Wendell Davis knows it no longer is a surprise when he is the one controlling the action for the Reynoldsburg High School boys basketball team.

Wendell Davis knows it no longer is a surprise when he is the one controlling the action for the Reynoldsburg High School boys basketball team.

The fact that defenses are paying him more attention is the price he's paying for bursting onto the scene last season.

Although he's gone through some highs and a few moments of growth along the way, it's become an acceptable part of the 6-foot-4 junior forward's evolution into the Raiders' go-to player.

"Last year was more of a sneak attack because I was only a sophomore," Davis said. "I've seen more double teams and just teams denying me the ball this year.

"I've learned a lot of things, especially with the games that I don't get to score as much. There are certain times in certain games that I need to be a distributor."

Davis scored a game-high 20 points against visiting Pickerington North in the nightcap of a girls-boys varsity doubleheader Jan. 27, but he was unsuccessful in altering what eventually became a 56-53 overtime loss.

Davis helped force a jump ball with 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the Raiders possession. He then helped set up the offense, dribbled for a few seconds and missed a 3-pointer with 4 seconds remaining as the game went into overtime.

In the extra session, Reynoldsburg's Chris Lee made the second of two free throws with 5.9 seconds left to tie it at 53, but North's Joe Liptrap made a 3-pointer as time expired.

The Panthers also beat the Raiders 58-52 on Dec. 16.

"(Davis) has got to take the ball to the hole there (at the end of regulation), but he settled for the jumper," coach Chris Rider said. "He knows it now."

It's been part of a season of maturation for Davis, who has offers to play for Eastern Kentucky and Northern Kentucky and also has received interest from several Mid-American Conference schools.

After spending much of last season in the post, Davis spent significant offseason time working on his ball-handling and outside shooting while playing for the Ohio Varsity AAU team that finished third in AAU nationals. Other central Ohio players on that team include Westerville North's Jack Gibbs, Gahanna's Aaron Jackson and Brookhaven's Randal Clarkson.

After averaging 14.2 points a year ago, Davis' scoring average has dropped to 12.8.

However, he has had four games of at least 20 points, including a season-high 27 in a 70-64 victory over Grove City on Jan. 20.

"Wendell's a great kid, and his character is the best part of it," Rider said. "I think he has to do a lot for us, and sometimes that can be a hindrance. But if I'm going to war, I'm picking him first. He's a fundamental player who passes and shoots well."

Reynoldsburg, which plays host Friday, Feb. 3, to Lancaster, has lost three of its last five after a five-game winning streak.

Against North, the Raiders led 48-37 with 5:07 remaining in the fourth quarter but didn't score again until Davis' basket with 3:03 to go in overtime.

Still, Davis believes his team will bounce back like it did after opening the season by losing four of five.

"After we lost to Delaware Hayes (66-59 on Dec. 17), we had a real deep talk in the locker room and since then we've played a lot better," Davis said. "At first we had some problems being a team, but after that you could even see it was more of a team. All of the guys get valuable minutes, which gives them the ability to be ready to play."