Lauren Holden entered the high school basketball team as a highly touted Lower Cape May Regional High School freshman.
As a sophomore, she averaged 18.4 points, sank 40 3-pointers and made 88.5 percent of her foul shots. Her performance earned the 5-foot-5 point guard several Division I scholarship offers. She verbally committed to Fordham University in September.
As a junior, Holden will once again guide the Caper Tigers.
"She has the ball in her hands 95 percent of the time," Lower coach Scott Douglass said. "She is the true leader of the team on the court."
Supporting Holden are juniors Madie Gibson and Ariel Magee, each of whom were major contributors last season. After those three is a young, relatively inexperienced team.
Lower Cape May must replace a few starters, including their top two rebounders, Nicole Sangillo and Megan Turner. The Caper Tigers may struggle for second chances on offense.
"We're going to be out-rebounded by a lot of teams, and that's going to hurt us," Douglass said.
However, Holden, Gibson, Magee and fellow juniors Rian Young and Carrie Wunder are hard workers who will set a good example for Lower Cape May's younger players.
The Caper Tigers will use this season as a way to prepare for what could be a bright future a year from now.
"If some breaks go our way and we can improve our rebounding, we could be better than the middle of the road," Douglass said.
League: Cape-Atlantic League National
Group: South Jersey Group II
Coach: Scott Douglass (65-67, five seasons)
2012-13 record: 18-10
2013-14 prediction: Competitive - Although they are young, Holden's leadership and floor vision will play a tremendous role in keeping the Caper Tigers in games.
Key players: Lauren Holden, Jr., G, 5-5; Madie Gibson, Jr., F, 5-7; Ariel Magee, Jr., G, 5-5.
Top newcomers: Rian Young, Jr., G, 5-6; Carrie Wunder, Jr., F, 5-6; Kaylee Devine, So., G, 5-5; Amanda Durbin, So., G, 5-4; Jessica Elliott, So.