Enduring a regular season that included settling for a runner-up finish in the OCC-Ohio Division and having key players miss time with injuries hasn't kept the Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team from living up to expectations during the postseason.

For the seventh time in eight seasons, the Raiders captured a Division I district championship.

Videos •The Reynoldsburg girls basketball team receives its district chamionship trophy. •Watch an interview with sophomore forward Uju Ezeudu.

Reynoldsburg was the fourth seed for the postseason and had the tightest battle among the district's four eventual champions, as it beat fifth-seeded Watterson 48-42 on March 4 at Ohio Dominican.

The win sent the Raiders into a regional semifinal March 7 against undefeated Newark at Otterbein. Newark was the top seed in the district.

"It's been pretty tough," junior guard Adrian Crockwell said. "It feels good. We stayed positive and supported each other."

The game against Newark was a rematch of a regional final Reynoldsburg won 53-47 a year ago before it lost in a state semifinal.

The Raiders lost 56-51 on Dec. 20 at Newark, which closed the regular season ranked first in the state poll.

Reynoldsburg was 22-4 before playing the Wildcats. The winner plays Dublin Coffman or Pickerington Central in the regional final at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 10, at Otterbein.

The Raiders did not play Coffman during the regular season but lost to Central 62-50 on Jan. 6 and 59-56 on Feb. 7 in league play.

The regional champion will face Lakewood, Berea-Midpark, Olmsted Falls or Toledo Notre Dame Academy in a state semifinal March 17 at Ohio State.

The Raiders, who beat 20th-seeded Logan 78-42 in a district semifinal March 1 at Bloom-Carroll, trailed Watterson 14-3 early in the district final.

Crockwell finished with 16 points and hit a 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 53 seconds left that gave her team a 46-38 lead.

Senior guard Brooklyn Pannell scored 13 points and sophomore forward Uju Ezeudu added 12.

"I'm really happy for the kids," coach Jack Purtell said. "We've had plenty of ups and downs this year so it makes it special to play another game. ... The regional has four of the best teams in the state in it as far as I'm concerned."

Boys basketball team
makes district semi

On March 8 at Worthington Christian Middle School, the 10th-seeded boys basketball team played eighth-seeded St. Charles for a shot at reaching a Division I district final.

The winner plays sixth-seeded and defending state champion Westerville South or 14th-seeded Hilliard Davidson in a district final at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at Ohio Dominican.

The district champion plays Pickerington Central, Grove City, Coffman or Mifflin in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, at Ohio Dominican. The regional final is March 18 at the same site.

The Raiders beat South 65-63 on Jan. 10 and Coffman 68-54 on Dec. 23.

They did not play Davidson or Mifflin but lost to Central 61-46 on Jan. 6 and 71-58 on Feb. 7 and split with Grove City, winning 53-34 on Dec. 16 and losing 36-34 on Feb. 3.

On March 3, the Raiders edged 33rd-seeded Walnut Ridge 55-50 in a second-round game at home as Tre Williams scored 15 points, Jamiel Goliday had 12 points and K.J. Walker added 10.

Reynoldsburg rallied from a 40-33 deficit as it improved to 18-6.

Wrestling season
ends at district

All three of the wrestling team's competitors in the Division I district tournament March 3 and 4 at Hilliard Darby went 0-2.

Each of those competitors is eligible to return for the Raiders, who are losing just two seniors in Justin Schulze (220 pounds) and Pierce Wise (132).

Competing at district were juniors Thomas Baire (heavyweight) and Nathan Frye (160) and sophomore Kyle Copas (138).

"It was a great experience for the guys to get (to district)," coach Jon Forgy said.

"Now the newness is gone and the guys are coming back next year with that experience. Those guys can do great things."

The Raiders went 0-5 in the OCC-Ohio to place behind Lancaster (5-0), Gahanna (3-2), Pickerington Central (3-2), Pickerington North (2-3) and Grove City (2-3).

Then in a sectional Feb. 25 at Upper Arlington, the Raiders placed eighth (78) of 11 teams behind champion Olentangy Orange (240) as Copas and Frye both were second and Baire was fourth.

Also placing at sectional were freshmen Luke Goeschl (fifth at 113) and Gage Chapman (sixth at 126).

On the season, Frye went 33-12, followed by Baire (22-14), Schulze (20-13), Copas (20-17), Goeschl (18-17) and Wise (16-12).

Also eligible to return after competing at sectional are junior Nate Reynolds (106), sophomore Gary McCreary (145) and freshman Noah Ratliff (152).

Season ends for
bowling teams

A slow start was too much to overcome for the boys bowling team in the Division I district tournament March 3 at Sawmill Lanes.

The Raiders finished 178 pins better than they did at sectional as they placed 18th (3,697) of 20 teams behind champion Westerville Central (4,176). The top four advanced to state.

After rolling a 3,519 to earn the last of 20 district-qualifying berths at sectional Feb. 25 at Sawmill Lanes, Reynoldsburg rolled just a 757 in its opening game at district.

"It was a wonderful season," said Jamie Gapen, who took over as coach in early December.

"We started off a little slow but by the third game they stepped up. ... It was definitely a good way to end the season."

Junior Michael Mossbarger led the Raiders with a 603 that placed him 26th.

The top four individuals not on qualifying teams moved on to state.

Senior Zach Starkey tied for 56th (559) while junior Michael Neff-Young and freshmen Logan Gapen and Owen Chisley also competed.

Others on the team included senior Lashaun Jones and junior Michael Brooks.

The Raiders went 9-9 overall, tied for sixth (9-6) in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-South behind champion Pickerington North (14-1) and were fifth (2-4) in the OCC-Central behind co-champions Pickerington North and Marysville (5-1).

In the girls district tournament, senior Paige Gapen placed 47th (489) as an individual.

In the sectional Feb. 24 at Sawmill Lanes, the Raiders placed 28th (2,475) of 38 teams and Gapen was 35th (473).

Also competing were junior Tyra Hammond, sophomores Halle Pennycuff and Rachelle Ross and freshman Kimmie Shook.

Reynoldsburg went 5-11 overall, tied for ninth (5-9) in the COHSBC-South behind champion Whitehall (14-0) and went 0-5 in the OCC-Central as Gahanna (5-0) won the title.

"They're all real young," coach Gapen said. "The girls improved as well. As long as they keep practicing, we've got a real bright future."

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