While splitting a pair of games during the final weekend of January, the Reynoldsburg High School boys basketball team showed it can be a dangerous opponent once the Division I district tournament gets in full swing.
Still, as with any team that has lost about a third of its games, the Raiders also demonstrated why they can be perplexing at times.
Reynoldsburg is 11-6 overall and 3-4 in the OCC-Ohio Division heading into its game Friday, Feb. 2, at home against Pickerington Central, which was 7-8 before playing Gahanna on Jan. 29.
The Raiders also have a winnable game Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Central Crossing -- which was 8-8 before playing Licking Heights on Jan. 30 -- before the Division I district tournament draw is held Feb. 11.
"Our thing, in order for us to beat a quality team, we cannot have a meltdown quarter," coach Scott Davis said. "You can take every one of our games that we've had, where we've lost to quality teams, we've had one disastrous quarter.
"To beat a good team, if you're talking about getting to the district finals, you're never going to play flawlessly for four quarters, but you've got to play well for most of the game. It can't be another meltdown because against good teams you're not going to recover from that."
The Raiders made 13 3-pointers while beating Grove City 66-60 on Jan. 26.
The Greyhounds, who were 9-7 before playing Watterson on Jan. 30, surrendered season highs of seven 3s and 22 points to senior guard Elijah Thurston.
Junior guard Ben Fort made three 3s and had 18 points, and senior post player Tre Williams added 16 points as Reynoldsburg completed a season sweep of Grove City.
On Jan. 27 during the Jared Sullinger Play by Play Classic, however, Westerville North turned the tables on the Raiders.
Julius Brown made seven 3s and scored 29 points, and the Warriors made 10 3s overall during a 57-46 win at Ohio Dominican that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.
"We just need to work harder on defense and get better from here," Fort said. "We just need to start out well and finish well."
Reynoldsburg was outscored 22-9 in the first quarter and trailed 38-26 at halftime. North then opened the third quarter with back-to-back 3s to extend the lead to 18.
Williams scored 12 points and Fort added nine.
"We got blitzed in the first quarter," Davis said. "We were able to grind back and get it to 12 at the end of the first half and we really felt better. Then on cue, with the first two possessions (of the third quarter), Brown bangs in two 3s. We talked about all the work we'd done and it evaporated in two possessions, so that was disappointing. We just didn't do a good job of defending them, and they made shots.
"I feel like we do have all the pieces and everything we need to make a run. We're just trying to put four quarters together and we're not doing that at this point."
Bowlers taking steps forward
The boys and girls bowling teams have continued to progress, according to second-year coach Jamie Gapen.
With several of his top scorers being underclassmen, Gapen has looked at this season as a bridge toward future success.
"They started out a little slow at first, but they're starting to come around," he said.
"Really it's been the whole team. Right from where they started through all the practices, they've all improved. Even the kids we have that are on the team for the first time. They've gone from throwing a straight ball to even a modified curve."
The boys team was 5-4 overall and in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-B Division before facing Thomas Worthington on Jan. 29. It is 1-2 in the OCC-Central.
The girls were 1-7 overall and in the COHSBC-B before facing Thomas. It is 0-2 in the OCC-Central. The Raiders beat Columbus Academy 1,490-1,265 on Jan. 9.
Through nine matches, sophomore Logan Gapen was leading the boys in average (176.1), followed by sophomore David Robinson (162.2) and seniors Michael Neff-Young (161.1), Michael Brooks (159.2) and Elijah Ratliff (157.6).
For the girls through eight matches, senior Tyra Hammond was leading in average at 126.8. Also competing have been senior Missy Ross, junior Halle Pennycuff, sophomores Kimmie Shook and Kay Hetterscheidt and freshman Katie Morgan.
"I'm very surprised, but it's looking promising," coach Gapen said.
"Since a lot of them have a few years left in the program, I can see them doing pretty well by the time they're seniors."
Swim teams begin prep for postseason
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams begin the Division I postseason Feb. 10 with a sectional meet at Upper Arlington.
On Jan. 27 in the OCC-Ohio meet at Thomas, the boys scored 200.5 points to finish behind Gahanna (297) and Lancaster (238) and ahead of Pickerington North (178), Grove City (172) and Pickerington Central (113.5). The girls scored 77 points to place behind North (389), Gahanna (249), Lancaster (229), Central (133) and Grove City (116).
Harvey Culbert led the boys by winning the 100-yard breaststroke (1 minute, .69 of a second) and 200 individual medley (1:59.29). He also joined Jared Davis, Nate Gaver and Tanner Wooddell on the first-place 200 freestyle relay (1:33.18).
The 200 medley relay of Culbert, Davis, TaJah Reynolds and Alec'zaire Meyers was fourth (25.23).
Gaver was runner-up in the 100 free (50.02) and third in the 200 free (1:54.72), Davis was fourth in the 100 butterfly (58.96) and the 400 free relay of Justin Barnhart, Gaver, Reynolds and Wooddell also was fourth (3:37.68).
The top individual girls finisher was Kasey Lichtner, who was fourth in the 100 breast (1:14.47) and fifth in the 200 IM (2:24.82).
The 200 medley relay of Lichtner, Melissa Herrick, Anise Hodge and Elli Berdan-Prettyman placed fifth (2:37.24).
Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and swimming & diving teams:
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central. The Raiders lost to the Tigers 72-57 on Dec. 22.
Feb. 6 -- At Central Crossing
*Feb. 2 -- Home vs. Pickerington Central. The Raiders lost to the Tigers 56-50 in overtime Dec. 22.
*Feb. 2 -- Gahanna at Holiday Lanes
Feb. 6 -- Grandview at Sawmill Lanes
Feb. 7 -- Whetstone at Holiday Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Feb. 2 -- Pickerington Central and Pickerington North at Lancaster YMCA