Carl Dufford plans to use the larger courts in the Central District's newer gymnasiums to his team's advantage during the Division III postseason.

Carl Dufford plans to use the larger courts in the Central District's newer gymnasiums to his team's advantage during the Division III postseason.

The Johnstown-Monroe High School girls basketball coach hopes to capitalize on his team's stamina to press opponents, which was the formula in a 65-52 win over Ready on Feb. 18 in the opening round of the district tournament at New Albany.

The fifth-seeded Johnnies improved to 17-4 overall after taking a 23-10 lead in the first quarter.

"We run constantly in practice and I think that can give us a big advantage on a big court," said Dufford, whose team played Columbus School for Girls on Feb. 25 in a second-round game at New Albany. "We constantly run in practice and we can also use our speed on the big courts, especially on the press."

Senior forward Sarah Thomas said the constant running in practice has prepared the Johnnies for the postseason.

"In practice, all we do is run up and down the court and pressure the j.v. team," said Thomas, a senior who had eight points and three steals against Ready. "We really do a lot of running."

The Johnnies' full-court press forced 10 turnovers in the opening quarter and 19 in the game.

"We came out in a little different press than (the Silver Knights) had probably seen," Dufford said. "That's the good thing about playing against a team you haven't faced. You can put in a few new wrinkles."

Sophomore Natalie Carpenter led the Johnnies with 23 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five steals. Sophomore Laiken Valentine scored 13 points and freshman Paige Cannon had 11 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Makenzie Spang had seven rebounds and junior Marissa Sheets had four assists.

The Johnstown-CSG winner plays eighth-seeded West Jefferson or Madison Plains in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, at New Albany.

West Jefferson was 12-8 and Madison Plains was 12-9 before meeting in district play. West Jefferson had a first-round bye and Madison Plains upset seventh-seeded Marion Pleasant 53-49 on Feb. 18. The Johnnies have not played either team this season.

The semifinal winner plays in a district final against top-seeded Africentric, Heath, Mount Gilead or Horizon Science at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at New Albany. Before Feb. 24, Africentric was 16-4, Heath was 6-15, Mount Gilead was 11-10 and Horizon Science was 8-11.

The Johnnies have not played Africentric, Mount Gilead or Horizon Science this season. They defeated Heath 56-26 on Dec. 15 as Valentine and Cannon both scored 16 points.

The district champion advances to a regional semifinal at 8 p.m. March 7 at Ohio University. Possible opponents include West Lafayette Ridgewood, Zanesville West Muskingum, Beverly Fort Frye, Belmont Union Local and Zoarville Tuscarawas Valley.

The regional final is at 1:30 p.m. March 10 at Ohio University.

•The boys basketball team opens Division III district tournament play at 7:45 p.m. Friday, March 2, against 10th-seeded North Union at Central Crossing.

The eighth-seeded Johnnies, who opted for a first-round bye, have not played either team this season. North Union was 13-8 after defeating seventh-seeded Fairbanks 50-44 on Feb. 23.

The winner plays fourth-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek or Horizon Science in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. March 6 at Central Crossing.

The Johnnies finished the regular season 12-8 after rallying from a 17-point deficit to defeat Northridge 56-51 in overtime Feb. 17.

William Orr scored 11 points, Harley O'Flaherty, Sam Scovell and Matt Smith all scored 10 points and Aaron Estep added seven points.

In the MBC, Johnstown tied Fredericktown for second (10-4) behind Loudonville (13-1). Utica (9-5) was fourth followed by Northridge (6-8), Centerburg (4-10), Danville (4-10) and East Knox (0-14).

•The wrestling team had one qualifier for the Division III district tournament Feb. 24 and 25 at Heath.

Joey Dismuke, a senior who competes at 195 pounds, entered district with a 38-9 record.

The top four in each weight class at district advanced to state, which will be held Thursday, March 1, through Saturday, March 3, at Ohio State.

Dismuke went 2-1 and finished second in the sectional that concluded Feb. 18 at Madison Plains. The top four in each weight class advanced to district.

The Johnnies finished 11th (36) of 14 teams at sectional behind champion Amanda-Clearcreek (237). Alex Workman (152) went 2-2 at sectional and placed fifth, making him an alternate for district. Logan Writesel (132) went 2-3 and placed sixth.

Also competing for Johnstown were Aaron Davis (220, 0-2 at sectional), Vince Walls (120, 1-2) and Emmanuel Wood (heavyweight, 0-2).