Coming off a season in which it advanced to a Division III state semifinal, it wasn't easy for the Ready High School boys basketball team to stomach a regular season in which it endured double-digit losses.

Coming off a season in which it advanced to a Division III state semifinal, it wasn't easy for the Ready High School boys basketball team to stomach a regular season in which it endured double-digit losses.

However, the Silver Knights did have reason to be optimistic entering this year's district tournament considering the manner of most of their losses during the season's second half.

After beating Worthington Christian 43-42 on Jan. 14 to improve to 3-7, Ready lost four consecutive games, including three by six points or fewer.

In addition, the Silver Knights lost seven of their final nine regular-season games, with six of the losses being by six points or fewer, including setbacks against CCL-foes DeSales (46-43 on Feb. 7), Watterson (52-48 on Feb. 4) and Hartley (60-54 on Jan. 28) as well as the district's fourth seed in Division III, North Union (54-51 on Feb. 15).

"It's been a frustrating month," coach Don Worstell said. "We've played pretty good basketball the last month and our inexperience has allowed us to lose almost every night."

Ready began the postseason Feb. 23 against Berne Union, with the winner playing top-seeded Heath in the second round at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at Newark.

Better health and a maturing group of young players helped the Silver Knights become a more competitive unit over the second half of the season.

Senior Christian Knapper missed the first 10 games of the season as he recovered from a broken leg but has been a key contributor since his return. He scored 13 points against North Union.

Junior guard Derek Farmer also has been a steady contributor after missing the season's first six games with a shoulder injury. He scored 30 points against Hartley.

In addition, freshmen Jimmy Hanley, Brady Taylor and Matt Yoho have become steady contributors after seeing little action early in the season. Taylor scored 17 in a 58-46 win over Wellington on Feb. 5.

"(Better health has been) part of it, but I think also the freshmen have been with us for almost an entire season," Worstell said. "We were so incredibly inexperienced coming into the season, but we're athletic enough to be a good team.

"It's been a nice asset (having Knapper back). Christian is incredibly quick and strong and really our most experienced player. Getting him back has helped our team."

•The girls basketball team's longest winning streak of the season came at an opportune time.

After enduring an eight-game losing streak from mid-January through the first week of February, the Silver Knights beat DeSales 42-39 on Feb. 9, Grove City 51-36 on Feb. 10 and Olentangy Liberty 41-38 on Feb. 12 to close the regular season.

Ready then surprised sixth-seeded Centerburg 55-49 in the first round of the Division III district tournament on Feb. 17 to improve to 8-13 and advance to play third-seeded Bloom-Carroll in the second round Feb. 23.

If Ready pulled a second consecutive tournament upset against Bloom-Carroll, it would play Johnstown or Linden-McKinley in a district semifinal at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at Olentangy Orange.

While the Silver Knights were seeded 24th of 28 teams for the tournament, Johnstown and Linden were seeded 26th and 27th, respectively. The Johnnies opened the postseason by upsetting fourth-seeded Elgin 55-47 on Feb. 16.

"We've done a better job of executing, and if you get a couple wins, it does a lot for your confidence," coach Joe Lang said.

Alexis Mayle and Dani Pugh each scored 16 points against Centerburg to lead Ready, which built a 22-8 advantage by the end of the first quarter.

After averaging 4.8 points through 16 games, Mayle averaged 16 points over the next five. Mayle and Nikki Scott also have stepped up in the area of rebounding, according to Lang.

Pugh averaged a team-best 11.6 points through 21 games.

"I got on Alexis and Nikki about doing a better job of rebounding," Lang said. "They've improved their effort from the rebounding side of things. (Mayle) has been living at the foul line just because she's been taking the ball to the hole better. Those two inside have given us a presence so that we haven't had to rely on Dani as much."

•The wrestling team advanced nine wrestlers to the Division III district tournament, which will be held Friday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 26, at Coshocton.

Winning titles at the Madison Plains sectional on Feb. 18-19 were Bobby Smith (103, 36-1 overall record) and Josh Hall (112, 34-4). Finishing second were Dalton Scott (119, 28-11), Phil Halko (160, 25-12) and Brandon Cooper (215, 24-10), while Hannibal Tate (145, 31-9) placed third and Patrick Stover (130, 23-18), Joe Knapp (135, 21-14) and Patrik Garren (189, 22-16) placed fourth.

Ready finished third (176.5) at the 15-team sectional, behind West Jefferson (254.5) and Amanda-Clearcreek (218.5). The Silver Knights were the fifth seed while West Jefferson was the No. 1 seed, Amanda-Clearcreek was seeded third and Utica was seeded fourth. Utica finished fourth (154.5).

"Location played no part in it," coach Chance Van Gundy said. "It's about how we match up.

"We wrestled a pretty competitive schedule this year and I think all of our guys are wrestling hard."

AT A GLANCE

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for the Ready boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:

BOYS BASKETBALL

Feb. 15 - Lost to North Union 54-51

*Feb. 18 - Lost to St. Charles 58-41

Feb. 23 - Played Berne Union in first round of Division III district tournament. Winner plays top-seeded Heath in second round, 8 p.m. Feb. 26 at Newark. Winner plays eighth-seeded Horizon Science Academy, Galion Northmor or Northridge in district semifinal, 8 p.m. March 2 at Fairgrounds Coliseum.

Of note: The Silver Knights were 5-15 overall before Feb. 23 and finished 0-8 (fifth) in the CCL, behind Hartley (7-1), DeSales (6-2), Watterson (4-4) and St. Charles (3-5).

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Feb. 17 - Defeated sixth-seeded Centerburg 55-49 in first round of Division III district tournament

Feb. 23 - Played third-seeded Bloom-Carroll in second round of district tournament. Winner plays Johnstown or Linden-McKinley in district semifinal, 6 p.m. March 2 at Olentangy Orange.

Of note: The Silver Knights were 8-13 overall before Feb. 23.

BOWLING

Feb. 18 - Boys: Finished 13th (3,228) at 24-team sectional tournament at Eastland Lanes, behind champion Hartley (4,231); Girls: Finished seventh (3,051) at 21-team sectional at Eastland Lanes, behind champion Westerville South (3,531). Advancing to district was Allison Lichwa (583).

Feb. 26 - Lichwa will compete at district tournament at HP Lanes. The top three individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the state tournament March 4 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.

WRESTLING

Feb. 18-19 - Finished third (176.5) at 15-team Division III sectional tournament at Madison Plains, behind West Jefferson (254.5) and Amanda-Clearcreek (218.5). District qualifiers were Brandon Cooper (215, 2-1, second), Patrik Garren (189, 2-2, fourth), Phil Halko (160, 2-1, second), Josh Hall (112, 3-0, first), Joe Knapp (135, 2-2, fourth), Dalton Scott (119, 3-1, second), Bobby Smith (103, 4-0, first), Patrick Stover (130, 2-2, fourth) and Hannibal Tate (145, 4-1, third).

Feb. 25-26 - District tournament at Coshocton. The top four in each weight class advance to the state tournament March 3-5 at Ohio State.

*CCL game