The Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team attained a new level of excellence this season.

The Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team attained a new level of excellence this season.

The Raiders went 14-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division for the second year in a row, finished the regular season 20-0, were ranked first in the final Division I state poll, won a district championship for the third year in a row and won a regional title for the second time in three years.

The Raiders lost to eventual state champion Twinsburg 49-41 in a state semifinal March 16 at Ohio State to finish 26-1 overall.

"Overall, we had a good season," junior post player Destini Cooper said. "We didn't reach the goal we wanted, but it's hard. We were one of the last four teams remaining (in Division I) and it's hard to get that far."

"To beat Twinsburg would have made the season," senior guard Adesuwa Aideyman said. "Twinsburg was the best competition and the defending champs. It would have been great to get the win."

The Raiders also reached a Division I state semifinal in 2010, losing to eventual champion Canton McKinley 42-39 in overtime.

"It was disappointing in that we didn't reach our ultimate goal, but it was a dream season," coach Jack Purtell said. "We reached a lot of our goals along the way and lost to a pretty good team. We always want to be at our best in the tournament and I think we were."

Reynoldsburg defeated Gahanna 53-50 on Feb. 10 to cap the first undefeated regular season in program history.

The Raiders finished two games ahead of runner-up Pickerington North (12-2) in the OCC-Ohio. Gahanna (9-5) finished third, followed by Newark (8-6), Pickerington Central (6-8), Lancaster (4-10), Grove City (2-12) and Groveport (0-14).

Reynoldsburg defeated five teams this season - McKinley, Gahanna twice, Mason, Northland and Toledo Notre Dame Academy - that won district titles.

The Raiders lose two seniors in Aideyman and guard Aliyah Zantt.

Zantt, a three-year varsity player, averaged 11.1 points, 3.1 steals and 2.7 assists and was named ThisWeek Super 12, OCC-Ohio Player of the Year, second-team all-district and honorable mention all-state.

She also was named to the District 10 all-star game April 1 at Westerville North and has signed with Eastern Michigan University.

Aideyman came off the bench to average 10 points, though she averaged a team-high 15.7 points during the seven-game playoff run. She was honorable mention all-league.

"These kids worked so hard to get (to state)," Purtell said. "They leave here with nothing but pride. My heart goes out to these seniors."

Expected to return are Cooper, junior point guard Yamonie Jenkins, junior forward Shiloh Murphy and 6-foot-3 sophomore post player Alyssa Rice.

Rice, a two-year starter, averaged 12.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks and was named to the Super 12 team and made first-team all-district, second-team all-league and second-team all-state.

Cooper, a three-year starter, averaged 10 points and 7.4 rebounds and was named second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district.

Jenkins averaged 5.7 points, 5.6 assists, 4.0 steals and 2.2 rebounds and was first-team all-league and honorable mention all-district, and Murphy averaged 6.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.7 steals and 1.6 assists and was special mention all-league and honorable mention all-district.

"Aliyah and Adesuwa will be hard to replace, but we have four starters coming back," Cooper said. "We also have to develop the other girls. It won't be easy, but it will be OK. Everybody has to work hard and we can do it again."

Also expected to return are junior Jodeci Acosta-Gorman and sophomores Shanice Johnson and De'Shay Thomas and freshmen Courtney Purtell and Leah Wallace. Acosta-Gorman, Johnson and Thomas were part of the Raiders' varsity rotation, while Purtell and Wallace also saw varsity minutes.

"Everyone needs to continue to work on fundamentals and skills as individuals and then everything will come together as a team," Cooper said. "The team stuff will click."

"We've got a good thing going here and I'm along for the ride and a big fan of all these kids," Purtell said. "They will all work hard on their games and get even stronger. We have a really good opportunity to be good next year."