Leading by 12 points with 6 minutes, 30 seconds to go at Galion Northmor on March 4, Ready High School boys basketball coach Dan DeCrane said it felt like his team was one play away several times from wrapping up the victory.
That play never came.
The Silver Knights were outscored 12-2 during the fourth quarter, and the game went to overtime tied at 40 and into a second overtime tied at 44.
Two of Ready's best scorers, junior guards Chanc Dawson and Brady Thomas, fouled out after regulation and fourth-seeded Northmor finished off a 50-44 victory in the third round of the Division III district tournament.
The Knights, who were seeded sixth, finished 14-10.
"They hit some shots," DeCrane said. "We shot 0-for-8 from the field (during the game's closing min-utes). They're a big team and they capitalized."
The Knights' five-member senior class was led by forward Dominick Volini, who averaged 13 points, and fellow starters Alex Burns (guard/forward) and Collin Siemer (guard).
Volini scored 15 points against Northmor.
Thomas and Dawson averaged 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Junior guard Jordan Gantz and sophomores Austin Aiello (guard), Cade Canter (forward/center) and Cade Dent (guard) are others eligible to return. Canter averaged 5.5 points.
Ready, which opened the tournament with a 67-46 home win over 14th-seeded Liberty Union in the second round March 1, more than doubled its win total from a year ago when it went 6-16. The Knights went 4-19 two seasons ago.
"Actually it's kind of unbelievable when you think about two years ago as freshmen we won four games," Thomas said. "This year we went all the way to 14 wins. It's crazy all the progression we've made. It's been a journey.
"I know Chanc and I will pass down what we've learned. Cade Canter stepped up in a big way this year. Jordan Gantz was one of our lockdown defenders."
Boys bowlers place
14th at state tourney
In what was its third consecutive appearance in the Division II state tournament, the boys bowling team finished 14th (3,068) in the 16-team qualifying round March 4 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl. The top eight moved on to the championship round, which was won by St. Marys Memorial.
"We made some critical mistakes (at state), but it was still a great year," coach Russ Rehner said. "I'm proud of them."
Ready, which was 15th at state in 2015 and 10th a year ago, was led at state by senior Conner Carrera (26th, 596).
The Knights placed fourth (3,671) at sectional Feb. 18 at HP Lanes as the top 14 advanced to district and then were runners-up (3,936) behind Jonathan Alder (3,966) at district Feb. 23 at HP Lanes to earn the final state-qualifying berth.
Ready's seven-member senior class was led by Ryan O'Harra, Ian Binns, Leo Dunkle, Ben Dawson and Carrera.
O'Harra led the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference in average during the regular season at 226.0. He then was fourth (643) at sectional, captured the district title with a 706 and tied for 32nd (586) at state.
The only bowler on the state roster eligible to return is freshman Bailey Garren.
"We had seven seniors so it's kind of emotional, but it was a great season," Binns said.
The Knights went 21-1 overall, 14-1 in the COHBC-Central Division to place second behind Beechcroft (15-0) and 8-0 to win the CCL ahead of St. Charles (5-3), Watterson (4-4), DeSales (2-6) and Hartley (1-7).
The girls team went 9-9 overall, 6-7 in the COHSBC-Central to tie for seventh behind champion Whetstone (13-0) and 2-4 to place third in the CCL behind Watterson (6-0) and Hartley (3-3) and ahead of DeSales (1-5).
At sectional Feb. 17 at HP Lanes, the Knights placed 18th (2,517) while freshman Mary Zerrien finished 21st (466) and sophomore Brooke Smith was 58th (389) to move on to district, where they placed ninth (524) and 66th (326), respectively. Others on the girls team included sophomores Samantha Blackburn, Javanna Joyce, Michaela Mayo and McKenna Wheaton.
ends at district
None of the wrestling team's seven Division III district qualifiers advanced to state.
In the district tournament March 3 and 4 at Troy, senior Patrick Jansen (195 pounds) placed sixth and finished with a 33-8 record.
Senior Matt Stover (182) and sophomore Andrew Halko (132) each won one match. Halko finished 33-8 and Stover went 31-12.
Going 0-2 at district were senior Daniel Halko (152), sophomore Sam Hardenbergh (220) and freshmen Cameron Jones (113) and Jacob Robinson (160). Daniel Halko finished 17-12 and Hardenbergh won 12 matches.
Ready tied Mount Gilead for third (117) behind North Union (166) and Morral Ridgedale (126.5) in the 12-team sectional Feb. 25 at Madison Plains and tied for 32nd (18) at district behind champion Mechanicsburg (186) as 65 teams scored.
The only other postseason competitor for Ready was freshman Donovan Sanders (145), who placed sixth at sectional.
"The majority of the kids at this district tournament could place at state," coach Anthony Aiello said. "I was really hoping we could get four out (to state). Some of them just didn't wrestle the way they normally do. Patrick Jansen went 3-3 and wrestled very well. He lost a really close one (5-1 to Bluffton's Deandre Nassar) in the match he needed to win to qualify."
Ready lost both of its matches Jan. 18 in the CCL duals as Hartley went 2-0 and St. Charles and DeSales both were 1-1.
"I lose three guys, but we have some good ones coming back and hopefully we'll get (junior heavyweight) Charles Omameh back after we lost him to the season with a concussion," Aiello said.
Girls basketball team
losing three starters
Despite a 3-10 start, the girls basketball team nearly reached .500 by season's end.
With a 48-47 loss at eighth-seeded Worthington Christian on Feb. 25 in the second round of the Division III district tournament, the Knights finished 11-13 overall.
They tied DeSales for third (2-5) in the CCL behind Watterson (7-0) and Hartley (5-2) and ahead of Columbus School for Girls (0-4).
"When we were 3-10, I felt like we were in trouble," coach Joe Lang said. "From that point on, the kids went 8-3 and really stuck together. Every game we just tried to get better."
Lang completed his 36th season with 500 career wins, a milestone reached when his 14th-seeded team won at sixth-seeded Utica 41-35 in the first round of the tournament Feb. 21.
The Knights lose four seniors, including starters Dani Lancia (forward), Maria Menke (forward) and Aly Wiseman (guard).
Wiseman scored 18 points in the tournament loss and averaged 7.5 for the season.
Lancia averaged a team-high 9.8 points, and Menke averaged 4.3.
Junior guards Dani Hall (9.1 points) and Katelyn Wolfe (5.2 points) should be the top returnees.
Sophomore Derricka Bramwell, a 5-foot-10 forward, should see an increased role next season after averaging 4.9 points. She scored a season-high 13 against Utica.
Freshman guard Bria Hejduk was another key player off the bench for a program that had just 17 players in grades nine through 12.
"We'll have Hall and Wolfe coming back, so that's two starting guards," Lang said. "Derricka Bramwell had a good year. Bria Hejduk is a freshman who's going to be a good player and (sophomore wing player) Lauren Whitt from the (junior varsity) team should be able to help. ... We've just got to get some more kids to play."