With two of its top players out sick, the Ready High School boys bowling team got a school-record performance by junior Andy Rinehart and a season-best by Tim Dalton on Jan. 22 to edge Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division rival Brookhaven.
It was the kind of performance that has epitomized what could go down as the best regular season to date for the Silver Knights.
The girls team won the COHSBC-Central championship a year ago, and both teams have set their sights on league titles this season.
"This is the best season we've had for the boys, especially considering the youth we have on the team," coach Russ Rehner said. "Because the girls have been together for the last three years, each year they're getting better. They still want to do better."
Rinehart has been among the reasons for the boys team's surge into title contention.
In a 2,077-2,053 win over Brookhaven, he rolled 267 in the first game and 246 in the second for a program-record 513 series.
He was averaging 200.6 per game before Ready faced Beechcroft on Jan. 30.
Sophomore James Zwayer was out sick against Brookhaven but had a team-best 190.5 average during a 1,931-1,818 win over DeSales on Jan. 23.
Other key contributors have included juniors Payne VanTilburg, Zach Bair and Dallas Phillips and sophomore Justin Gibson.
Bair also was out sick against Brookhaven, but Dalton turned in Ready's second-best series (321) in what was the first time all season he played in both games of a match.
Rinehart is the only returnee from last season.
"Last year we finished above .500 (at 11-7), but we didn't think we were going to be this good with four new starters and no seniors," he said. "I bowled maybe twice a month (in the fall) and throughout the summer I played three or four times a month. I got a new ball that's more aggressive and I've been working with a coach."
Junior Paige Sutfin finished seventh (545) in last season's district tournament at HP Lanes to miss advancing to the state girls tournament by one spot. She was averaging 194.7 before Jan. 30 and was second in the area in average through Jan. 26.
Other key contributors have included juniors Madison Whitehead (158.9 average before Jan. 30), Marina Sweet (151.8), Jordan Bair (145.9) and Kay-Lee Dunkle (136.3).
The only senior in the program is Meaghan Weldy, who is new to the sport.
"We just have a very strong team," Sutfin said. "We just hold it together so well and we work even harder on our Baker games. (Winning the league) would mean everything to us."
"They all contribute and they all pick each other up," Rehner said. "Sometimes it takes a long time to get chemistry. This year we were just hoping the boys would get into the top third of the conference. We've got kind of a fab five with our junior girls."
Girls basketball team finding groove
The girls basketball team hopes its 66-53 win over Johnstown on Jan. 22 moves it closer to a seed among the top seven for the Division III district tournament.
The Johnnies, who beat the Silver Knights 65-52 in the first round of the tournament a year ago, were third in last week's area coaches poll behind Africentric and North Union. Fredericktown and Centerburg were tied for fourth and Liberty Union was sixth.
Ready lost to Liberty Union 48-38 on Dec. 29 and to North Union 57-55 on Dec. 15.
The Silver Knights were 9-8 overall and 1-4 in the CCL before playing Watterson on Jan. 30.
"I told them after the (Johnstown) game that it was the best I've had a team play since the (2006-07) team," said coach Joe Lang, whose team won a district title that season. "I don't know if we can play much better than that.
"I would probably seed us sixth or seventh (in the district tournament). The problem is that we've still got (a tough schedule) before the drawing (Sunday, Feb. 3). I think anybody that truly believes they can win the district is probably going to go away from (Africentric in the drawing). It seemed like last year the fifth and sixth seeds went to their bracket."
The Silver Knights will play the remainder of the season without junior point guard Caroline Riewe, who broke her collarbone in the third quarter against Johnstown.
Sophomore Madison Gatley and freshman Delaney Cutteridge are expected to receive the bulk of the playing time in place of Riewe.
Against Johnstown, sophomore forward Lauren Ruth scored 15 points and senior guard Kim Lloyd had 14.
According to Lang, junior post player Margie Berkemeyer deserved most of the credit for Johnstown's Makenzie Spang, a 6-foot-2 post player, being held to eight points.
"Caroline Riewe was without question one of the greatest on-the-ball defenders we've ever had," Lang said. "We blocked out all night (against Johnstown). We outrebounded them 35-24, which was almost textbook for what we want to do."
Boys team hopes for better CCL results
The boys basketball team continues CCL play Friday, Feb. 1, at home against Watterson in a rematch of a game it lost 46-40 on Dec. 21.
The Silver Knights were 9-7 overall before playing Gran-ville on Jan. 29. They fell to 1-5 in the league with a 34-32 loss to St. Charles on Jan. 26.
Ready also lost two recent CCL games to Hartley, 42-35 on Jan. 10 and 42-33 on Jan. 18.
On Jan. 19 in a 52-46 win over Yellow Springs, the Silver Knights got a career-high 23 points from senior guard Kyle Wilgus. He made five of six 3-point attempts.
Swim teams place fifth in league meet
The boys and girls swimming and diving teams next compete in a Division II sectional meet Feb. 9 at Upper Arlington.
On Jan. 26 at Columbus School for Girls, the boys scored eight points in the CCL meet to finish fifth behind St. Charles (417), Hartley (234), Watterson (190) and DeSales (174). The girls scored one point to finish fifth behind Watterson (404), CSG (360), Hartley (210.5) and DeSales (158.5).