When Ready High School boys basketball coach Don Worstell placed his team in its Division III district tournament bracket at the drawing Feb. 9, he did so thinking long term.
If the second-seeded Silver Knights could win a district title, they would play in a regional tournament at Ohio University. Many area coaches believed it was the weaker of the two regional tournaments to which a Central District champion could advance.
Ready accomplished that goal and eliminated a CCL rival, beating top-seeded Hartley 51-41 on March 6 in a district final at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Hawks, with Ready's last win in the series coming 44-35 on Jan. 29, 2010.
"We have a tremendous amount of respect for Hartley," Worstell said. "They've owned us lately. It wasn't about us wanting to play them again. It was more about us wanting that side of the bracket."
Ready, which lost to Worthington Christian 46-38 in a district final last season, played Wheelersburg in a regional semifinal March 12. The winner plays Martins Ferry or Lucasville Valley in a regional final at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at Ohio University.
The regional champion plays in a state semifinal March 21 at Ohio State.
Ready, which lost to Hartley 54-46 on Jan. 4 and 54-49 on Jan. 17, was 19-5 before playing Wheelersburg.
Shane Lee had 15 points, Antonio Pulsinelli had 11 points and six rebounds and Josh Gantz added eight points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in the district final against Hartley.
Ready beat sixth-seeded Centerburg 53-38 in a district semifinal March 4 at Hilliard Davidson to set up the third matchup with the Hawks.
The Knights, who held Hartley senior guard Chris Moxley scoreless in the first half, led by as much as 17.
"We just were trying to play tight defense on them," Pulsinelli said. "We just played our hearts out."
Girls basketball team falls in regional semi
For most of the third quarter and for the first half of the fourth quarter in its Division III regional semifinal March 5 at Springfield, the girls basketball team trailed Jamestown Greeneview by double digits.
The Knights then made one last stand.
A 15-0 run gave Ready a brief lead that it couldn't hold, and the Knights lost 50-43 to finish 18-7.
"We got our momentum and just said that we've just got to keep going, and we ended up going up by one," senior guard Caroline Riewe said. "We just picked our defense up and shut them down."
Ready rallied from a 40-26 deficit to take a 41-40 lead with 3 minutes, 30 seconds to go, but Greeneview answered with a 6-0 run.
Riewe scored to make it 46-43 with 1:33 left, but the Rams' Ashton Lovely made a turnaround jumper with 59 seconds to go and her team held on.
Lauren Ruth scored 18 points, Riewe had 12 and Margie Berkemeyer added 11 for Ready.
Wrestling team losing five seniors
Of the five seniors on the wrestling team, four made state tournament appearances during their careers.
Senior Patrik Garren (heavyweight) finished third at state as a sophomore, won the state title as a junior and took third again in this year's Division III state tournament Feb. 27-March 1 at Ohio State. His performance helped the Knights tie for 26th (19) at state behind champion Delta (141) as 94 teams scored.
Garren, who will wrestle for the University of Pennsylvania, finished 47-2 this season and 152-27 for his career.
Garren was joined in the senior class by Patrick Stover (152 pounds), Will Martello (160), Steven Pozz (132) and Dalton Scott (138).
Stover went 1-2 at state to finish 37-7 and Martello went 0-2 at state to finish 32-17.
Scott was a state qualifier as a sophomore and junior before finishing fifth at sectional and 25-12 overall this season.
Pozz advanced to district for the first time, finishing 2-2 and 40-11 overall.
Ready scored 179 points to finish third in the CCL tournament Feb. 1 behind Hartley (307) and host St. Charles (186.5) and ahead of DeSales (166) and Watterson (114).
The Knights then were sixth (106.5) in the 19-team sectional Feb. 14 and 15 at Cardington behind champion Hartley (190.5) and fourth (70.5) behind champion Hartley (107.5) at district Feb. 21 and 22 at Heath as 50 teams scored.
The top returnee should be freshman Patrick Jansen (170), who won one sectional match and finished 17-21. Others eligible to return include sophomores Michael Creagh (220) and Nathan Koch (120/126) and freshmen Connor Carrera (145) and Matthew Stover (145).
"I've got some guys coming back who did all right at the sectional," coach James Yonushonis said. "We just had five super-stud seniors this year."
Bowling program enjoys strong season
The girls bowling team advanced to state for the first time, and the boys squad had a state representative as well.
In the Division II girls state tournament March 1 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl, senior Paige Sutfin rolled a 607 series to tie Parma Padua's Belle Panza for third to make first-team all-state.
Sutfin finished second in average (199.6) in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference while helping Ready go 15-0 overall and 12-0 in the COHSBC-Central to win its third consecutive title.
In the 11-team Conference Roll-Off on Feb. 8 at Holiday Lanes, Ready finished third (2,952) behind Briggs (3,293) and Westerville South (3,166) as Sutfin placed fourth (599).
The Knights were third (3,231) in the 21-team sectional Feb. 14 at Sawmill Lanes behind Buckeye Valley (3,572) and Cardington (3,394) and first (3,577) in the 12-team district tournament Feb. 22 at HP Lanes.
At state, Ready placed ninth (2,906) during the qualifying round as the top eight advanced to the championship round.
Seniors Madison Whitehead (44th, 495), Marina Sweet (57th, 479), Jordan Bair (69th, 459) and Kay-Lee Dunkle (80th, 382) also competed at state.
The boys went 12-4 overall and placed fourth (11-3) in the COHSBC-Central behind champion DeSales (14-0). Ready was seventh (3,724) in the 30-team sectional behind champion Buckeye Valley (4,195) and sixth (3,698) in the 14-team district tournament behind champion Jonathan Alder (4,360) as the top three advanced to state.
Freshman Ryan O'Harra placed seventh (626) at district to earn one of three individual state-qualifying berths and tied for 56th (519) at state Feb. 28 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
The boys lose four seniors in Zach Bair, Ron Morrison, Andrew Rinehart and Payne VanTilburg.