The Ready High School girls basketball team made sure its season didn't crumble after it lost 10 of its first 13 games.
Helping to hold things together is the player whom coach Joe Lang calls "the glue" of his team, junior point guard Dani Hall.
The leading returning scorer after averaging seven points last season, Hall has increased her scoring to 10 points per game and also was among the area's leaders in free-throw shooting at 78.7 percent through 18 games.
Ready had won five in a row before losing to Hartley 75-38 on Feb. 2, but it beat Nelsonville-York 58-54 on Feb. 4 and is 9-11 overall and 2-4 in the CCL.
"(Hall) keeps us together and makes us do what we do," Lang said. "She's so solid. She's a good athlete and just knows how to play. She runs the team."
Hall, who started each of the past two seasons as the Silver Knights had consecutive Division III district runner-up finishes, had nine points, six assists and four steals in a 44-29 win over Wellington in the championship game of the Jaguar Invitational on Jan. 21.
She also had 13 points in a 44-35 win over Bexley on Jan. 20 in a semifinal and was named the tournament's MVP.
Then in a 53-43 victory over Shekinah Christian on Jan. 23, Hall scored a season-high 22 points. Shekinah Christian was fifth in last week's Division IV area coaches poll.
During a 61-50 victory over DeSales on Jan. 26, Hall had 10 points and was one of three Ready players to score in double figures along with senior post player Dani Lancia (15 points) and junior guard Katelyn Wolfe (13).
It avenged a 55-41 loss Jan. 5 for Ready, which closes the regular season Thursday, Feb. 9, at Watterson and Saturday, Feb. 11, at home against Newark Catholic.
The win over Nelsonville-York was the 498th of Lang's career.
Seeded 14th for the district tournament, Ready opens the postseason Feb. 21 at sixth-seeded Utica.
Lancia was averaging 9.3 points and senior guard Aly Wiseman was averaging 7.1 through 18 games.
"We've gotten more together as a team," Hall said. "It started rough this year, but Mr. Lang kicked our butts in gear. We've just gotten better each day."
Boys basketball team
on track for tourney
Coming off back-to-back six-win seasons, the boys basketball team was one win from doubling that victory total heading into its game Feb. 3 at Hartley.
The Knights are even enjoying some success in the CCL.
After going 0-8 in the league each of the past two seasons, Ready was 11-8 overall and 3-4 in the league following a 42-22 loss to Hartley on Feb. 3.
The Knights' 53-50 victory over Watterson on Jan. 20 gave them their first season sweep of the Eagles since 2004-05.
"We knew we were going to be young (the past two seasons) and that some guys were going to be playing early, but they've started believing in each other," coach Dan DeCrane said. "They're jelling together. You can tell that they're just playing better together."
Ready is off until Feb. 17 when it closes the CCL schedule at home against DeSales. The Division III district tournament draw is Sunday, Feb. 12.
Through 18 games, junior guard Brady Thomas was averaging 15 points and four assists, senior forward Dominick Volini was averaging 12 points and six rebounds and junior guard Chanc Dawson was averaging 11 points and five rebounds.
According to DeCrane, Volini has been receiving interest from several Division III colleges.
Other key contributors have included seniors Alex Burns (guard/forward) and Kevin Morrison (guard), junior Jordan Gantz (guard) and sophomore Cade Canter (forward/center).
"They all enjoy the roles they have," DeCrane said.
Bowlers tuning up
The postseason for Division II bowling begins Feb. 17 with the girls sectional and Feb. 18 with the boys sectional at HP Lanes.
The boys team lost its first match of the season Jan. 31 when it fell to Beechcroft 2,377-2,340, but it rebounded to beat Northland 2,198-1,580 on Feb. 1 and is 18-1 overall and 14-1 in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-Central Division. Beechcroft is 15-0 in the COHSBC-Central.
The boys will look to wrap up a perfect season in the CCL on Thursday, Feb. 9, as they are 7-0 in the league heading into their match against DeSales at Capri Lanes.
Through 17 matches, senior Ryan O'Harra was leading the COHSBC in average at 227.4 and Ian Binns was averaging 206.5.
The girls team beat Beechcroft 1,264-1,177 but lost to Northland 1,603-1,217 and is 6-9 overall and 5-8 in the COHSBC-Central. The Knights are 1-4 in the CCL heading into their match against DeSales.
Mary Zerrien was averaging 165.3 through 13 matches to lead the girls team.
Smith, Conturo prep
for swim sectional
The swimming and diving program's two athletes, junior Josh Conturo and freshman Katie Smith, are expected to compete Saturday, Feb. 11, in a Division II sectional meet at Upper Arlington.
Although there are no automatic qualifiers to district from the site, 27 at-large qualifiers from the sectionals at UA, Columbus Academy, Columbus School for Girls and Thomas Worthington advance based on time to the district meet Feb. 17 at Ohio State.
On Jan. 28 in the CCL meet at CSG, Smith finished seventh in the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 37.76 seconds) and sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:19.25) to score 16 points as Ready placed fifth behind CSG (404), Watterson (310), Hartley (269) and DeSales (135).
Conturo took eighth in the 50 freestyle (27.68) and seventh in the 100 free (1:02.92) as Ready scored 12 points to place behind St. Charles (486), Watterson (178), DeSales (144) and Hartley (106).