A rough 2012-13 season left the Lower Cape May Regional High School boys basketball team with nowhere to go but up.
The Caper Tigers went 2-23 and lost several games by large deficits.
"Against a lot of teams, we were out of it early," Lower coach Scott Holden said.
The outlook is more optimistic this year. Lower is hoping some improvements late last season will carry over into the new year. The Caper Tigers did better in the second half of the season. They hung in with more teams and kept scores tighter. Lower was 2-1 in its final three games.
"A lot of kids took it upon themselves to not be in the same situation this year," Holden said. "They've worked really hard.
While Lower struggled last year, Holden said the Caper Tigers will be more competitive defensively in an effort to keep games closer.
Lower Cape May does face some roster turnover with the loss of a few seniors and some who transferred to other schools. Among the returning players is 6-1 senior Jack Von Savage, who will be a team leader.
Although the team still lacks experience to beat some of the area's toughest teams, Lower should be more successful than a year ago.
As the season progresses, so should the Caper Tigers. Holden said Lower Cape May has been a stronger second half team in each of his three seasons with the program.
"We want to battle, remain competitive and never stop improving," he said.
League: Cape-Atlantic League National
Group: South Jersey Group II
Coach: Scott Holden (33-48, three seasons)
2012-13 record: 2-23
2013-14 prediction: Competitive - The Caper Tigers ended last season on a positive note, going 2-1 in its last three games and has worked diligently in the offseason to get better.
Key players: Jack Von Savage, Sr., F; Shane Szubski, Jr.; Miles Kline, Jr.
Top newcomer: Kyle Hood, Sr.