Dave Troiano noticed during the first week of practice that his Wildwood High School girls basketball team seemed to be ahead of schedule.
The Warriors have a veteran team led mostly by seniors and juniors, and it showed.
"The kids have been playing with each other for a while," Troiano said. "They seem to instinctively know what they're going to do, making a cut or whatever."
Troiano has had some great post players in his 34 years at the helm, but this team is different. No player is taller than 5-foot-8.
"We're a much more guard-oriented team now, much more than ever," Troiano said. "We have to rely more on speed now than probably since I've been here. We have to be quicker."
Two players the Warriors will rely upon are senior guard Serena Seijo and junior small forward Jessica Freeman, both of whom were honorable mention Press All-Stars last season.
"Serena seems to be a lot more mature this year, just in her approach to the game," Troiano said.
"Sometimes in the past she had a tendency to get out of control a little bit. She's team-oriented now."
Freeman earned first-team All-Tri County Conference honors last season.
"She'll be looked upon as one of our go-to people," Troiano said.
As is often the case with any team at tiny Wildwood, depth is an issue. But if the Warriors can avoid foul trouble and injuries, they could improve on last season's eight wins.
"I do expect this team to be better this year," he said.
Contact Jason Mazda:
League: Tri-County Conference Classic Division
Group: South Jersey Group I
Coach: Dave Troiano (34 years, 588-285)
2011-12 record: 8-18
2012-13 prediction: Spoiler - The Warriors are senior-laden and could have the savvy to surprise some teams.
Key players: Danielle Aydelotte, Sr., G, 5-3; Serena Seijo, Sr., G, 5-3; Kelsi Toland, Sr., F, 5-6; Adaysha Lewis, Sr., C, 5-8; Jessica Freeman, Jr., F, 5-6; Mackenzie Huber, Jr., F, 5-5; Hydeia Farlow, So., G, 5-4.
Top newcomers: Jaime Ficke, So. F, 5-8; Leishly Reyes, So., G, 5-5; Jillian Freeman, Fr., F, 5-5.
Games to watch: 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 vs. Wildwood Catholic at Wildwoods Convention Center; 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 vs. Triton; 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29 vs. Cape May Tech; 5:30 p.m Monday, Feb. 25 vs. Atlantic County Institute of Technology.
Dec. 14: at Clayton, 6 p.m.
Dec. 18: at Gloucester County Institute of Technology, 5:30 p.m.
Dec. 20: at Camden County Tech, 6 p.m.
Dec. 22: vs. Wildwood Catholic at Wildwoods Convention Center, 5:15 p.m.
Dec. 27: vs. Lindenwold at Wildwoods Convention Center, 12:45 p.m.
Dec. 28: vs. TBD at Wildwoods Convention Center, time TBA Jan. 2: at Atlantic County Institute of Technology, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 4: at Gloucester City, 6 p.m.
Jan. 8: at Pitman, 6 p.m.
Jan. 10: vs. Salem, 5 p.m.
Jan. 11: vs. Cumberland Regional, 5 p.m.
Jan. 15: at Penns Grove, 4 p.m.
Jan. 17: at Pennsville, 4:30 p.m.
Jan. 22: vs. Clayton, 5 p.m.
Jan. 24: vs. Triton, 5 p.m.
Jan. 25: vs. Gloucester Catholic, TBA
Jan. 29: vs. Cape May Tech, 5 p.m.
Jan. 31: vs. Gloucester City, 5 p.m.
Feb. 4: at Deptford Township, 5 p.m.
Feb. 5: vs. Penns Grove, 5 p.m.
Feb. 7: vs. Pitman, 5 p.m.
Feb. 12: at Glassboro, 4:30 p.m.
Feb. 15: at Salem, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 19: vs. Pennsville, 5 p.m.
Feb. 21: at Lower Cape May Regional, 5 p.m.