Unlike during a pair of regular-season losses to CCL-rival Hartley, the Ready High School boys basketball team gained control early and never lost it in the third matchup between the programs this season.
The Silver Knights held Division III district Player of the Year Chris Moxley scoreless in the first half and led by as much as 17 as they beat the Hawks 51-41 on March 6 for a district championship in the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
The win moves Ready into a regional semifinal March 12 at Ohio University against Proctorville Fairland, Chillicothe Southeastern, Wheelersburg or Chesapeake.
“The whole time since we saw the tournament drawing and saw that we might be matched up against Hartley we’ve been ready,” said Ready senior Josh Gantz, who had eight points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots. “Our game plan was to stop their two main scorers and we just executed and played the whole game this time.”
Second-seeded Ready, which lost to Hartley 54-46 on Jan. 4 and 54-49 on Jan. 17, improved to 19-5.
Hartley was seeded first for the district tournament and finishes 16-8.
Moxley scored 20 second-half points for the Hawks, who trailed 18-12 with 6 minutes, 13 seconds to go in the third quarter but fell behind 37-20 with 18 seconds left in the period.
In the fourth quarter, Hartley got as close as 43-36 with 1:41 to go.
Ready finished 12 of 16 from the free-throw line and held Drew Onega, who came in averaging 13 points, to five.
Moxley made just seven of 21 shots as Hartley shot 12-for-52 from the floor.
Shane Lee led Ready with 15 points, Antonio Pulsinelli had 11 points and six rebounds and Jimmy Hanley added 10 points.
The Knights outrebounded Hartley 40-31.
“In the first half we just couldn’t hit anything,” Hartley coach Randy Kortokrax said. “They’re a pretty good team with experience.”