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Reynoldsburg dominates from start to finish in district title win over Mount Vernon

By Zach Fleer, 03/10/18, 7:00PM EST

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Reynoldsburg won its first district title since 2012 on Saturday

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Mount Vernon's real district championship might have happened already. Taking down top-seeded Pickerington North in arguably the biggest upset of the last decade on Wednesday, Mount Vernon had to follow that up in the Division I district championship against Reynoldsburg.

Cinderella lost her slipper.

Opening up on a 25-5 run, Reynoldsburg (19-7) dominated Mount Vernon (18-8) for 32 minutes in a 51-36 victory at Ohio Dominican. Winning its first district championship since 2012, Reynoldsburg never trailed on Saturday.

Holding Mount Vernon without a field goal for the entire first quarter, Reynoldsburg went into the second quarter with a 13-2 advantage. Going on a 12-3 run to begin the second, Reynoldsburg led by as much as 20 with 4:52 to go in the half.

Mount Vernon briefly caught some momentum, responding with a 12-2 run to end the period as Reynoldsburg senior big man Tre Williams went out with foul trouble. Cutting the deficit to 27-17 at halftime, Mount Vernon had a chance to get back into Saturday's title contest.

That inspiring run never happened.

After each team went nearly half the third quarter scoreless, Reynoldsburg senior guard Jamiel Goliday put an end to the drought. Responding with a tough driving score, a right wing three, a steal and one of two free throws in a span of seconds, Goliday's self-made 6-0 run put the Raiders ahead 33-17 with 3:36 to go in the third.

Goliday's surge sparked a 15-5 quarter for Reynoldsburg, as back-to-back power slams from Williams crushed any type of hope for the Yellow Jackets in the third quarter.

Leading 42-22 at the end of three, Reynoldsburg never panicked in the final frame, cruising to a 51-36 victory in front of a giant Mount Vernon crowd.

Reynoldsburg was led by junior wing guard Ben Fort, who scored a game-high 17 points. Getting off to a hot start in the first half, Fort's ability to knock down shots, control the glass and score at the rim was too much for Mount Vernon. Fort, who is having a strong tournament, added four rebounds, two blocks and two steals to his stat line.

Goliday scored nine of his 14 points in the second half, knocking down three triples and putting pressure on Mount Vernon's guards. Williams pitched in eight points while senior guard Elijah Thurston added eight as well. 

Williams, who is one of the area's elite big men, eliminated any type of second chance opportunities for Mount Vernon on the interior. A physical specimen at 6-foot-6, Williams defended the post with great toughness and finished with authority at the rim.

Coming off the bench with four points, four rebounds and four assists, senior forward Malcolm Murphy hit his biggest shot of the night on a three-point buzzer beater at the end of the third.

Reynoldsburg moves on to its first regional tournament in six years. Knocking off top-seeded Northland the last time around in the district finals, the Raiders will look to go one game further than that 2011-12 team did. Reynoldsburg will take on the winner of Hilliard Bradley and Westerville South on March 14. 

For Mount Vernon, senior guard Collin Barteau led the Yellow Jackets with 11 points. Hitting three triples, Barteau was the only Mount Vernon player to stretch the Reynoldsburg defense on Saturday.

Senior guard Tyler Bills pitched in with eight points and two assists. The hero of the district semifinal win over Pickerington North, senior forward Jeffrey Rucker had a tough matchup against the length of Reynoldsburg, finishing with six points and seven rebounds. 

A team with 10 seniors, Mount Vernon ends a special season that included an Ohio Cardinal Conference championship in its first district final appearance since 1993. 

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