There appears to be a fine line for the Ready High School boys basketball team this season between its biggest strength and what could be too much of a good thing.

There appears to be a fine line for the Ready High School boys basketball team this season between its biggest strength and what could be too much of a good thing.

With several key players who showed an ability during their first four games to make jump shots, the Silver Knights went just 1-3 but made an average of six 3-pointers per game.

Ready finished with nine 3s and was within eight points of defending CCL champion DeSales midway through the third quarter Dec. 17 before losing 60-40.

The expected return of junior guard Derek Farmer when the Silver Knights travel to Hartley today should only enhance an outside shooting unit that has seen contributions from juniors Ross Etgen and Bo Hardy and sophomores Kris Clarke, Kyle Wilgus and Doug Strickler.

What Ready needs, according to coach Don Worstell, is to figure out when to shoot from long range and when to move the ball inside the arc.

"We have a lot of kids that can make perimeter shots, but right now I think we're too perimeter oriented," Worstell said. "We've got to have more dribble penetration and post entrance because we're not doing enough attacking."

The Silver Knights' improving health should help.

Against the Stallions, 6-foot-4 junior post player Brandon Gutheil saw his first action of the season after suffering a foot injury midway through the football season.

Farmer averaged 4.8 points over the first 12 games last year before going down with a season-ending shoulder injury.

Farmer had shoulder surgery in July and missed the first four games of this season. He made a team-best 16 3-pointers a year ago.

"Derek's our most seasoned basketball player," Worstell said. "He played a little varsity as a freshman. He's not very big, but he's got a big-moment mentality."

Ready trailed 22-8 midway through the second quarter against DeSales but got a pair of 3-pointers by Strickler and cut the deficit to 28-16 by halftime.

In the third quarter, Etgen made a 3-pointer and a three-point play to cut it to 32-24, but DeSales stretched the lead to 46-32 by the end of the quarter and led by as many as 23.

"DeSales has a very nice basketball team and they're very athletic," Worstell said. "We had two lapses, and the lead went from eight to 22. It was just us losing track of the defensive principles we work on. I was happy with our toughness, and I thought we were strong with the basketball."

•The girls basketball team got an emotional boost from its 44-39 victory over Marion Pleasant on Dec. 15.

After shooting 24 percent from the floor during a 52-30 loss to Watterson on Dec. 11, the Silver Knights got 24 points from senior forward Dani Pugh against the Spartans. Sophomore Kim Lloyd added 14 points for Ready, which outscored Pleasant 20-11 during the middle quarters.

"After the way we played at Watterson, things were at that point where they were pretty low," coach Joe Lang said. "We turned it over 25 times and shot 10 of 42 from the field and it looked like we didn't have any identity. We came back in practice with better concentration and attention to detail."

Against Pleasant, Ready shot 16 of 36 from the floor and also got strong play from junior point guard Ciarra Carr.

The Silver Knights face a pair of Division I teams over the holiday break in Cincinnati Mother of Mercy on Tuesday and Dublin Jerome on Wednesday at the Watterson Classic.

Mother of Mercy coach Mary Jo Huismann won her 600th career game earlier this season.

"We've been doing a good job of screening for each other," Lang said. "We're also trying to get them to understand what a good shot it. It should be 'let's get a good shot for Ready' rather than 'let's get a good shot for you.' I told our coaches that even if we didn't win (over Pleasant) that we needed to play better."