Ready Roundup: Silver Knights boys basketball team sees success on horizon

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Ready junior guard Troy Hixson battles St. Charles’ Ryan Utt for possession of the ball earlier this season. The Silver Knights reached a Division III district semifinal, finishing 12-7 overall and 4-4 in the CCL.

The opponent was the same as last year’s finale and the final score wasn’t much different, but the Ready boys basketball team ended the season believing it had taken steps forward. 

The seventh-seeded Silver Knights were tied with third-seeded Johnstown at halftime of their Division III district semifinal before being outscored 20-11 in the third quarter and falling 62-52 on March 2 to finish 12-7 overall. 

Last season, Ready finished 16-7 with a 56-47 loss to the Johnnies in a district semifinal. 

“It was tied at halftime, (but) they had control of the game at halftime last year,” coach Tony Bisutti said. “We didn’t, for whatever reason, ... come out (strong) in the third quarter. We’ve got to give Johnstown credit. Winning high school basketball is a simple recipe. When you can finish around the rim with contact and make free throws and defend pretty well, they do all three of those things. We’re not slouches in that area, but we couldn’t finish around the rim with contact.” 

Ready loses a five-player senior class that was led by guard Darius Parham, who had 19 points against Johnstown and scored more than 1,000 for his prep career. Parham, who will play football for Lake Erie, averaged 18 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists and was first-team all-league. 

Senior guard Garrison Budd averaged 10 points and was second-team all-league. 

Guard Azzan Daniels, who had eight points in the tournament loss, was another key senior. 

Ready tied Hartley for third (4-4) in the CCL and opened the district tournament with wins over 17th-seeded Marion Elgin (66-43 on Feb. 24) and 14th-seeded Wellington (72-49 on Feb. 27). 

The Knights began this season with back-to-back wins, including beating eventual Division II district champion DeSales 48-46 on Dec. 18, before losing three of their next five. 

“It was tough,” junior guard Troy Hixson said. “We got faced with a quarantine early on and it was tough, but we had some good moments. Sometimes shots just didn’t fall. We’re a good team and it was a good season overall. 

“(Next year's returnees have) all grown up together. We jell well, have good chemistry and we’ll be able to make a run next year.” 

Sophomore post player Kaleb Schaffer should be the top returnee after averaging 10 points and 4.0 rebounds and shooting 60 percent from the field while earning second-team all-league honors. 

Junior post player Austin Burgoon, junior guards Adam Bennett and J’Sun Gardner, sophomore wing player Charlie Russell and sophomore guard Luke Ruth should be among others returning. 

Russell averaged 7.0 points and Ruth averaged 4.0 points. 

“We should be thankful we got to play,” Bisutti said. “We always want more and we wanted this group to have a chance to play for a district championship and see what happens, but it was not in the cards. 

“We’ve got some guys coming back. We’re junior heavy and some of these sophomores this year certainly have gone through the battles, so we’ll have a different team that could be more half-court-oriented. We’ll have to be a team that’s able to play at different speeds.” 

Two wrestlers make 

state tournament

Senior Aiden Aiello (138 pounds) and junior Paul Martello (145) qualified for the Division III state wrestling tournament March 13 and 14 at Marion Harding. 

On March 5 and 6 in the district tournament at Coshocton, Aiello won his first three matches before being pinned in 3 minutes, 17 seconds by Newcomerstown’s Logan Hursey in the championship match. Both Aiello and Hursey entered that match undefeated. 

Martello opened district by defeating Zanesville West Muskingum’s Kaleb McFee 12-7 but was pinned in 38 seconds by Bidwell River Valley’s Nathan Cadle in the second round. 

After winning his next two matches in the backdraw, Martello beat Magnolia Sandy Valley’s Justin King 6-3 to qualify for state. In the consolation final, he was pinned by Cadle in 35 seconds to finish fourth. 

Aiello was 24-1 and Martello was 22-5 heading into state. 

julrey@thisweeknews.com 

@UlreyThisWeek 

BOYS BASKETBALL 

Record: 12-7 overall  

CCL standings: St. Charles (6-2), DeSales (5-3), Hartley and Ready (4-4), Watterson (1-7) 

Seniors lost: Garrison Budd, Azzan Daniels, Kyle Gramlich, Keenan Johnston and Darius Parham 

Key returnees: Austin Burgoon, Troy Hixson, Charlie Russell, Luke Ruth and Kaleb Schaffer 

Postseason: Defeated Marion Elgin 66-43; def. Wellington 72-49; lost to Johnstown 62-52 in Division III district semifinal