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5 Keys: Reynoldsburg upsets Pickerington North

By Greg Glasser, 01/03/23, 11:00PM EST


Sophomore Jordan Fisher fuels the Raiders and hand the Panthers their first loss

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio -- Only two area Division I programs remained undefeated until Tuesday night, as an emerging Reynoldsburg team handed Pickerington North their first loss of the season, with a 64-55 win. 

In front of a near-capacity gym, filled with notable top area players from the past and present in the stands, Reynoldsburg took a four-point lead into halftime and carried momentum throughout the rest of the game. 

Raiders sophomore Jordan Fisher took control in the third, as he scored 11 of his game high 21 points in the period and brought the crowd to their feet with a transition dunk over Pickerington North's Jeff Amapps to give Reynoldsburg a comfortable ten-point advantage.

Amapps, who had a fantastic game of his own and finished with 20 points, was relentless all evening and led a valiant Panthers push to trim the Raiders lead to two in the final two minutes of the fourth. 

Enter Reynoldsburg senior Hammond Russell, whose back-to-back triples, would push the Raiders lead back up to eight with under a minute to go. 

After some enhanced emotions and against a raucous home crowd, Pickerington North picked up a couple technicals and was not able to recover as Reynoldsburg sealed the nine-point upset.

The Raiders received a total team effort, but were led by the sensational play of Fisher, who added four assists, four rebounds and three blocks on top of his team-high 21 points. 

Seven other Raiders would score, with Russell and freshman Jorden Bowens as the other two players in double figures, with 11 and ten points, respectively. Bowens also finished with five rebounds and three blocks.

Defensively, Reynoldsburg received strong effort from their starting guards, senior Zazen Bivens and junior Noah Smith. The duo did a good job of limiting North's star guard, Arness Lawson. The sophomore Panther finished with 13 points, but was disrupted from getting into a consistent offensive rhythm. 

In addition to his 20 points, Amapps led the Panthers with nine rebounds and was two-way playmaker. His efforts were complimented by junior Jaiden Vital, who finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. The Panthers had no other player score more than two points.

After a somewhat inconsistent start to the season, the Raiders (5-4) pulled off their most significant win to date which follows an impressive 37-point win over Walnut Ridge. They'll look to stay hot as they travel to Central Crossing this Friday.

One loss certainly shouldn't negate Pickerington North's (9-1) impressive start to the season as the Panthers look to get back on track as they visit New Albany this Friday.

For a further breakdown on Tuesday's game, check out the 5 Keys To The Game

1. KvngJordan - Living up to his Twitter handle, the sophomore wing was really special on Tuesday. Fisher looked the part of an elite play-maker and gave the vibes of a younger Dailyn Swain the way he made a difference on both ends. The Raiders received a total team effort, but it was Fisher's ability to finish at the rim and find an open man in traffic that made Reynoldsburg hard to beat on Tuesday. We look forward to further breaking down his performance in the upcoming Prospect Scouting Report.

2. Difference in Depth: Fisher's all-star performance was the most noteworthy, but Reynoldsburg coach Andrew Moore should be pleased with the effort from each player that took the court. The Raiders had eight scorers total, but each individual excelled in their role. Meanwhile, North only received four bench points and were mostly led in all-around production by Amapps, Lawson and Vital. When everyone plays their role, such as the Raiders did on Tuesday, that makes hard for a team to beat.

3. Three-Ball: While neither team had significant success on long range attempts, it was an especially challenging night for the Panthers. Pickerington North was held to zero made three point attempts and scored a vast majority of their points in the paint. Meanwhile, the Raiders hit on four triples, three from Russell and one from Fisher.

4. Senior Services: While most of the buzz is around Reynoldsburg's underclassmen, the Raiders don't secure the upset without the service of their most experienced players. Russell delivered the back-to-back three point daggers. Bivens was impactful on defense and added three assists. Fellow senior Joe Spann finished with six points, but notably sparked energy when he had a block followed by a charge call on the next defensive possession. A mixture of young talent along with composed veterans is what the Raiders will want to continue to produce.

5. What's next for North?: Just about every team suffers defeat throughout the season and it was likely only a matter of time for the Panthers. Yet they have a talented duo in Amapps and Lawson, while Vital looks the part of a very productive player. Although Amapps plays bigger than his 6'3 height, the Panthers do lack size and will need to shoot from outside much better than they did Tuesday. The next two weeks offer formidable challenges starting with New Albany, followed by Northland, Newark and Gahanna. It will be interesting to see how North responds during that stretch.

MVP: Jordan Fisher (Reynoldsburg sophomore guard with 21 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks)

Top Scorer: Fisher

Hustle Player of the Game: Jorden Bowens (Reynoldsburg freshman forward with 10 points, five rebounds, three blocks, steal and assist)

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