Berkemeyer's sacrifice paying off for girls team
Margie Berkemeyer is intent on doing everything she can to make her senior season with the Ready High School girls basketball team one that leaves her with no regrets.
After an illness kept her out of the first 12 games a year ago, Berkemeyer chose not to play this fall for the girls volleyball team, which ended up making its second consecutive run to the Division III state tournament.
The 5-foot-11 post player believes the decision is paying off.
Through six games, Berkemeyer averaged 12.5 points and was proving to be the low-post presence the Silver Knights had been looking for to complement 5-9 sophomore forward Lauren Ruth.
"I gave up volleyball to get better at basketball, and it's definitely helped," Berkemeyer said. "I did track my freshman year and gave that up, but volleyball was a hard choice. I'm definitely healthy again. Last year I was weak and undersized and this year I've put on more muscle."
Ready lost to North Union 57-55 on Dec. 15 and was 3-4 overall and 1-1 in the CCL before playing Watterson on Dec. 19.
The Silver Knights, who play host to Worthington Christian on Saturday, Dec. 22, in their final game before the holiday break, lost a league game to DeSales 60-48 on Dec. 11 as Berkemeyer scored a team-best 14 points.
Ready faces Proctorville Fairland at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 27 and Delaware at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 28 in the Yule Holiday Classic at Liberty Union.
Berkemeyer dressed varsity for the volleyball team in 2011 when it advanced to a state semifinal.
After the season, however, she struggled with an illness she describes as "undefined."
She didn't play her first basketball game last season until Jan. 7 and was a part-time player over the next six games before scoring 23 points in a 47-17 win over Grandview in the regular-season finale.
This season, Berkemeyer scored 16 in Ready's 51-44 opening loss to Worthington Kilbourne on Nov. 23. She had 14 points in a 77-18 win over Columbus School for Girls on Dec. 5 and eight in a 45-25 win over Westerville Central on Dec. 8.
"She understands the game," coach Joe Lang said. "She's athletic and she's going to give us a solid presence inside. We've got to depend on her to rebound the basketball."
Ten Ready players scored against CSG. Junior Bobbie Menke, a 5-10 forward who is seeing her first extensive varsity time, had a game-high 15 points.
The combination of Berkemeyer, Menke and Ruth looks to be turning Ready's inside game into a strength.
"I feel like our team chemistry is great," Berkemeyer said. "We're never forced to like each other. We're all looking to pass, and this team is just really unselfish."
Bowlers eyeing district berths
The boys and girls bowling teams both return key players from a year ago.
Junior Paige Sutfin is the top player for the girls squad after she finished seventh (545) in last year's district tournament at HP Lanes to miss advancing to the state tournament by one spot.
Also back after competing at district are juniors Marina Sweet (59th, 413), Madison Whitehead (89th, 211) and Jordan Bair (90th, 121). Junior Kay-Lee Dunkle is another key player.
The only senior in either program is Meaghan Weldy, who is new to the sport.
The boys team will be led by junior Andy Rinehart, who tied for 61st (495) in the Columbus Western Bowl sectional tournament last season. Other key players include juniors Zach Bair, Dallas Phillips and Payne VanTilburg and sophomores Justin Gibson and James Zwayer.
"Last year, the girls made it to the district finals, and I think their goal would be to make it to district finals again as a team or individually (and) possibly go on to state this year," said Russ Rehner, who is in his 12th season as coach. "Especially with Paige, she has the ability to go to the next level.
"For the boys, we're hoping that they can go to at least the district finals."
Last season, the girls went 16-1 overall and 11-0 in the 13-team Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division. They placed fifth (3,083) at sectional behind champion Briggs (3,494) to advance to district, where they were 14th (2,933) in an 18-team field, behind champion Westerville Central (3,603).
The boys went 11-7 overall and placed sixth (9-5) in the 15-team COHSBC-Central behind champion St. Charles (14-0). They were 18th (3,188) in the 24-team sectional behind champion Jonathan Alder (4,020).