It's not difficult to see when the turning point in the Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team's season took place.

After getting blown out by Pickerington Central 71-47 on Dec. 21, the Raiders lost to Bladensburg (Maryland) Seton 56-48 on Dec. 27 in their opening game of the Diamond State Classic in Wilmington, Delaware.

They followed with wins in their next two games in the three-day event, which freshman forward Alexia Mobley believes served a purpose outside of just basketball.

"Our chemistry has gotten a lot better ever since we went to Delaware," Mobley said. "Our chemistry has been on point, and everybody knows their roles. It's gotten a lot easier and my teammates have really helped me find my place."

Reynoldsburg won 16 of its next 17 after that opening loss in Delaware, including beating 11th-seeded Teays Valley 63-48 in a Division I district semifinal Feb. 27 at Hamilton Township and seventh-seeded Upper Arlington 61-32 in a district final March 2 at Ohio Dominican.

The Raiders, who were the fifth seed and have won eight district titles in 10 seasons, were 20-6 before playing Newark in a regional semifinal March 5 at Otterbein. The winner plays Pickerington Central or Westerville South in the regional final Friday, March 8, at Otterbein.

Should Reynoldsburg win the regional, it will play Toledo Notre Dame Academy, Medina, Avon Lake or Canton McKinley in a state semifinal March 15 at Ohio State.

The Raiders previously made it to state semifinals in 2016, '12 and '10.

"We won 20 games last year and there was a period in December where we were still trying to find ourselves," coach Jack Purtell said. "All of a sudden, the kids settled into their roles. We've got kids that kind of buy into what we're doing. They know they have to guard first and be unselfish, (and) care about each other."

In the district final, the Raiders built a 16-1 lead by the end of the first quarter and also outscored UA 21-3 in the third period.

Destiny Fields had 21 points, three assists and three steals and Uju Ezeudu had 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Against Teays Valley, Fields had 18 points and Ezeudu scored 17.

"It was a really fun game (against Teays Valley)," Purtell said. "They came out and played really well and didn't back down on us one bit. It was a good win, the kids played hard, we rebounded the ball well and that was the difference."

Boys basketball team makes district semi

The seventh-seeded boys basketball team rallied to beat 27th-seeded Westerville South 65-63 in overtime March 1 in the second round of the Division I district tournament.

The Raiders advanced to a district semifinal March 6 against eighth-seeded UA.

The winner plays third-seeded Pickerington Central or 26th-seeded Big Walnut in a district final Saturday, March 9, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and that winner plays in a regional semifinal March 14 at Ohio Dominican.

Reynoldsburg improved to 19-5 with the win over South, which it also beat 61-53 on Jan. 22. In the rematch, Xavier Prince made three free throws with less than a minute left in overtime and finished with 16 points.

The Raiders trailed 42-35 heading into the fourth quarter. Ben Fort led Reynoldsburg with 24 points.

Wrestling season ends at district

The wrestling team understood how difficult it would be to have any state qualifiers from the Division I district tournament March 1 and 2 at Mentor considering five-time defending state champion Lakewood St. Edward was among the programs competing.

The Raiders followed a third-place finish Feb. 23 in a sectional at Marysville by scoring 1 point at district to tie for 39th behind champion St. Edward (303.5) as 40 teams scored.

They qualified eight for district and had an additional competitor in Jonathan Axel Balmeo, who finished fifth at sectional at 182 pounds but competed after one of the top four finishers withdrew before district.

Senior Kyle Copas (145) and junior Noah Ratliff (152) entered district as sectional champions. Copas went 1-2 and Ratliff was 2-2 at district.

Axel Balmeo went 0-2, as did Isaiah Boateng (126), Aaron Reynolds (132), Gary McCreary (138), Zach Frye (195) and Colin Harvey (220). Gracie Straughter (113) also qualified with a fourth-place sectional finish but did not compete at district.

Peighton Irish-Arnett (106) and Dalton Hall (heavyweight) made the trip to Mentor as district alternates.

"It's probably the toughest district in the state," coach Jon Forgy said. "I was very pleased we had eight qualify and found out one got in due to the fact that someone else had a skin issue. We (took) the other (fifth-place sectional finishers) to experience what district is like."

Boys bowlers close season at district

After finishing eighth at sectional, the boys bowling team placed 10th (3,691) in the 16-team Division I district tournament March 2 at HP Lanes as the top three squads advanced to state.

Junior Logan Gapen followed a sixth-place finish (665) at sectional by tying for 27th (578) at district. Junior Owen Chisley was 42nd (561), followed by juniors Logan Jeffers (59th, 538), Cameron Brosious (tied for 68th, 507) and David Robinson (tied for 68th, 507).

"They get to see this kind of environment and pretty much the entire team will be coming back," coach Jamie Gapen said.

"We've already got at least one or two eighth-graders coming in. They did well this year. I'm proud of them. We know what we have to work on, just spare-shooting and trying to make those fine adjustments that will only make them better."

Also on the team were senior Quentin Brosious and sophomores Mark Drake and Cris Weatherly.

Gapen averaged 207.7 to finish fourth in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference.

The only other senior in the program was Halle Pennycuff from the girls squad. She led the girls in COHSBC average at 128.5.

Junior Kay Hetterscheidt led the girls at sectional Feb. 22 at HP Lanes with a 380.

Other key competitors included juniors Kimmee Shook and Kaitlynn Stiers and sophomores Katie Morgan and Toniya Seymour Williams.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek