Scott Betson might be a new head coach, but the leader of the Mainland Regional High School girls basketball squad is not new to his players.
Betson, a 2003 Absegami grad, served as a freshman coach and varsity assistant coach under then-coach Sue Repetti, who was was 58-62 over five seasons.
"It might be a little bit easier for me than it is for a lot of new head coaches because I've been involved in the program for years," Betson said. "That's helped the transition as far as what we expect from one another."
The Mustangs went 15-11 and reached the South Jersey Group IV playoffs last winter. Their offense was sparked by Alex Raring, now a senior forward, who averaged 12 points per game.
Raring was one of the league's most underrated talents and should be a player to watch this season.
Mainland hopes to contend for the Cape-Atlantic League American Division and to qualify for the six-team CAL playoff tournament. The Mustangs narrowly missed earning a spot last season.
However, the Mustangs are struggling to replace five seniors who were key contributors last year. There are some talented freshmen who could see considerable minutes. Still, the current group of seniors, led by Raring and Christina Urbon, have impressed Betson so far.
"They've stepped up, done a lot to earn their spots on the team and to develop themselves as leaders," he said.
Contact Brittany Grugan:
League: Cape-Atlantic League American
Group: South Jersey Group IV
Coach: Scott Betson (first season)
2011-12 record: 15-11
2012-13 prediction: Contender
Key players: Alex Raring, Sr., 5-8, F; Christina Urbon, Sr., 5-9, G/F; Emily Dalessio, So., 5-3, G; Anna Gordon, Sr., 5-3, G.
Top newcomers: Julia Byrnes, Jr., 5-8, G/F; Shea Scannell, So., 5-1, G.
Dec. 14: vs. Holy Spirit, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 16: vs. Shawnee (Prime Events Shootout at Ocean City), Noon
Dec. 18: at Hammonton, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 20: at Vineland: 6 p.m.
Dec. 29: vs. Council Rock (Boardwalk Classic at Wildwood), 11 a.m.
Dec. 30: Boardwalk Classic at Wildwood, TBD
Jan. 2: vs. Cherry Hill West, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 4: at Millville, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 8: vs. Absegami, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 11: vs. Atlantic City, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 15: at Egg Harbor Township, 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 17: at Lower Cape May Regional, 6 p.m.
Jan. 19: at St. Joseph, Noon
Jan. 22: at Holy Spirit, 7 p.m.
Jan. 26: vs. Central Regional (Prime Events Shootout at Holy Spirit), Noon
Jan. 29: vs. Vineland, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 1: Millville at Mainland Regional, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 5: at Absegami, 6 p.m.
Feb. 7: at Atlantic City, 7 p.m.
Feb. 9: vs. Camden Catholic (Shootout at the Shore), 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 12: vs. Egg Harbor Township, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 16: vs. Pinelands Regional, 1 p.m.
Feb. 25: vs. Holy Cross, 5:30 p.m.