During a recent Reynoldsburg High School boys bowling practice, junior Logan Jeffers converted a 6-10-7 split, which is considered one of the tougher spares to make.
The cheering that followed hasn't been an uncommon sight among the Raiders this winter.
It's been part of the lifeblood for a team that surpassed 2,200 pins nine times in Central Ohio High School Bowling action.
"We'll scream our heads off and get crazy excited," junior Owen Chisley said. "This year I feel like the team chemistry is really important. Outside of actual matches, we all get along really well. We all like to help each other and tell how the lanes are breaking down."
The Raiders began the first full week of February ranked second of 50 teams in the COHSBC in regulation average at 946, only behind Westerville Central (999).
Through 24 games, Reynoldsburg had one of the conference's top five bowlers in junior Logan Gapen, who had a 208.5 average.
Despite the overall team consistency, the Raiders came up short of winning titles in the COHSBC-B Division and OCC-Central.
Reynoldsburg closed the regular season at 10-3 overall, 8-3 in the COHSBC-B and 3-3 in the OCC-Central.
The Raiders won their first nine matches before losing to Gahanna (2,398-2,367 on Jan. 25), Lancaster (2,304-2,226 on Jan. 29) and Pickerington North (2,272-2,240 on Jan. 31).
Still, for much of last season, Reynoldsburg wasn't consistently breaking 2,000 pins.
"They've definitely surprised me," coach Jamie Gapen said. "I knew they had the ability just with the way they practice, but the good news is all of them are contributing. It's not just one or two bowlers."
The girls team, which beat Hilliard Davidson 1,469-1,440 on Feb. 7 to close the regular season at 2-11 overall, 1-10 in the COHSBC-B and 2-4 in the OCC-Central, will open the postseason in the Division I sectional Feb. 22 at HP Lanes.
The postseason begins for the boys team with the Division I sectional Feb. 23 at HP Lanes.
"We've got each other's backs," Jeffers said. "If one of our teammates is having a bad game, we're going to pick him up right away."
In addition to Jeffers, Chisley and Logan Gapen, juniors Cameron Brosius and Tyler Robinson and sophomore Cris Weatherly have been key contributors.
According to Chisley, he and his teammates "had a good offseason" of competition to help prepare for this winter.
Reynoldsburg made its only state tournament appearance as a team in 2015 but could be a contender for one of the three state-qualifying berths at the district tournament March 2 at HP Lanes.
"They're taking every challenge as it comes and making the best of it," coach Gapen said.
Swimmers open postseason action
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams next compete in the Division I district meet Saturday, Feb. 15, at Ohio State.
In a sectional Feb. 9 at Upper Arlington, the boys finished sixth (103) of 15 teams behind champion and host UA (323) and the girls were 16th (8) of 17 teams behind champion and host UA (385.5).
For the boys, Harvey Culbert won the 200-yard individual medley (1 minute, 59.06 seconds) and placed second in the 100 breaststroke (59.06), Nate Gaver was runner-up in the 50 freestyle (21.82) and fifth in the 100 free (48.46), the 200 medley relay of Justin Barnhart, Culbert, Max Hutson-Comeaux and Gaver placed fourth (1:44.08) and the 400 free relay of Culbert, Barnhart, Hutson-Comeaux and Gaver finished fourth (3:22.08).
Kasey Lichtner finished ninth in the 50 free (25.27) and ninth in the 100 breast (1:10.62) to lead the girls.
At district, the top two finishers in each swimming event automatically advance to the state meet Feb. 22 and 23 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
Boys basketball team turns focus to tourney
With a 56-50 loss to Pickerington Central on Feb. 1, the boys basketball team's hopes of winning the OCC-Ohio title all but ended.
The Raiders fell to 5-4 in the league after losing to Pickerington North 53-48 on Feb. 8 in a rematch of a game they lost 64-52 on Jan. 4. Ben Fort scored 25 points in the rematch.
Both Pickerington teams were 8-1 after playing league games Feb. 8.
Reynoldsburg beat Eastmoor Academy 57-56 on Feb. 9 to improve to 16-5 overall.
The Raiders received the seventh seed for the Division I district tournament and will open the postseason against 38th-seeded Mifflin on Feb. 23 at home.
Wrestlers prep for postseason
The wrestling team lost to Grove City 49-23 and Lancaster 54-27 on Feb. 7 to finish 0-5 in the OCC-Ohio.
The Raiders then were 15th (57) in the 18-team All-North Tournament on Feb. 9 at Dublin Jerome as Kyle Copas (145 pounds) was runner-up, Noah Ratliff (160) placed third and Isaiah Boateng (126) finished fifth.
Next up for Reynoldsburg is a Division I sectional tournament Feb. 23 at Marysville.
Raiders athletes select colleges
Twelve Reynoldsburg athletes have announced their college decisions since the beginning of the February signing period.
In football, J'Vonte Edwards will play for Robert Morris, Ke'Shun Moore will play for Ohio Dominican, Guy Cowans-Wright and Princeton Hoskins will compete for Sienna Heights, Ben Fitzgerald will play for Urbana, Savion Turner has committed to Alderson Broaddus, Trenton Scherger will compete for Kenyon and Noah Mwaitenda will play for Wilmington. Dezman Cooper will be a preferred walk-on at Ohio University.
Also announcing their commitments were Harvey Culbert (men's swimming at West Virginia), Olivia Rettke (softball at Ohio Dominican) and Caitlyn McKean (women's soccer at Ohio Dominican).
Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg boys basketball and girls basketball teams:
*Feb. 15 -- At Lancaster. The Raiders beat the Golden Gales 59-35 on Jan. 11.
Feb. 15 -- Home vs. 37th-seeded Central Crossing in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays host to 43rd-seeded Mifflin on Feb. 22 in second round. Reynoldsburg is the fifth seed.
Below are the district qualifiers with sectional time and district seeds for the Reynoldsburg boys and girls swimming teams:
Boys -- Harvey Culbert: 200 IM (1:59.06, third), 100 breast (59.06, third); Nate Gaver: 50 free (21.82, seventh), 100 free (48.46, 11th); Max Hutson-Comeaux: 500 free (5:05.86, 23rd); 200 medley relay (1:44.08, 14th); 400 free relay (3:22.08, ninth); Girls -- Kasey Lichtner: 50 free (25.27, 19th), 100 breast (1:10.62, 24th)