Girls squad quick, deep
With senior Ashley Lutz on the way to becoming the program's all-time leading scorer, the Ready High School girls basketball team earned a share of its first CCL championship in 15 years and won its second consecutive Division III district title during the 2006-07 season.
While coach Joe Lang isn't ready to compare this season's team to that one in terms of what it could accomplish, the Silver Knights might rival that team in terms of athleticism.
Ready, which has gone a combined 52-58 since finishing 22-3 in 2006-07, returns five key players and should get a boost from its newcomers as well.
The Silver Knights, who were 10-11 overall last season, opened Nov. 23 with a 51-44 loss at Worthington Kilbourne.
"The thing I feel best about is that we have really good team quickness," said Lang, who began his 32nd season with a 422-273 record.
"We'll be able to go back to a style we haven't been able to play for four or five years where we can full-court press. The thing about our roster is that (everyone) will play. I think we'll be able to score points."
The top returnees are seniors Kim Lloyd (5-foot-6) and Carly Culbertson (5-7), juniors Caroline Riewe (5-5) and Margie Berkemeyer (5-11) and sophomore Lauren Ruth (5-8).
Lloyd was the leading scorer last year at 12.4 points per game and was honorable mention all-district.
Ruth averaged 9.6 points and was honorable mention all-district. Riewe (5.3 ppg) and Culbertson (3.3) also contributed.
Berkemeyer missed the first 12 games with illness but scored 23 points in a 47-17 win over Grandview in the regular-season finale.
Looking to take on key roles are juniors Bobbie Menke (5-10), Elisabeth Palazzo (5-8) and Allie Schroeder (5-7) and sophomore Madison Gatley (5-5).
Freshman Delaney Cutteridge (5-6) is expected to be an immediate contributor. Sophomore Maggie Quinn (5-5) likely will split time between varsity and junior varsity.
Junior Holland Jones (5-6), who spent most of last season on j.v. but was expected to compete for a varsity role, isn't expected to play because of a hip injury.
"Practices have been going great and the varsity team is (mostly) all veterans," Lloyd said. "In our scrimmage (Nov. 17) all we did was run and play defense. Most of our scores were layups. We were getting a lot of steals because we're playing hard defense.
"I think, especially at Ready, that the atmosphere is a little different than it is in AAU ball. We can work with each other more and it's more of a team bond."
Last season, Ready finished fourth (3-5) in the CCL behind co-champions DeSales and Watterson (6-2) and Hartley (5-3). Columbus School for Girls (0-8) was last.
The Silver Knights won five of their last seven of the regular season but lost to Johnstown 65-52 in a first-round Division III district tournament game.
Nikki Brown, Ciara Carr and Caitlin McAndrew were 2012 graduates who were key players a year ago.
"I think defense will be a key for us," Lang said. "In our scrimmages, Berkemeyer was the only one who consistently rebounded the ball.
"I think Hartley is going to be the team to beat (in the CCL). I think we'll be able to challenge them."