Ocean City's Tom Ballezzi #4, middle attempts a shot between Delsea Alex Garbarino #4, left and Frank Freijomil #22, left during boys playoff basketball game at Ocean City High Tuesday, March 1, 2011. Edward Lea

The upcoming season will be a learning experience for a young Ocean City High School boys basketball team.

The Red Raiders return just one player with true experience, 6-foot-3 senior Ryan Laverty.

The Red Raiders must replace Matt Bosch, a Press first-team All-Star who averaged 19.3 points and 7.3 rebounds to lead O.C. to last year's South Jersey Group III semifinals.

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Ocean City players may be too new to contend against veteran teams on its schedule such as Atlantic City, St. Augustine Prep and Middle Township.

In his 24th season, coach John Bruno simply wants to see his team stay competitive and improve in every game.

"It is a difficult start to the season having no returning members with significant varsity experience. Young players must learn to compete at the varsity level," Bruno said.

In addition to its youth, Ocean City must also combat a lack of size.

Laverty and sophomore newcomers Zach Altieri and Patrick Martin are the Red Raiders' biggest players at 6-3.

Controlling the game's tempo and limiting turnovers will determine how Ocean City fares, Bruno said.

"(We have) numerous players of similar ability, which makes bench development a key to success," Bruno said.

Contact Brittany Grugan:



League: Cape-Atlantic League National

Group: South Jersey Group III

Coach: John Bruno (307-275, 23 seasons)

Last year's record: 16-11

2012-13 prediction: Rebuilding - the Red Raiders are limited by youth and lack of size but has a deep bench with plenty of room for improvement.

Key returnees: Ryan Laverty, Sr., 6-3.

Top newcomers: Justin Moretti, Sr., 5-9; Joe Shrader, Sr., 6-2; Ryan Dougherty, Jr., 6-1; Griffin Grimes, Jr., 5-10; Justin Price, Jr. 5-11; Justin Ruggia, Jr,. 5-11; Jeremy Sullivan, Jr., 5-6; Zach Altieri, So., 6-3; Patrick Martin, So., 6-3.

Key games

7 p.m. Sunday vs. Cedar Creek

7 p.m. Jan. 8 at Middle Township

6 p.m. Feb. 1 vs. Oakcrest

1 p.m. Feb. 16 at Mainland Regional


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