After enduring a tough midseason stretch last winter, things came together for the Ready High School boys basketball team.

After enduring a tough midseason stretch last winter, things came together for the Ready High School boys basketball team.

The Silver Knights closed the regular season with a 52-49 win over Dayton Northridge, which was ranked third in the state in Division III and would go on to a district runner-up finish.

It was the type of confidence-booster that still is reverberating throughout a program that returns its top three scorers and features five seniors.

Ready, which finished 6-16 overall last season, opened Dec. 2 by beating Williamsport Westfall 72-42 in the Chillicothe Zane Trace Tipoff Classic and beat Franklin Heights 45-36 on Dec. 5.

"Two years ago when I took the job, we knew we were going to be very young and very raw, and we really took our lumps for a while," third-year coach Dan DeCrane said. "We won three of our last (five) games last season, which is very important for us. We beat a very good Circleville team and then beat Dayton Northridge, which was a district finalist. The last two years we've been knocked down a lot but we played our best basketball at the end of the year."

Back to lead the way are senior Dominick Volini (6-foot-4, forward) and juniors Chanc Dawson (6-3, guard) and Brady Thomas (5-9, guard).

Volini was second-team all-CCL and honorable mention all-district a year ago when he averaged 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots. Thomas averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 assists while making first-team all-league and third-team all-district, and Dawson averaged 11 points, five rebounds, two steals and 2.5 assists while making honorable mention all-district.

"Chemistry has become a lot stronger between (Dawson, Thomas and I) and the rest of our team," Volini said.

The other seniors are Alex Burns (6-1, guard/forward), Kevin Morrison (5-10, guard), Collin Siemer (6-0, guard) and Eric Willford (6-2, forward/center).

Burns, Siemer and Willford all were key contributors a year ago while Morrison should play a large role as well.

Also on the team are juniors Jordan Gantz (5-10, guard) and Dominic Mattox (6-4, forward/center) and sophomores Austin Aiello (5-10, guard), Cade Canter (6-4, forward/center) and Cade Dent (5-10, guard).

Mattox is a transfer from Hartley who is expected to become eligible when the Knights open league play Friday, Dec. 9, at home against Watterson.

Ready has gone 0-8 in the league each of the past two seasons.

"It's an interesting year in Division III," DeCrane said. "Our goal is to win a district title. In Division III there's going to be a lot of talent and a lot of returning players. We expect to be there. None of these guys have won a (CCL game) yet, so we're going to try to be a factor in our league this year. I really believe in our guys."

Girls basketball team battling inexperience

With four seniors and three juniors among his nine players, girls basketball coach Joe Lang knows his team isn't young.

What the Knights lack, though, is varsity experience.

Ready, which lost four senior starters after finishing 19-7 overall with a second consecutive Division III district runner-up finish, opened with a 65-27 loss to Grove City on Nov. 25. It followed by losing to Jonathan Alder 50-38 on Nov. 29, beating Central Crossing 49-21 on Dec. 1 and losing to London 46-42 on Dec. 5.

"We've got four seniors and three juniors, but we are inexperienced," said Lang, who is in his 36th season. "I think we're going to be kind of a work in progress and we're going to take some serious lumps early on. Do I think we can get better? Yes. The biggest thing is that they work very hard. Their attitude doesn't waver. I hope by tournament time we can get ourselves ready."

The top returnee is junior guard Dani Hall, who averaged seven points last season.

Seniors Dani Lancia (5-10, post player) and Maria Menke (5-7, forward) and sophomore Darricka Bramwell (5-10, center) are expected to be the team's top inside threats.

Aly Wiseman (5-5, guard) and Shannon Weiner (5-6, forward) are the other seniors.

Junior Katelyn Wolfe (5-6, guard) was a part-time starter last season and joins Hall in the backcourt.

Junior Morgan Ritterbeck (5-7, forward) and freshman Bria Hejduk (5-6, guard) are others looking to contribute.

Ready, which placed third (3-4) in the CCL a year ago behind Watterson (6-1) and DeSales (5-2), begins league play Saturday, Dec. 10, at home against Columbus School for Girls.

The Knights' biggest loss to graduation was guard Delaney Cutteridge, who averaged 13.2 points, made first-team all-district and now is at Otterbein. Another senior last season, post player Rachel Neff, is playing women's soccer for the University of Charleston after averaging 11.2 points and making second-team all-district.

"We have a lot of new players, but we're progressing," Lancia said. "We'll get better."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek

Schedules

BOYS BASKETBALL

Dec. 2 -- Williamsport Westfall in Chillicothe Zane Trace Tipoff Classic

Dec. 5 -- at Franklin Heights

Dec. 6 -- at Grove City Christian

*Dec. 9 -- vs. Watterson

Dec. 13 -- at Shekinah Christian

*Dec. 16 -- at St. Charles

Dec. 17 -- vs. Central Crossing

Dec. 20 -- vs. Wellington

*Dec. 23 -- vs. Hartley

Dec. 29 -- Tuscarawas Central Catholic in Tuscarawas Central Catholic Holiday Shootout

Dec. 30 -- at Akron Hoban

Jan. 6 -- vs. Canton Central Catholic

Jan. 7 -- at Patriot Prep

*Jan. 13 -- at DeSales

Jan. 14 -- Beverly Fort Frye in Route 40 Classic at Zanesville West Muskingum

*Jan. 20 -- at Watterson

Jan. 21 -- at Marion Pleasant

*Jan. 27 -- vs. St. Charles

Jan. 28 -- vs. Horizon Science

*Feb. 3 -- at Hartley

Feb. 15 -- at Newark Catholic

*Feb. 17 -- vs. DeSales

Feb. 18 -- vs. Columbus International

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Nov. 25 -- at Grove City

Nov. 29 -- vs. Jonathan Alder

Dec. 1 -- at Central Crossing

Dec. 5 -- at London

Dec. 8 -- at Dublin Scioto

*Dec. 10 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls

Dec. 13 -- vs. Worthington Christian

Dec. 19 -- at Granville Christian

Dec. 22 -- vs. Fairfield Christian

Dec. 30 -- at Akron Hoban

*Jan. 5 -- vs. DeSales

*Jan. 7 -- vs. Watterson

*Jan. 12 -- at Hartley

Jan. 14 -- vs. Patriot Prep

Jan. 20 -- Bexley in Jaguar Invitational at Wellington

Jan. 21 -- Harvest Prep or Wellington in Jaguar Invitational at Wellington

*Jan. 26 -- at DeSales

*Feb. 2 -- vs. Hartley

Feb. 4 -- vs. Nelsonville-York

*Feb. 9 -- at Watterson

Feb. 11 -- vs. Newark Catholic

*League contest

Below are the coming schedules for the Ready bowling and wrestling teams:

BOWLING

*Dec. 9 -- St. Charles at Game of Western Columbus

*Dec. 13 -- Mifflin at Game of Western Columbus

WRESTLING

Dec. 10 -- Wolfpack Classic at Worthington Kilbourne

*League contest