Ready High School boys basketball coach Tony Bisutti is on the sidelines for the first time since the 2012-13 season, but he's finding it difficult not to view things from the same perspective as during his time away from the game.
A former head coach for three programs, Bisutti spent much of the past few years supporting his son, 2013 Dublin Scioto graduate Antonio Bisutti, as he competed for the Ohio University men's team.
"For a long while I was still studying," coach Bisutti said. "Once you've broken the game down and watched it that way for so long, you're watching everything but the ball. Even in games on TV, I would scribble some things down so that if there ever came another day that I'd be coaching, I knew I was going to bookmark this thought."
Bisutti, whose daughters Stephanie and Christina graduated in 2006 and 2009, respectively, from Ready and were basketball players, is a 1979 DeSales graduate who has a 368-214 career record.
He was named Scioto's first coach when the school opened in 1995 and spent the next 18 seasons serving in that capacity, winning two district championships and six league titles while amassing a 270-136 mark.
His newest task includes taking over a program that lost a pair of 1,000-point scorers to graduation in Brady Thomas (1,142 points) and Chanc Dawson (1,028).
Thomas, who averaged 16 points last season and was second-team all-district in Division III, is playing for Mount St. Joseph. Dawson averaged 18.5 points and was first-team all-district.
That duo led Ready to a 20-5 record that included a district runner-up finish under former coach Dan DeCrane, who stepped down after guiding the program to a 44-50 record in four seasons to become the coach at Gates Mills Gilmour Academy.
Most of the Silver Knights' other top players from last season, including senior guards Jaishan Norris (5-foot-11) and Cade Dent (5-10), senior center Cade Canter (6-4) and sophomore forward Darius Parham (6-2), have returned.
Norris averaged seven points, Canter averaged five, Dent averaged four and Parham averaged 7.5 a year ago. Norris was second-team all-CCL as Ready shared the title with Hartley and Watterson at 6-2, while Parham was honorable mention all-district and scored 11 points in the Knights' 64-48 loss to Harvest Prep in a district final.
The other senior is returnee C.J. White, a 5-11 guard. Also back are junior Brock Baker (5-11, guard) and sophomore Garrison Budd (6-0, guard).
Sophomore guards Charlie DeLuca (6-2) and Azzan Daniels (6-0) are others on the roster.
Ready opened Nov. 30 against Circleville Logan Elm in the Chillicothe Zane Trace Shootout.
"I'm pretty pleased," Bisutti said. "The guys are really receptive and coachable, and I really enjoy my time around them. It's a good group. I feel the fit is right and it kind of feels how I anticipated that it would. We're trying to just have guys step up and (replace) two 1,000-point scorers. I think we can have pretty good balance, and that will be the key for us."
Girls basketball team faces learning curve
After opening last year's Division III district tournament with a 59-44 victory over Grandview on its way to a district runner-up finish, the girls basketball team lost to the Bobcats 36-30 to open its season Nov. 23.
It wasn't an overly shocking result to Joe Lang, who is in his 38th season as coach.
"We're very young so we're struggling a little bit," Lang said. "I've told the kids that I think we're going to take our lumps early. Obviously the front side (of our schedule) is the easier part of our schedule, and then in January we come back against the teams in the league, and those teams are pretty good. By tournament time, again, we'll have a chance to do a little damage."
Ready followed by losing to Jonathan Alder 68-43 on Nov. 27 before facing Horizon Science on Dec. 1.
The top returnees from a team that went 15-10 overall and 2-5 in the CCL are 5-11 senior forward Derricka Bramwell, 5-7 senior guard Ariyhana Marshall and 5-6 junior guard Bre Hejduk. Bramwell was third-team all-district and averaged 12 points last season, and Hejduk averaged 5.5 points.
Other returnees include 5-8 junior forward Danielle Brown and sophomore guards Catey Wolfe (5-5) and Ava Hurd (5-5).
Junior Cydney O'Reilly, a 5-7 forward, and sophomore Jenna Ruth, a 5-10 forward, saw time mostly on junior varsity last year but figure to be key contributors.
There also are three freshmen on the team whom Lang is high on in 5-9 forward Sierra Schlosser, 5-8 guard Reagan Wheatley and 5-6 guard Abby Grundei.
Ready, which won four more games a season ago than it did in 2016-17, lost a graduating class that included second-team all-district guard Dani Hall (10.5 points per game) as well as guard Katelyn Wolfe (7 ppg) and forwards Nikki Hawkins (4.5 ppg) and Kim Lloyd (3 ppg).
The Knights have been to 12 district finals under Lang, winning five.
"We're probably going to go eight to nine (players) deep to start," Lang said. "We're just going to have to get kids in and out to keep kids as fresh as we can. Defense is going to have to carry us early in the season."
Nov. 30 -- Circleville Logan Elm in Chillicothe Zane Trace Shootout
Dec. 1 -- vs. Horizon Science
Dec. 4 -- vs. Central Crossing
*Dec. 7 -- at St. Charles
Dec. 11 -- vs. Liberty Union
*Dec. 14 -- vs. Hartley
Dec. 22 -- at Marion Pleasant
Dec. 28 -- Parma Heights Holy Name in Dover-Phila Credit Union Holiday Shootout at Tuscarawas Central Catholic
*Jan. 4 -- at DeSales
Jan. 5 -- vs. Canton Central Catholic
*Jan. 11 -- vs. Watterson
*Jan. 18 -- vs. St. Charles
Jan. 22 -- vs. Centerburg
*Jan. 25 -- at Hartley
Jan. 28 -- at Liberty Christian
Jan. 29 -- at Franklin Heights
Feb. 2 -- at St. Bernard Roger Bacon
Feb. 5 -- at Columbus Academy
*Feb. 8 -- vs. DeSales
Feb. 9 -- vs. Hannibal River
Feb. 12 -- vs. Wellington
*Feb. 15 -- at Watterson
Nov. 23 -- at Grandview
Nov. 27 -- vs. Jonathan Alder
Dec. 1 -- vs. Horizon Science
*Dec. 8 -- vs. Columbus School for Girls
Dec. 11 -- at Marion Elgin
Dec. 12 -- at Bexley
Dec. 15 -- vs. Worthington Christian
Dec. 18 -- vs. Liberty Christian
Dec. 21 -- at Buckeye Valley
Dec. 27 -- at Fairbanks
Dec. 28 -- Briggs in West Side Classic at Westland
Dec. 29 -- Franklin Heights in West Side Classic at Westland
Jan. 3 -- at Shekinah Christian
*Jan. 5 -- vs. Hartley
*Jan. 10 -- at DeSales
Jan. 12 -- vs. Patriot Prep
*Jan. 19 -- at Watterson
*Jan. 24 -- at Hartley
Jan. 26 -- vs. Fairfield Christian
*Jan. 31 -- vs. DeSales
*Feb. 7 -- vs. Watterson
Feb. 14 -- at Newark Catholic
Below are the coming schedules for the Ready bowling and wrestling teams:
*Dec. 5 -- Beechcroft at Game of Western Columbus
Dec. 8 -- London Invitational