The Hammonton High School girls basketball team had a slow start last season. The Blue Devils don't see the same thing happening again this year.
Hammonton played its most competitive basketball in the last nine games of the season.
The team plans to carry that momentum to the new season.
"We all went to a summer camp at Fairleigh Dickinson and it was such a cool experience," senior Lauren Berger said. "We got to stay together and all we did was play together for three days straight. So it's kind of like we never stopped from the end of last year, and we've picked up right from where we left off."
All five starters from last year are returning. Four are seniors who are looking to have a winning season and even make the playoffs for the first time in their high school careers. Before last season, they only had a total of three wins in their first two years.
"It's definitely a lot different this year," Berger said. "You can feel it on the court. We have a better sense of what we're doing and the plays that we're running. We have a lot more confidence."
Berger will be joined by consistent scorers senior Andrea Olsen and junior Paige Mortellite. They also welcome sophomore Nicollette Jones and freshman Macie Auriello.
If the Blue Devils do make the playoffs, it will be the first time in seven years.
"I've been with Hammonton since I could walk and a lot of the other seniors have, too, if we could finally have a winning record and even make the playoffs it would be so awesome," Berger said. "It would be nice to finally see all our hard work pay off."
Contact Nyssa Dougherty:
League: Cape-Atlantic League American
Group: South Jersey Group III
Coach: Kevin Kretschy (5-21, second season)
2011-12 record: 5-21
2012-13 prediction: Competitive
Key players: Lauren Berger, Sr., 5-10, F; Taylor Peyton, Sr., 5-11, C; Brigette Alessandrini, Sr., 5-5, G; Paige Mortellite, Jr., 5-6, G; Andrea Olsen, Sr., 5-5, G.
Top newcomers: Nicollette Jones, So., 5-4, G; Macie Auriello, Fr., 5-6; F/G.
Dec. 14 at Oakcrest, 6 p.m.
Dec. 18 vs. Mainland Regional, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 20 at Highland Regional, 7 p.m.
Dec. 21 vs. Ocean City, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 26-28 Score at the Shore at Southern Regional, TBD
Jan. 2 vs. Vineland, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 4 at Our Lady of Mercy Academy, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 8 at Lower Cape May Regional, 7 p.m.
Jan. 11 at Middle Township, 7 p.m.
Jan. 15 vs. Bridgeton, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 17 at Holy Spirit, 7 p.m.
Jan. 19 at Overbrook, 12:30 p.m.
Jan. 22 vs. Oakcrest, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 23 at Camden County Tech, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 25 vs. St. Joseph, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 29 at Ocean City, 6 p.m.
Feb. 1 vs. Our Lady of Mercy Academy, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 vs. Lower Cape May Regional, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 7 vs. Middle Township, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 9 at Absegami, noon
Feb. 12 at Bridgeton, 7 p.m.