Making it to a Division III district championship game wasn't exactly on the radar for the Ready High School girls basketball team when the season began.
The same still could be said when the Silver Knights lost to Worthington Christian 46-38 on Jan. 29 to drop to 8-8.
Yet, that's where Ready found itself after beating eighth-seeded Centerburg 55-45 on Feb. 27 in a district semifinal at Olentangy Orange.
On March 2, the ninth-seeded Knights lost to top-seeded Africentric 63-23 in a district final at Ohio Dominican to finish 15-10.
"I just told them that on Oct. 26, nobody in America said this team would get to the district championship game," coach Joe Lang said.
It was the 12th district final in Lang's 37-year tenure.
The Knights were district runners-up in 1982 and 1983 before capturing their first district title in 1988. Ready won its second district title in 2000, followed with back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007 and another title in 2014.
The Knights were runners-up in 1991 and 2005 and lost one-point district finals to Liberty Union (47-46) in 2015 and Marion Pleasant (52-51 in two overtimes) in 2016.
"I don't think we really expected to get this far," sophomore guard Bre Hejduk said.
Derricka Bramwell scored eight points in the district final for Ready, which was held scoreless in the fourth quarter as the Nubians went on to win their 13th district title in 15 seasons.
Ready got 15 points from Katelyn Wolfe, 10 from Dani Hall, nine from Hejduk and eight apiece from Nikki Hawkins and Bramwell against Centerburg.
The Knights finished 15-for-19 from the free-throw line. In the fourth quarter, Hall went 6-for-8 and Wolfe was 5-for-6.
"Our defense won it," said Hall, a senior guard. "(Lang) said in the second half that they only had one offensive rebound and in the first half they had seven."
Boys basketball team reaches district semifinal
The third-seeded boys basketball team began the Division III district tournament Feb. 27 at home by beating 20th-seeded Liberty Union 69-61.
Then in a second-round game March 3 at home against 18th-seeded Mount Gilead, Ready won 68-42 to improve to 19-4 and advance to a district semifinal March 6 against sixth-seeded Columbus Academy.
The winner plays top-seeded Harvest Prep or eighth-seeded Pleasant in a district final Friday, March 9, at Ohio Dominican.
The district champion plays Piketon, Albany Alexander, Wheelersburg or Lynchburg-Clay in a regional semifinal Wednesday, March 14, at Ohio University, with the regional final March 17 at Ohio University.
Against Mount Gilead, Chance Dawson had 18 points, eight rebounds and three assists and Jaishan Norris and Brady Thomas both scored 15 points.
Ready led 43-34 heading into the fourth quarter before pulling away.
Dawson scored 29 points against Liberty Union and made nine of 10 free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter.
Ready led by double digits for much of the second half before the Lions got as close as 67-61 with 23.3 seconds left.
"Our backcourt usually shoots a lot of free throws," Dawson said. "I think we're a decent team at shooting free throws. It didn't really go the way we wanted it to, but it was a good win."
Halko to wrestle at state tourney
Junior Andrew Halko will compete in the Division III state wrestling tournament, which begins Thursday, March 8, and concludes Saturday, March 10, at Ohio State.
He takes a 36-6 record into state and opens against Colum-biana Crestview senior Andrew Hardenbrook (31-5) at 145 pounds.
"The things that helped me at districts were never giving up and wrestling all the way to the whistle," Halko said. "Some keys for me at state are to stay offensive and always look to score."
In the district tournament March 2 and 3 at Heath, Ready placed 24th (30.5) of 48 teams that scored as Nelsonville-York (175) won the title.
After opening with wins over Newcomerstown's Anthony Sanders (17-2), Belpre's Hunter Gilbert (5-2) and Bridgeport's Mason Kuneff (5-1) to reach the championship match, Halko was pinned by Galion Northmor's Conan Becker in 1 minute to settle for a runner-up finish.
Also at district, freshman Austin Aiello (113) lost his opening match then beat Glouster Trimble's Evan Scott 3-2 and Liberty Union's Chase Mollencamp 8-3 before getting pinned by Bellaire's Joseph Bonfini in 1:32.
Junior Sam Hardenbergh (220) lost his opening match before pinning Danville's Dylan Wilson in 4:27. He then was pinned by Steubenville Catholic Central's Kevin Cuervo in 3:30.
@UlreyThisWeekAt a glance
*Record: Boys -- 4-14 overall, 3-9 (10th) in COHSBC-D, 0-8 (fifth) in CCL; Girls -- 12-3 overall, 7-3 (tied for third) in COHSBC-D, 5-1 (tied for first) in CCL
*Seniors lost: Boys -- Robert Shephard and Arin Thach-Bun; Girls -- None
*Key returnees: Boys -- Bailey Garren, Finn Hardenbergh, Wesley Hendricks, Aaron King and Preston Thach-Bun; Girls -- Cheyenne Blackburn, Samantha Blackburn, Megan Hackman, Javana Joyce, Brooke Smith and Mary Zerrien