Early in the second half against Orrville in a Division III state semifinal on March 18 in Ohio State's Schottenstein Center, Ready High School boys basketball coach Don Worstell noticed his players sprawled across the floor.

Early in the second half against Orrville in a Division III state semifinal on March 18 in Ohio State's Schottenstein Center, Ready High School boys basketball coach Don Worstell noticed his players sprawled across the floor.

Especially late in the third quarter and in early portions of the fourth, there were moments such as that where the ability to scrap epitomized what the Silver Knights' season was about.

With one player with exceptional ability, several who filled roles and a tight-knit unit, Ready's run to a state final four was about perseverance.

The Silver Knights ultimately came up short in their bid to win a third state championship as the Red Riders made six free throws over the final 2 minutes, 4 seconds to pull out a 50-48 win and advance to the state final last Saturday against Lima Central Catholic.

Worstell hopes the memory of what the seven seniors who saw action against Orrville did to make the postseason lingers into the future.

"People have asked me, 'Are you surprised? Do you feel like you're the Cinderella team?'" Worstell said. "I don't think that's the case. I remember looking up at the start of the second half and seeing three of my guys on the floor for a loose ball. I just hope for the young kids who were watching that they learned a lesson and we can get back here again. I hope and pray that our young players have watched our seniors."

Ready was the No. 4 seed for the district tournament and reached the state tournament for the first time since it was the 2002 runner-up. The Silver Knights trailed 33-23 with 2:28 left in the third quarter, but then went on a 19-4 run.

Senior point guard Cody Culbertson scored six points during the rally, including a 3-pointer, and senior forward Eddy Bahen scored four points to put his team up 42-37 with 4:08 remaining.

Orrville then turned to 6-foot-6 junior Zach Wasson, who scored a basket and made four free throws to give his team a 48-46 lead.

Bahen scored off a pass from senior Joe Graessle to tie it at 48 with 15 seconds left, but Samuel Miller was fouled with 1.8 seconds to go and hit a pair of foul shots for the win.

Wasson and senior guard Jacob Bolyard, who each scored more than 1,000 career points, both finished with 13 points while Miller added 12.

Graessle had scored at least 30 points in three of his previous four games but was held to 16 on 6-for-20 shooting while being guarded mostly by 6-6 junior Max Pirman and 6-4 senior Chase Hoobler.

Culbertson finished with 11 points and Bahen added eight.

"I've been playing with Joe since I was in kindergarten and with (senior) Matt (Biggs) since I was in the fourth grade," Culbertson said. "I just wanted to go out with a championship. We made it this far, so it felt good, but no one wanted this to end."

Ready entered the postseason by winning nine of its last 11 and kept the run going by beating Columbus Academy (61-32 on Feb. 27), Grandview (55-36 on March 3) and Worthington Christian (39-30 on March 11) to capture its second district championship in three seasons and eighth overall.

At the regional at Kettering Alter, the Silver Knights beat Anna 60-52 on March 17 and Cincinnati Taft 66-57 in overtime on March 20 to set up the meeting with Orrville.

Ready finished fourth at 5-5 in the CCL behind DeSales (10-0), Hartley (7-3) and Watterson (6-4), and ahead of St. Charles (1-9) and Worthington Christian (1-9).

Graessle finished with 1,106 career points and averaged 22.8 points this season. Graessle, who made first-team all-district and the ThisWeek Super 12, will play for Tiffin University.

Culbertson was the second-leading scorer at 6.6 per game, and Bahen (4.2 ppg), Matt Feeney (4.1 ppg), Biggs (3.6 ppg) and Jackson Riffle (2.5 ppg) were other senior regulars. Also on the postseason roster as seniors were backup forward Dana DePassio and guard Brennan McCarty, who missed the season with injuries.

The top returnees should be sophomore guard Derek Farmer, who averaged 4.8 points over the first 12 games before suffering a season-ending injury, and freshman guard Kyle Wilgus (3.1 ppg). Farmer made 16 3-pointers and Wilgus made 13 after becoming a varsity regular at midseason.

Junior guard Christian Knapper, who averaged 2.0 points, also played in the state semifinal. Other underclassmen on the postseason roster included juniors Kyle Bergman (6-6 post player) and Nick Alvarez (5-9 guard).

"As I was trying to speak to them in the locker room (after the game), it was hard to find the words," Worstell said. "It's a hole in your stomach when you're done your senior year. This is a game that's shared, and the kids this year were just so unselfish. They all accepted their roles and loved each other."