The Ready High School boys basketball team's recent history in the Division III district tournament is evidence of how little its seed for the postseason has affected its eventual results.
When the Silver Knights won their seventh district title in 2008, they were seeded fifth and beat top-seeded Madison Plains 60-52 in a district final.
Two years later, when the Silver Knights captured their eighth district championship, they were the fourth seed and defeated 15th-seeded Worthington Christian 39-30 in a district final.
Ready seemed to be on the verge of adding to that list of titles March 7 before eventually falling in another district final against Worthington Christian, 46-38 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
The eighth-seeded Silver Knights finished 14-11. The Warriors were the sixth seed.
"When you go to the seeding meeting, not everybody does their homework," coach Don Worstell said. "They should look at why a team has seven or eight losses. We'll take what comes to us. We're always excited to play in a district final. It's an honor, but our goal was not (just) to play here."
There were five lead changes during the district final.
Worthington Christian went on an 11-0 run to go up 21-9 with 4 minutes, 16 seconds left in the first half, but Ready answered by scoring the next 18 points and led 27-21 with 6:21 to go in the third. The Warriors used an 8-0 run that began late in the third quarter to take a 36-31 lead with 4:38 remaining.
Ready tied it at 38 with 2:33 left when senior guard Kyle Wilgus made the first of two free throws.
Worthington Christian junior guard Sam Condon then made a layup with 1:52 to go to give his team a 40-38 lead, and senior guard A.C. Taylor added a basket with 1:10 left for a four-point lead.
The Silver Knights had three opportunities to rebound missed shots during the final minute, but each time the ball bounced out of bounds off one of their players.
Junior post player Josh Gantz led Ready with 17 points and seven rebounds.
Ready used a 1-2-2 press to control a 49-34 win over Worthington Christian on Jan. 5, but didn't get the same results with the defense during the rematch.
"They missed some free throws, but we didn't get the rebounds," Worstell said. "(Worthington Christian coach) Kevin (Weakley is) an experienced coach and we knew they'd work on (handling our defense). They made more shots than we did."
Ready's five-member senior class was led by guards Doug Strickler and Wilgus. Strickler averaged 11 points, Wilgus averaged nine and both made honorable mention all-district.
Ready tied DeSales for fourth (1-7) in the CCL behind Watterson (8-0) and Hartley and St. Charles (both 5-3). In addition to Ready's Division III district final appearance, DeSales and Watterson competed in Division II district finals, with Watterson winning a district title.
The Silver Knights opened the postseason by beating 20th-seeded Heath (70-45 on Feb. 23), fifth-seeded Grandview (45-42 on Feb. 27) and fourth-seeded Fredericktown (40-35 on March 5).
Gantz would be the leading returnee after averaging eight points. Others eligible to return include junior forward Matt Yoho (5 points per game), junior guard/forward Jimmy Hanley (3 ppg) and junior guards Kelly Culbertson (2 ppg) and Shane Lee (3 ppg).
"Your experience, not just wins and losses, is based on a lot on the quality and character of your seniors," Worstell said. "We had fantastic seniors."
Wrestling team to build around juniors
The wrestling team is eligible to return all five of its competitors who appeared in the postseason, including junior heavyweight Patrik Garren.
Garren won titles Feb. 2 in the CCL tournament at DeSales, Feb. 15 and 16 in the Division III sectional at Madison Plains, Feb. 22 and 23 in the district tournament at Duncan Falls Philo and Feb. 28-March 2 in the state tournament at Ohio State.
After placing third at state a year ago, Garren went 42-1 and became the first wrestler from the program to win a state championship since 1999. His only loss came in the regular season to Whitehall senior Alex Farrow, who was the Division II state runner-up.
Also eligible to return are juniors Will Martello (152 pounds), Steven Pozz (126), Dalton Scott (138) and Patrick Stover (145).
"We had a pretty big team last year and had a few people just quit this year," Garren said. "We have a couple freshmen coming in that look pretty promising. Hopefully we can get a few more guys out."
The Silver Knights had a new coach in James Yonushonis after Chance Van Gundy left at the end of the 2011-12 season to take the job at Dublin Coffman.
Ready placed third (149) in the league tournament behind St. Charles (263) and Hartley (238) and ahead of DeSales (137) and Watterson (79). Garren, Martello, Scott and Stover won titles and Pozz was second.
The Silver Knights then placed sixth (100) in the 14-team sectional behind champion Amanda-Clearcreek (258). Stover and Garren won titles, Scott was second and Martello took third to advance to district. Pozz went 1-2.
At district, Ready was 14th (49) behind champion Amanda-Clearcreek (147.5) as 54 teams scored. Garren was 4-0 and Scott went 4-1, while Stover went 1-2 to finish 29-11 and Martello was 2-2 to finish 29-14.
Scott was 0-2 at state to finish 31-12.