Considering he's a senior at Ready High School with aspirations of playing college basketball, Jimmy Hanley has numerous things to remember each day.
Something he can recite almost instantly is what he calls the five keys to playing defense.
"No baseline, gap protection, checkout, ball pressure, and most of all, communication," said the Hilliard resident, who added he comes from a long family line of Ready students that includes two older siblings. "We've gotten really good on defense."
For Hanley, a 6-foot-2 guard who usually gets the assignment of guarding an opponent's best offensive player, knowing the list of defensive attributes has become a part of his identity while playing for fifth-year boys coach Don Worstell.
Hanley has helped the Silver Knights hold six of their first 11 opponents under 40 points.
Ready defeated Marion Pleasant 48-46 on Jan. 8 to improve to 9-2 overall before playing Franklin Heights on Jan. 11. The Knights are 2-2 in the CCL, with their losses coming to Watterson (56-52 on Dec. 20) and Hartley (54-46 on Jan. 4).
Watterson is the defending Division II state champion and Hartley has one of the most talented backcourts among Division III teams in the district.
"We have a lot of good players and we play really good team defense," Worstell said. "Hanley usually defends the best offensive player, Kelly (Culbertson) gives us ball pressure for sure (and) Shane Lee plays great defense.
"A long time ago at a coaches clinic, I heard that it's not what you teach but it's what you emphasize."
During Worstell's first season in 2009-10, Ready advanced to a Division III state semifinal before losing to Orrville 50-48.
Culbertson's brother, Cody Culbertson, was a starter on that team.
Hanley and fellow seniors Antonio Pulsinelli, Josh Gantz and Kelly Culbertson were eighth-graders who gained a lasting impression from the tournament run.
"We had school off the day we had the (state semifinal)," Hanley said. "We've got eight seniors this year, and it's very exciting. We've been looking forward to this year."
Ready returns to league play Friday, Jan. 17, at home looking to avenge the loss to Hartley, which was 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the league before playing St. Charles on Jan. 10.
Senior guard Myles Fowler, who transferred from Westland in the offseason and sat out the first 11 games because of the OHSAA transfer rule, was expected to see his first action against Franklin Heights.
"Hartley's not as big as some teams we've faced but they're outstanding," Worstell said. "We're excited about how we're playing. It's a really fun group of guys, one of the most fun groups of guys I've had."
team in title race
The girls basketball team also relied on a senior-laden roster during a strong first half.
The Knights were 8-2 overall and 2-1 in the CCL before playing Hartley on Jan. 9, with their losses coming to a pair of Division I teams in Westerville South (44-43 on Dec. 3) and league-foe DeSales (57-55 on Dec. 19).
"We're all unselfish and that really pays off," said guard Caroline Riewe, who is one of seven seniors. "Other teams can't just focus on one of us. They have to focus on three or four of us.
"I feel like all of the teams (in the CCL) are really even this year. It's going to be a battle and it's going to be close."
Against DeSales, the Knights led 26-22 but were outscored 20-14 in the fourth quarter.
Riewe, who had 11 points against DeSales, has shared point-guard duties at times this season with sophomore Delaney Cutteridge.
"I felt like we learned (against DeSales that) we have to keep working and pick up our intensity, and when they pressure us we need to remain poised," Riewe said.
"Me and Delaney really pressure guards and are capable of getting a steal. That gets our momentum going. If one of us is frustrated, the other one will take it. We're really interchangeable."
Through 10 games, Riewe was averaging 8.5 points and Cutteridge was averaging 8.6.
Junior forward Lauren Ruth was the leading scorer at 16.7 points per game, and senior post player Margie Berkemeyer was averaging 10.2.
Berkemeyer, according to coach Joe Lang, was shooting 63 percent from the floor, followed by Riewe (60 percent), senior forward Bobbie Menke (54 percent), Ruth (53 percent) and Cutteridge (51 percent).
"I would say our offensive execution has been probably some of the best I've ever had," Lang said. "These kids do a great job of looking for each other. We're trying to get it down the floor as fast as we can and get a good shot."
battling for titles
The boys and girls bowling teams return to league play Monday, Jan. 13, against Whetstone at Seqouia Pro Bowl in position to contend for titles in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division.
The girls are 5-0 overall and 4-0 in the league, and the boys are 4-2 overall and 4-1 in the league.
For the girls, senior Paige Sutfin was second overall in average in the COHSBC at 192.8 before Jan. 9, followed by seniors Marina Sweet (164.9), Madison Whitehead (152.3) and Jordan Bair (140.7).
Freshman Ryan O'Harra is leading the boys with a 184.3 average, followed by seniors Andy Rinehart (179.2) and Payne VanTilburg (168.5).
Cutler leaving to take
Upper Arlington football job
After two seasons as football coach, Joel Cutler was announced as the new coach at Upper Arlington, pending school board approval Monday, Jan. 13.
Cutler replaces Mike Golden, who retired after this past season when UA went 5-5.
Cutler, a health and physical education teacher at Greensview Elementary School in the UA district, coached the Knights to a 19-5 record that included a 12-2 finish and a run to a Division VI state semifinal this past fall.
He was an assistant coach for the Golden Bears from 1999-2011.
"Coaching is so fulfilling because a good football program is a great vehicle for helping boys mature into fine young men," Cutler said in a UA press release announcing his hiring. "I'm excited about the opportunity to return to coaching in Upper Arlington and build on the great traditions here."