During its regular-season finale Feb. 15, the Ready High School boys basketball team produced a season-best offensive performance to beat Marion Elgin 79-42 and ensure it would have at least a .500 season.
The Silver Knights' ability to get the ball inside to junior forwards Josh Gantz and Matt Yoho, as they did that night, appears to be among the key reasons they've taken a step forward after going 9-14 last season.
Gantz, who is 6-foot-6, finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Yoho, who is 6-4, had 10 points to complement the play of senior guard Doug Strickler, who scored 15.
"If we play from the inside-out and can get the ball to our post players, I think we're a lot better of a team," Strickler said.
Ready earned the eighth seed for the Division III district tournament and was 11-10 heading into its postseason opener Feb. 23 at home against 20th-seeded Heath.
The winner plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, at fifth-seeded Grandview.
Heath was 4-16 entering its regular-season finale Feb. 22 at Utica. Grandview lost two of its final three of the regular season but is 16-5.
If the Silver Knights advance to a district semifinal, they will play fourth-seeded Fredericktown, 14th-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek or 18th-seeded Galion Northmor at 8 p.m. March 5 at Delaware. The district final is 8:30 p.m. March 7 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum.
Although Ready tied DeSales for last in the CCL at 1-7, behind Watterson (8-0) and Hartley and St. Charles (5-3 each), Strickler believes the regular season prepared his team.
"The CCL is one of the hardest leagues in central Ohio," Strickler said. "We always do badly in it but we're prepared."
Four wrestlers qualify for district
Of the wrestling team's five competitors in a Division III sectional tournament Feb. 15 and 16 at Madison Plains, four advanced to district.
Juniors Dalton Scott (138 pounds), Patrick Stover (145), Will Martello (152) and Patrik Garren (heavyweight) competed Feb. 22 and 23 in the district tournament at Duncan Falls Philo. The top four in each weight class advanced to the state tournament Thursday, Feb. 28, through Saturday, March 2, at Ohio State.
Garren went 3-0 and Stover was 4-0 at sectional to capture championships. Scott lost to Amanda-Clearcreek's Jared Dilley 6-4 in his title match to finish second. Martello went 4-1 and placed third.
Also competing but failing to advance to district was junior Steven Pozz, who went 1-2 at 126.
The Silver Knights finished sixth (100) in the 14-team sectional behind champion Amanda-Clearcreek (258).
"Dalton was a little disappointed that he didn't get first," coach James Yonushonis said. "I thought it was a winnable match for him and he got in a couple positions to win the match. He was somebody who was disappointed, but he knows where to go from here.
"I was really excited about Patrick Stover. It seems like he's peaking at the right time. Patrick was a little frustrated he couldn't score more against the kid from Grandview (A.J. Pinyerd, whom he beat 6-0 in the final) but he's just got to find different ways to score because other guys are going to wrestle defensively against him."
Entering district, Garren was 34-1, Scott was 27-9, Stover was 28-9 and Martello was 27-12.
Last season, Garren won sectional and district titles and took third in the state at heavyweight. Scott was fourth at sectional but won a district title before going 0-2 at state at 120. Stover placed sixth at 145 at district.
Girls basketball team wins tourney opener
The girls basketball team moved into the second round of the Division III district tournament by beating visiting Cardington 52-31 in a first-round game Feb. 16.
The eighth-seeded Silver Knights outscored Cardington 20-4 in the third quarter. They improved to 13-10 and advanced to a matchup Feb. 21 at second-seeded North Union.
Senior guard Kim Lloyd scored 15 points, senior guard Carly Culbertson had 12 points and sophomore forward Lauren Ruth added 11 against Cardington.
"I thought we really played well as a team and that we were looking for each other," Culbertson said. "(Coach Joe Lang) said it looked like we were playing Ready basketball."
North Union beat Ready 57-55 on Dec. 15.
The Silver Knights got 19 points from Lloyd in the earlier matchup but also had junior guard Caroline Riewe and senior forward Margie Berkemeyer as contributors. Riewe since was lost for the season with an injury and Berkemeyer was out with an illness against Cardington.
If Ready defeated North Union, it will play fourth-seeded Fredericktown or 21st-seeded Bloom-Carroll in a district semifinal at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at Worthington Christian Middle School. The district final is 7 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at the same site.
"Probably in about the last six or seven games they've all done a good job of looking for each other," Lang said. "(Since) they lost Caroline Riewe and Margie Berkemeyer, they've understood that they've got to work as a team."
Girls bowlers, 2 boys advance to district
The girls bowling team advanced to the district tournament for the fifth consecutive season when it placed fourth (3,033) in a 25-team sectional Feb. 15 at Columbus Western Bowl. Briggs won the title (3,757), followed by Cardington (3,584) and Gahanna (3,227).
The boys team had a pair of individual district qualifiers after junior Andy Rinehart tied for ninth (570) and junior Payne VanTilburg was 15th (547) in a sectional Feb. 16 at Eastland Lanes.
The top nine teams and top nine individuals not on qualifying teams advanced.
The boys district tournament was Feb. 22 at HP Lanes and the girls district was Feb. 23 at the same site. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to the state tournament, which will be held Friday, March 1, for girls and Saturday, March 2, for boys at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Junior Madison Whitehead led the girls team at sectional by placing ninth (512). Also competing were juniors Kaylee Dunkle (13th, 485), Jordan Bair (tied for 19th, 460) and Marina Sweet (tied for 22nd, 454), sophomore Addison Lavelle (tied for 146th, 102) and junior Olivia DePassio (154th, 87).
The boys team settled for 11th (3,255) at sectional. Westerville South was first (3,766) of 30 teams.
Also competing for the boys were sophomores James Zwayer (73rd, 425) and Justin Gibson (117th, 304) and juniors Dallas Phillips (132nd, 254) and Zach Bair (153rd, 126).