During a three-team scrimmage Nov. 13 against Granville and Liberty Union, the Ready High School girls basketball team showed how its speed and defensive intensity provide reasons for optimism entering the 2010-11 season.

During a three-team scrimmage Nov. 13 against Granville and Liberty Union, the Ready High School girls basketball team showed how its speed and defensive intensity provide reasons for optimism entering the 2010-11 season.

What wasn't unexpected to Silver Knights coach Joe Long was that things didn't go nearly as smoothly four days later in a three-team scrimmage against Grandview and North Union.

With no players taller than 5-foot-10 and with little returning experience, there might be some inconsistent moments for a while for the Silver Knights.

Ready, which went 11-10 overall last season, opens Friday against Buckeye Valley in the Delaware County Tip-Off at Olentangy Orange.

"Right now they look the way I expected them to," said Lang, who enters his 30th season. "Some nights we look pretty good, some nights not good at all."

Lang, who earned his 400th career victory last January, will be looking for his third consecutive winning season with a roster that features only two seniors.

Dani Pugh, a 5-foot-7 forward, is the leading returning scorer after averaging 5.7 points last season. The other senior is guard Kelly Veeley, who scored 10 points during a 63-57 loss to DeSales last February but had just 21 points on the season.

Sophomore guard Carly Culbertson is the second-leading returning scorer after averaging 1.4 points last season. She should be in the backcourt along with juniors Caitlin McAndrew and Ciarra Carr, who battled during the preseason for the starting point guard job.

Junior Nikki Brown and sophomore Alexis Mayle are the tallest players on the roster at about 5-10.

The other sophomores are Kim Lloyd and Brooke Ringle, while sophomore McKaylynn Fleshman likely will split time between junior varsity and varsity.

Senior Emily Morris, a 5-9 post player, averaged 2.9 points but did not return this season. She's a two-time state qualifier in the shot put and will be concentrating on track and field over the coming months as she weighs college scholarship offers.

"There are a lot of new players this year," Culbertson said. "We lost five seniors, so we really only have three returning varsity players along with a lot of players from the j.v. and freshman teams. I think we're going to be good at running this year, and we usually try to get a lot of quick passes to get down the floor.

"(Lang wants us to have) a lot of intensity. He just wants us to be really intense and really aggressive."

Last season, Ready finished third in the CCL at 6-4, behind Watterson (10-0) and DeSales (8-2) and ahead of Hartley (4-6), Columbus School for Girls (2-8) and Worthington Christian (0-10). Worthington Christian is no longer in the CCL, but Ready plays host to the Warriors on Jan. 29 in a non-league game.

The 10th-seeded Silver Knights opened the Division III tournament last year with a 59-35 win over CSG but lost to third-seeded North Union 44-38 in a second-round game at Delaware.

Taylor Riggs, who averaged 14.2 points and nine rebounds, led a 2010 senior class that also featured guards Courtney Neff (7.2 ppg) and Heather Manning (4.6 ppg) and forwards Alyssa Zag (5.4 ppg) and Mandy Lane (5.0 ppg).

"We have to score off our defense and get out and run the floor," Lang said. "If we do those things, and we did that against Liberty Union and Granville, we look pretty good. (Shooting) is a huge question mark for us. Dani Pugh is really our only returning shooter, and she averaged 5.5 points last year. If there's a glaring problem right now, that's it.

"We'd better (run the court well) because we're not very big."

•Girls volleyball coach Mike Kusan was one of the coaches in the Division III state all-star game last Sunday in Wooster. Senior Erin Sekinger, who made first-team all-state, was among the participants.

Sekinger and classmate Lindsey Kusan, the coach's daughter, both were selected to the Central District All-Star match on Nov. 14 at New Albany. Sekinger was not able to compete because of illness.