Even with no seniors in its lineup last year, the Ready boys bowling team nearly doubled its win total from the season before and slightly improved its scoring average.
There's been an even bigger progression this winter even though the Silver Knights have only two seniors among their top six bowlers.
In COHSBC action, only Grandview, Hartley, Marion-Franklin and Worthington Christian had better averages among area Division II teams before Jan. 23.
"We're picking up our pace a little quicker than anticipated," coach Russ Rehner said. "They're following through and having good mechanics. We're beating the teams we're supposed to beat. I wouldn't say it's surprising, but we (have beaten) St. Charles, Hartley and Watterson."
Ready was 10-3 overall and 10-1 in the COHSBC-D Division before facing DeSales on Jan. 23.
The Knights had their best performance of the season Jan. 17 when they beat Independence 2,192-1,709. Freshman Philip Ryan rolled a 434 two-game series, followed by senior Finn Hardenbergh (363), sophomore Zach Jahn (358), junior Luke Jahn (340) and senior Wesley Hendricks (313).
"We've grown so much as a team and are really good friends," Hardenbergh said. "If we get in our own heads, we kind of get each other out of it. Even for the people who are not bowling, if we finish and they're still going, we cheer them on."
Ready was 3-2 in the CCL before Jan. 23 and faces Watt-erson on Tuesday, Jan. 28, and DeSales on Friday, Jan. 31, in matches at Game of Western Columbus.
Hardenbergh, Hendricks, the Jahn brothers and sophomore Brady Hicks all are key returnees from the team that went 7-9 overall last season and didn't advance to the district tournament.
"It's been so awesome," Luke Jahn said. "Considering how last year went, it's definitely been a big surprise. It's been so much fun this year."
The boys sectional tournament will be held Feb. 14 at HP Lanes, with the top 12 teams and top 12 individuals not on qualifying teams advancing to district.
The girls sectional is Feb. 15 at HP Lanes and advances the same number of teams and individuals to district, which will be held Feb. 20 at the same site.
The girls also are in the COHSBC-D title hunt. Before facing DeSales on Jan. 23, the Knights were 10-1 overall, 9-1 in the COHSBC-D and 3-1 in the CCL.
Their only loss was to Watterson 1,704-1,661 on Dec. 5, and they get a rematch with the Eagles on Jan. 28 at Game of Western Columbus.
Senior Mary Zerrien, who was a state qualifier last season, was averaging 176.3 to rank 11th in the COHSBC before Jan. 23.
Senior Maryann Rucker, junior Emma Pond, sophomore Allison Bair and freshmen Cece Muraco and Jennifer Pond also have been key contributors.
Wrestlers getting on track for postseason
The wrestling team opened the CCL duals Jan. 23 against Hartley and Watterson at St. Charles and concludes league competition Wednesday, Jan. 29, against St. Charles and DeSales at Hartley. Watterson is back in the CCL after not having a team in 2016-17 and 2017-18 and not competing in the league last winter.
On Jan. 18 in the Panther Invitational at Pickerington North, the Knights were 10th (91) of 14 teams behind champion Westerville Central (216) as Aiden Aiello (132 pounds) and Paul Martello (152) finished second and Jacob Robinson (220) placed fourth.
Also competing at North, which featured mostly Division I programs, were Evan O'Connell (1-2 at 120), Cameron Jones (2-2 at 126) and Brian Fitzsimmons (1-2 at 160).
"We're stuck wrestling all Division I tournaments pretty much," coach Anthony Aiello said. "Watterson's got a great team, Hartley's got a great team and St. Charles has a pretty full lineup, so it should be a good two days of (CCL) duals."
Jones and Robinson are the only seniors in the lineup.
Before Jan. 23, Aiden Aiello was 22-5 and Martello was 20-7.
The postseason begins Feb. 28 and 29 with a Division III sectional at Morral Ridgedale.
"(We have some) new kids that are young and have never wrestled before, so they should be on a freshman or (junior varsity) team, but obviously we're not big enough yet so they're thrown to the wolves early," coach Aiello said.
Boys team looks to avenge DeSales loss
After building a 22-8 first-quarter lead Dec. 20 at home against DeSales, the boys basketball team was outscored 42-24 during the middle quarters and lost 63-54 in its CCL opener.
The teams will match up again Friday, Jan. 31, with the game representing an opportunity for the Knights to stay in the league title race and for the host Stallions to take a big step toward the championship.
While DeSales was 12-3 overall and 5-0 in the CCL before playing Hartley on Jan. 24, Ready was 11-3 overall after beating KIPP Columbus 66-52 on Jan. 21 and before playing Hamilton Township on Jan. 23 and is 3-2 in the league.
The Knights' other league loss came against St. Charles 70-57 on Jan. 10.
"The season's been going pretty well," junior forward Darius Parham said. "I feel like it could be better. We've battled and had to come back from a lot of injuries. We had high expectations coming into the season, but for sure a loss is a learning lesson for us. We've been learning from the past losses we've had and we've grown as a team."
Ready beat Hartley 66-54 on Jan. 17 as Parham and Azzan Daniels each scored 16 points, P.J. Daniels had 12 and Garrison Budd and Brock Baker both added 11.
Then in a 100-54 victory over Willoughby Andrews Osborne on Jan. 18, Parham made three 3-pointers and finished with 30 points while P.J. Daniels scored 13 and Keenan Johnston added 12 on four 3s.
Ready, which was fourth in last week's Division III area coaches poll, took a four-game winning streak into its matchup against Hamilton Township.
Parham was averaging 16.8 points through 14 games.
"You're playing with a chip on your shoulder," he said. "You've got to score every point you can get to make your team win."
Below are the coming schedules for the Ready boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling and wrestling teams:
Jan. 28 -- Home vs. Franklin Heights
*Jan. 31 -- At DeSales. The Silver Knights lost to the Stallions 63-54 on Dec. 20.
Feb. 1 -- Home vs. Marion Pleasant
*Jan. 27 -- At Hartley
Jan. 28 -- At Patriot Prep
*Jan. 30 -- At Watterson
*Jan. 28 -- Watterson at Game of Western Columbus
*Jan. 29 -- Mifflin at Game of Western Columbus
*Jan. 31 -- DeSales at Game of Western Columbus
Jan. 29 -- St. Charles and DeSales in CCL duals at Hartley