Reynoldsburg Roundup: Pandemic disruption not slowing girls basketball team

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Reynoldsburg's Alexia Mobley drives in for a layup Dec. 29 against Hilliard Davidson. The junior guard, who played at Reynoldsburg as a freshman before transferring to Whitehall last season, is considering graduating early and beginning her career at Louisville next season.

In addition to the OCC postponing the beginning of its league schedule until the third weekend in December, the Reynoldsburg girls basketball team was quarantined for two weeks late in the month because of COVID-19 protocols. 

The Raiders’ season didn’t begin until Dec. 29, which was just two days after they were cleared to return to practice, and they have three players filling key roles who transferred in during the offseason.  

Don’t expect Reynoldsburg to struggle to build team camaraderie, though.  

Junior Alexia Mobley, a 6-foot-2 guard/forward who competed for the Raiders as a freshman before helping Whitehall earn a Division II district runner-up finish last season, returned to the program this winter.  

In addition to having extensive experience with other key returnees including senior Taylor Starks and juniors Makiya Miller, Mya Perry and Jamiona Ross, she also had previously built relationships with junior newcomers Imarianah Russell and Trinity Ramos. 

Russell is a Dublin Coffman transfer, and Trinity Ramos previously played at Olentangy Liberty. 

“It feels good (to play for the Raiders),” Mobley said. “I’ve already developed chemistry with this team, but I feel like my confidence has gotten better (since leaving Reynoldsburg after my freshman year). I know what I can work on and can get better at. 

“We all count on each other and we’ve all played with each other pretty much our whole lives. I’ve played with Makiya since fourth grade. Trinity I’ve known since fourth grade. Mya I’ve known since fourth grade. (Russell) I’ve known since elementary school.” 

In Reynoldsburg’s 79-44 victory over Hilliard Davidson on Dec. 29, Russell scored 26 points and was one of four in double figures along with Perry (17), Miller (14) and Mobley (13). 

Russell, who was averaging 22 points through three games, scored 24 in a 63-57 victory over Hilliard Bradley on Dec. 30.  

The Raiders opened OCC-Buckeye Division action with a 69-10 victory over Lancaster on Jan. 2 as Russell and Mobley both finished with 16 points, Miller had 14 and Perry added 10. 

Reynoldsburg also earned a 61-56 victory Jan. 6 over Shaker Heights Laurel, which was ranked ninth in Division II in the opening state poll. The Raiders, who improved to 4-0, were fourth in Division I.

Perry announced Jan. 1 that she has committed to play for Ohio State.  

Mobley is committed to Louisville and is considering graduating early and enrolling there next year, according to coach Jack Purtell.  

In addition to a junior class that features Miller, Mobley, Perry, Ramos, Ross and Russell, sophomore guard Sam Savoy also is in the rotation.  

“We have a long way to go but I thought the effort (has been) really good,” Purtell said. “We practiced twice in the past 16 days (before our opener) and I feel like our conditioning will get better. Our shot selection will get better. The skill in this group is really good. They’re extremely athletic. There are not a whole lot of teams that are going to be as fast and athletic as this group is.  

“We were shut down so many times over the summer. We practiced a few times and we started in October but we didn’t have a regular summer. We didn’t get to go to any team camps because nothing was open.  

“(Mobley’s) an extremely hard worker. She never takes a day off in practice ever. She brings it every single day and the sky’s the limit for her. Mya and Makiya have a lot more help than they did last year. They were sophomores and had to carry the scoring load and I asked them to do an awful lot. This year they can get more breaks during the game.”  

Boys basketball team  

seeks steady offense  

During a 66-61 loss Jan. 5 to Dublin Coffman, the boys basketball team tied the game at 55 on a putback basket by senior forward Zaveon Croff with 3 minutes, 30 seconds to go after it had trailed by seven early in the fourth period.  

Defense, combined with sequences such as those created by Croff following a missed shot, have been bright spots early on for a Raiders team that doesn’t have a player taller than 6-foot-3.  

“We’re pretty small,” first-year coach Andy Moore said. “(Coffman is) really good in their transition defense, and that’s how we’ve been able to score. We’ve also been able to score because we’ve created our offense with our defense. One of the things we’ve got to do better is execute in the halfcourt.  

“Not making excuses, but we haven’t been together real long. I think (our) practice (Jan. 4) was No. 34. We practiced for a while, COVID hit and we had 11 days off. Then we practiced for a while, COVID hit and we had 12 days off. So we haven’t had a lot of reps, a lot of time together to get a lot of continuity offensively.”  

Croff, who is 6-1, and senior guard Josiah Mobley, who had been a part of the program as a freshman and sophomore before playing for Whitehall last season, have led the way on offense. They both scored 19 against the Shamrocks. 

The loss to Coffman dropped the Raiders to 2-1 overall. They opened with a 59-50 win over Licking Heights on Dec. 5 and then were off for four weeks before beating Lancaster 64-44 on Jan. 2 in their OCC-Buckeye opener.  

Senior guard Julian Heckman, who had 17 points against Licking Heights and 13 against Lancaster, and junior guard Jonye Madison, who had nine points against Lancaster, also have been bright spots. Madison is a first-year varsity player. 

“(After the Coffman game) we’ve got to get back to rebounding the basketball,” Moore said. “We did a poor job of that and that was a big part of it. I can’t imagine how many points they got off of that.”  

Sophomore Marcus Collins (145 pounds) won his first three matches this season for the Raiders, who face Newark in an OCC-Buckeye match Thursday, Jan. 14, at home.

Wrestling team  

set for pair of duals 

The wrestling team continues OCC-Buckeye action Thursday, Jan. 14, with a home dual against Newark and then is scheduled to compete Saturday, Jan. 16, at Teays Valley.   

The Raiders opened Dec. 19 by beating Hilliard Bradley 41-39 and Bloom-Carroll 52-30 before losing 48-33 to Thomas Worthington on Dec. 22.  

Sophomores Marcus Collins (145) and Caleb Smiley (138) won their first three matches, while seniors Michael Dawkins (132), Gaven Miller (182) and Steven Schulze (220) and sophomore Landon Bray (126 pounds) all earned victories over Bradley and Bloom-Carroll.  

julrey@thisweeknews.com  

@UlreyThisWeek