The recent track record of the Reynoldsburg boys basketball program dictates it should be an upper-echelon team in the OCC-Ohio Division and a Division I district title contender this winter.
The success the Raiders have enjoyed at the freshman and junior varsity levels in recent seasons backs up that sentiment.
Still, eighth-year coach Scott Davis would like to see his team experience some early season success before he takes a hard stand on his team's upside.
"We had a good offseason, but wins in the summer time don't necessarily mean a lot," Davis said. "We were pleased with how we played this summer. The way we have our program, we graduate guys and move up guys off the j.v. team. It's kind of hard to predict kids that have not proven themselves as much on varsity as others. We don't talk about wins and losses and things like that. We just try to play hard, get better and do it the right way and sometimes the winning takes care of itself."
Reynoldsburg opened Nov. 30 by beating Africentric 66-63 in the All-Ohio Nike Showcase at Pickerington North and begins OCC-Ohio action Friday, Dec. 6, at Gahanna.
The top returnees are 6-foot-5 senior forward Sean Moore and 5-11 senior guard Nick Wallace, who averaged 10 and 6.6 points, respectively, last season. Moore was honorable mention all-league as Reynoldsburg went 6-4 to finish third behind co-champions Pickerington Central and North (both 9-1).
The Raiders followed their Division I district championship run in 2018 by going 20-6 overall and falling to Central 50-49 in a district final.
"Things have been pretty good," Moore said. "It's like we're basically building a new team with a lot of young players who are really good. It's just the part of trying to get used to playing with each other."
Senior guard James Dean (5-11) and sophomore wing player Cooper Davis (6-4) are others who played roles last season.
Sophomore Julian Heckman (5-10) will be at point guard after being on j.v. for most of last year.
Junior Zaveon Croff, who is 6-1 and could see time at guard or on the wing, is someone whom Davis calls a "very unique player."
Others looking to contribute include senior J.B. Goodwin (5-11, guard), junior Jessie McDonald (6-0, guard) and freshman Jabari Mitchell (6-2, guard/wing player).
Junior Josiah Mobley, who averaged 5.1 points last season, transferred to Whitehall.
The biggest loss was 2019 graduate Ben Fort, who is competing for Woodstock Academy after averaging 11 points and making third-team all-district and first-team all-league. Two others lost to graduation were Sahmi Willoughby, who was second-team all-league and honorable mention all-district and is playing for Marietta, and Xavier Prince, who was honorable mention all-district and is playing for Point Park.
"We've got a tough schedule, but I feel like every time we step out on the floor, we're going to have a chance," Davis said. "Last year we won 20 games and had a great year, but we won some close ones. It'll be interesting."
Most of boys bowling team has returned
After finishing 10th (3,691) in the Division I district tournament last season as the top three squads advanced to state, the boys bowling team has returned most of its top competitors.
Included in that group is senior Logan Gapen, who finished sixth at sectional (665) and tied for 27th at district (578) after averaging 207.7 per game to finish fourth in the COHSBC.
The Raiders opened Dec. 2 against Lancaster at Holiday Lanes. They again are competing in the COHSBC-B after tying for third at 8-3 and finishing 10-3 overall.
"Just working with them over the summer and during practices at the beginning of the season has shown their vast improvement on their current skill level and the teamwork that they possess," fourth-year coach Jamie Gapen said. "Even the students that will go on to bowl for the team the next few years have amazing potential as well to help continue to make the program a success."
Seniors Owen Chisley, Logan Jeffers and David Robinson and juniors Mark Drake and Cris Weatherly are other returnees.
Freshmen Caleb Defenbaugh and Alijah Walker also are looking to contribute.
"Going into this season, I'd like to see the boys have the same success as last season," Gapen said. "Staying focused on one match at a time will be crucial and keeping a positive attitude will be a must."
Girls bowling team has experienced look
Of the five players on the girls bowling team, three are in at least their third season with the program.
Seniors Kay Hetterscheidt and Kimmie Shook and junior Katie Morgan have returned for the Raiders, who finished 2-11 overall last season and tied for 11th (1-10) in the COHSBC-B.
The others on the team are junior Jenan Alkhatib and sophomore Lizzy Folk.
Hetterscheidt led the Raiders in last year's Division I sectional with a 380.
Halle Pennycuff, who led Reynoldsburg in league average at 128.5, was the only bowler lost to graduation.
"Our goal this year is to win as many matches as possible and keep on learning more and more so they can improve every game," second-year coach Jeff Morgan said. "One of our top priorities is to make it to districts and do well there. The biggest goal is to do well this season and have fun while doing it."
Below are the coming schedules for the Reynoldsburg boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 6 -- At Gahanna
Dec. 10 -- Home vs. Newark
*Dec. 6 -- Home vs. Gahanna
Dec. 10 -- Home vs. Newark
*Dec. 10 -- Dublin Scioto at Sawmill Lanes
*Dec. 11 -- Thomas Worthington at Capri Lanes
Dec. 7 -- Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational at Upper Arlington