ndongo leads the Rams with a 20-2 record. Other top competitors have been Justin Peck (14-3, 170), Andrew Dickens (14-8, 195) and Alex Rodriguez (13-9, 132).
Below are the coming schedules for the Whitehall-Yearling boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
*Jan. 12 -- At Columbus Academy
Jan. 16 -- At Westerville North
*Jan. 13 -- Home vs. Bexley. The Rams lost to the Lions 56-20 on Dec. 2.
Jan. 17 -- At Delaware
Jan. 13 -- Muskingum University High School Bowling Invitational at Sunrise Strikes in Zanesville
Jan. 12-13 -- Licking Heights Invitational