A rough stretch in late January didn’t prevent the Reynoldsburg High School girls basketball team from capturing its fourth consecutive OCC-Ohio Division championship.
On Feb. 7, the Raiders won 43-36 at Newark to finish 12-2 in the league after going 14-0 each of the past three seasons.
Newark and Gahanna went 10-4 in the league and Pickerington Central was 9-4 before playing Pickerington North on Feb. 11.
Reynoldsburg lost back-to-back games to Pickerington Central (61-57 on Jan. 24) and Gahanna (35-24 on Jan. 28) but bounced back to close the OCC-Ohio schedule with wins over Pickerington North (46-37 on Jan. 31), Lancaster (62-18 on Feb. 4) and Newark.
“We had that bump in the road and it made us stronger as a team,” junior wing player Courtney Purtell said. “(Winning the league is) a good feeling.”
The Raiders earned a season sweep over Newark even though senior post player Alyssa Rice, their leading scorer, was held to six points in the second-round matchup. Senior forward Nicole Orr made four 3-pointers and scored 16 points, Purtell made three 3s and had 10 points and Rice had 13 rebounds.
Reynoldsburg also beat Newark 44-40 on Jan. 8.
“I think we’ve realized we have to give everyone touches to win games,” Purtell said. “We all play very important roles.”
Reynoldsburg takes an 18-4 overall record into its Division I district tournament opener Monday, Feb. 17, at home against 47th-seeded Groveport.
The top-seeded Raiders, who have won four consecutive district championships, beat the Cruisers 78-16 on Nov. 29 and 90-18 on Jan. 10.
“We knew we had a share of the (league title) going in (to the Newark game) but we wanted to play well, it was a nice crowd and we had some really solid efforts,” coach Jack Purtell said. “We made eight 3s, which is pretty good.
“Basketball’s a long season and we haven’t had many valleys the last few years, but we lost a couple close games and I like how the kids responded after that.”