A lot of new faces will be sitting on the bench of the Pinelands Regional High School girls basketball team this year.

With just three returning starters, the Wildcats have almost 10 newcomers that are expected to contribute.

Some of the newcomers are from the junior-varsity program. One player, Stephanie Healy, has transferred back to Pinelands, and another player, Gabby Melo, has come to the school from Brazil as a foreign exchange student.

"They're all doing a pretty good job adjusting," head coach Keith Lowe said. "Obviously with all the newcomers we lack a little in experience, but they all have a really good work ethic and work very hard."

Lowe believes that the team's determination combined with quickness creates a competitive edge the Wildcats need to be successful this year, especially in the Shore Conference B South.

Lowe also knows that two younger players - sophomore guard Bailey Kidd and junior guard Melo - will definitely see some varsity time.

The foreign exchange student is already standing out athletically.

"She handles the ball really well and shoots the ball really well," Lowe said of Melo. "She has a really good sense of the game."

Contact Nyssa Dougherty:

609-272-7210

Girls

League: Shore Conference B South

Group: South Jersey Group III

Coach: Keith Lowe (81-85, seventh season)

2011-12 record: 11-13

2012-13 prediction: Competitive

Key players: Melinda MacNeil, Sr., 5-7, G; Alicia Herbert, Sr., 5-5, G; Elisha Hartman, Jr., 5-6, G; Breanna Wilson, Sr., 5-7, F.

Top newcomers: Gabby Melo, Jr., 5-6, G; Jessica Maxwell, 5-6, Jr., 5-6, F; Naomi Stas, So., 5-6, F; Stephanie Healy, So., 5-6, F; Katrina MacNeil, So., 5-6, F; Dana Brown, So., 5-4, G; Lovette Jenkins, So., 5-4, G; Ashley Klines, Fr., 5-4, G.

2012-13 Schedule

Dec. 17: vs. Manchester Township, 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 20: at Lakewood, 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 21: vs. Central Regional, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 2: vs. Wall, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 4: vs. Jackson Liberty, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 7: at Point Pleasant Boro, 7 p.m.

Jan. 10: vs. Monsignor Donovan, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 11: at Long Branch, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 14: at Brick Township, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 15: at Barnegat, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 18: at Central Regional, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 22: at Manchester Township, 5:30 p.m.

Jan. 24: vs. Lakewood, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 29: at Jackson Liberty, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 1: vs. Point Pleasant Boro, 7 p.m.

Feb. 4: at Monsignor Donovan, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 7: vs. Barnegat, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 8: vs. Keansburg, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 11: vs. Monmouth Regional, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 12: vs. Lacey Township, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 16: at Mainland Regional, 1 p.m.