A four-game winning streak to close January provided evidence of the progress the Ready High School boys basketball team has been making under first-year coach Tony Bisutti.
On the other hand, the Silver Knights are more than aware of how far they still must go if they’re to become a dangerous team in the Division III district tournament.
Ready lost 64-50 on Feb. 2 at St. Bernard Roger Bacon, which improved to just 5-13 with that victory, and then fell to DeSales 67-59 on Feb. 8 and beat Hannibal River 84-55 on Feb. 9. The Knights were 9-11 overall before facing Wellington on Feb. 12 and are 1-6 in the CCL entering their regular-season finale Friday, Feb. 15, at Watterson, which won the first meeting 62-60 in overtime Jan. 11.
The Knights received the 10th seed for the tournament and will open Feb. 25 at fifth-seeded Fairbanks in the first round.
“We’re just not finishing the game,” junior guard Brock Baker said. “We need to talk more on defense, that’s the main thing. We’re finally starting to click together. We’re trying to learn this new offense this year and we lost a bunch of key players (from last season), so we’re all trying to mold back together as a team.”
Baker, who missed most of last season with a leg injury, hit a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left to pull Ready to within 46-44 against Columbus Academy on Feb. 5, but the Knights ended up falling 48-44.
Baker is among a group of five players averaging between five and nine points. The others are senior guard Jaishan Norris, sophomore guard Garrison Budd, senior guard Cade Dent and senior forward Cade Canter.
Sophomore forward Darius Parham averages 14, emerging as the No. 1 scoring option.
“(Academy) had five team fouls going into the fourth quarter, and they finished the game with five team fouls,” Bisutti said. “We’re just settling for jump shots instead of attacking the glass. It’s typical stuff with teams that have some inexperience. … We’re just to a point where I think we should be better (in some areas).
“(The loss to Roger Bacon) was a tough loss because if we could have turned the corner, we might have gotten a little more respect.”
Girls team boosted by DeSales sweep
With a 31-25 victory over DeSales on Jan. 31, the girls basketball team snapped a three-game losing streak and earned a season sweep of the Stallions. Ready won the first-round CCL matchup 35-33 on Jan. 10.
In the rematch, the Knights rallied from a 16-10 halftime deficit. A 3-pointer by Bre Hejduk tied it at 25 with 2:10 remaining and Derricka Bramwell scored with 1:15 to go to make it 27-25.
Ariyhana Marshall made four free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
Bramwell finished with 15 points.
“We were very happy with the defense at the half, but we were standing around too much against their zone,” coach Joe Lang said. “We passed it around in the interior a little better in the second half.”
Ready was 8-12 overall and finished 3-4 in the CCL after losing to Watterson 52-31 on Feb. 7. It closes the regular season Thursday, Feb. 14, at Newark Catholic.
The Knights are seeded eighth for the Division III district tournament and open Tuesday, Feb. 19, at home against 20th-seeded North Union. The winner plays Feb. 23 at third-seeded Cardington in the second round.
Bowlers getting ready for sectional
The girls bowling team should be one of the favorites to finish in the top 12 and advance from the Division II sectional Friday, Feb. 15, at HP Lanes.
Of the 33 teams expected to compete, only Worthington Christian and Grandview had better averages among Division II programs in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference.
Ready was 9-3 overall and 7-2 in the COHSBC-D Division after beating Hartley 1,706-1,414 on Feb. 8. It closed the regular season Feb. 12 against Olentangy Liberty.
The boys team will compete in the Division II sectional Saturday, Feb. 16, at HP Lanes.
After beating Walnut Ridge 1,724-1,428 on Feb. 7 and losing to Hartley 2,022-1,619 on Feb. 8, the Knights were 6-8 overall and 5-6 in the COHSBC-D.
The boys and girls district tournaments will be held Feb. 21 at HP Lanes.
Girls swimmers begin postseason
The girls swimming team opened the postseason Feb. 9 by placing 12th (20) in a 22-team Division II sectional behind champion and host Columbus Academy (244).
Elaine Smith finished fifth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:04.4) and 500 free (5:36.14), and Katie Smith was 19th in the 100 breaststroke (1:17.99) and 27th in the 200 individual medley (2:38.1). Elaine Smith is seeded eighth in the 200 free and seventh in the 500 free at district Thursday, Feb. 14, at Ohio State.
The top two swimmers in each event at district advance to state Feb. 21 and 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton. In addition, 16 at-large state berths will be awarded in each event based on district times statewide.
Wrestlers prep for postseason
The wrestling team competed in the CCL duals Feb. 13 and closes the regular season Saturday, Feb. 16, in the Nye Cardinal Classic at St. Charles.
Ready also is preparing for a Division III sectional Feb. 23 at Morral Ridgedale.
On Feb. 9, the Knights finished 10th (88.5) in the 18-team Canal Winchester Invitational behind champion Groveport (169). Aiden Aiello (120 pounds) and Andrew Halko (145) captured titles, Paul Martello (138) was third and Cameron Jones (126) and Jacob Robinson (195) both were sixth.
Ready athletes select colleges
During the signing period that began Feb. 6, Cade Canter announced that he’ll play football for Ohio Dominican, Sam Hardenbergh will play football for Findlay and CeCe Phillips will compete in softball for Wittenberg.