The Millville High School girls basketball team emerged from the doldrums last season.
The Thunderbolts hope to stay in the spotlight this season.
After years of struggling (including a 55-game losing streak from 2007-09), Millville finished 17-9 last season. The Thunderbolts are favored to win the Cape- Atlantic League American Division this season.
"We feel we can compete on any given night," Millville coach Jason Kessler said. "We know there's a lot of tough teams.
Millville features one of the league's top backcourts. Point guard Lexi Bruno is one of the league's best all-around players.
"Lexi is a dynamic playmaker," Kessler said. "She has unbelievable court vision. She makes all the players around her better. That's really helping with the development of our post players."
Guard Amanda Smith complements Bruno with accurate outside shooting.
"Both guards are much more vocal (this season)," Kessler said. "They're taking the team as their own."
Millville also features a talented frontcourt with 5-foot-7 senior Katrina Gaskins and 5-9 senior McKenzie Taylor. Kaila Smith, a 5-11 sophomore, transferred to Millville after Sacred Heart closed in June.
Millville is used to being the underdog. This season, the Thunderbolts will be the favorite that other teams want to upset.
Contact Michael McGarry:
League: Cape-Atlantic League American Division
Group: South Jersey Group IV
Coach: Jason Kessler (39-77, five seasons)
2013-14 prediction: Favorite – Guard Lexi Bruno is one of the top playmakers in South Jersey
Key players: Lexi Bruno, Sr., 5-4, G; Amanda Smith, Jr., 5-4, G; Katrina Gaskins, Sr., 5-7, F; McKenzie Taylor, Sr., 5-9, F; Jordan Caez, Jr., 5-7, G; Kaila Smith, So., 5-11, C; Tuesday Cook, Sr., 6-3, C; Ki-Jana Shockley, Jr., 5-9, F.