A pair of obstacles last month failed to alter the Ready boys basketball team's long-term course.
The Silver Knights had their bench shortened in mid-January when freshman Luke Ruth, who had settled into a backup point guard role, sustained an ankle injury. His status heading into Ready's regular-season finale Feb. 14 against St. Charles was uncertain.
After putting together a four-game winning streak following a 70-57 loss to the Cardinals on Jan. 10, the Knights had what coach Tony Bisutti termed a "really bad" performance in a 57-52 loss Jan. 23 to Hamilton Township.
Ready, however, bounced back to win its next four and stay in contention for the CCL title.
"Things are going OK," Bisutti said. "We stubbed our toe at Hamilton Township and felt like that was a game we shouldn't have lost, but we bounced back. We're trying to bring our bench along and trying to get some bench production. We've had some good practices with (our backups), but it just has taken a while to translate into the game. We're trying to get some consistency off the bench."
What Ready can bank on as it prepares for the Division III district tournament is it has one of the area's best offensive threats in junior guard Darius Parham as well as strong supporting backcourt play from senior Brock Baker and juniors Garrison Budd and P.J. Daniels.
The Knights were 15-4 overall and had a chance to earn a share of the CCL championship heading into their rematch with St. Charles, as they were 5-2 in league play while the Cardinals were 6-1. DeSales, which went 6-2 in the league, also would earn a share of the league title if Ready won Feb. 14.
Following the loss to the Rangers, the Knights earned non-league wins over Franklin Heights (79-45 on Jan. 28) and Marion Pleasant (71-49 on Feb. 1) and CCL victories over DeSales (57-47 on Jan. 31) and Watterson (66-49 on Feb. 7).
In the win that gave Ready a season sweep of Watterson, junior guard Azzan Daniels scored 21 points and Parham had 18, and Knights went 18-for-20 from the free-throw line.
The Knights earned the fourth seed for the district tournament and open Feb. 28 at home against 19th-seeded Northridge.
"If you look at our starters, we've got five guys that can score at any given time," Bisutti said. "We've shared the ball really well, made the extra pass, and when we do that, that's when we're at our best."
Girls swimmers advance to district
Senior Katie Smith and junior Elaine Smith represented the girls swimming team in the Division II district meet Feb. 12 at Ohio State.
Katie Smith finished 28th in the 200-yard individual medley (2 minutes, 38.07 seconds) while Elaine Smith placed 17th in the 200 freestyle (2:05.32) and 12th in the 500 free (5:39.19).
On Feb. 8 in a sectional at Columbus Academy, Ready scored 16 points to place 11th of 16 teams behind champion Columbus School for Girls (243) as Elaine Smith was sixth in the 200 free (2:04.35) and seventh in the 500 free (5:43.18).
She was seeded 10th in the 200 free and 11th in the 500 free at district, from which the top two finishers in each event automatically advanced to the state meet Thursday, Feb. 20, and Friday, Feb. 21, at Branin Natatorium in Canton. There also were 16 at-large state berths in each district swimming event.
"I've done a lot more work than last year," Elaine Smith said. "I've been adding on a lot more practices and a lot of gym time because I'm trying to make myself stronger."
Katie Smith was seeded 29th (2:36.3) in the 200 IM at district after placing 17th at sectional. She also was 20th in the 100 breaststroke (1:21.34) at sectional.
Girls basketball team preps for postseason
The girls basketball team is the 11th seed for the Division III district tournament and opens Tuesday, Feb. 18, at ninth-seeded West Jefferson.
The winner plays host to 13th-seeded Northridge on Saturday, Feb. 22, in the second round, with the winner to face eighth-seeded North Union, 14th-seeded Columbus Academy or 15th-seeded Fredericktown in a district semifinal Feb. 26.
Ready lost to DeSales 36-22 on Feb. 11 to finish 0-6 in the CCL. It was 7-13 overall before playing Fairbanks on Feb. 13 and closing the regular season Feb. 15 against Newark Catholic.
Below is the coming schedule for the Ready bowling teams:
Feb. 14 -- Boys: Competed in Division II sectional at HP Lanes. The top 12 teams and top 12 individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Feb. 20 at HP Lanes. The top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams at district advance to state Feb. 28 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
Feb. 15 -- Girls: Competed in Division II sectional at HP Lanes. The top 12 teams and top 12 individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Feb. 20 at HP Lanes. The top two teams and top two individuals not on qualifying teams at district advance to state Feb. 29 at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.