The Mainland Regional High School girls basketball team is looking to do better than the playoff berth it earned last season.
The Mustangs finished the season 15-11 before a first-round exit in the South Jersey Group IV playoffs to Atlantic City. They graduated three seniors from that team - forward Alex Raring, guard Anna Gordon and guard Christina Urbon.
"You obviously can't replace them easily, especially a player like Alex," second-year coach Scott Betson said. "You try to find people who can account for their production.
"Alex was pretty rare. We'll have more of a scoring-by-committee attack to this year. Same thing with the defense Anna provided us with. We're looking for people to fill in pieces that they left."
Betson talked about a pair of sophomores who could help in that team-effort to maintain offense and defense.
Meghan Stafford averaged 10 points a game last season as a freshman. Melanie Malcolm is another sophomore who will add something to Mainland. She missed her freshman season with a torn ACL
Mainland is also returning starters Emilee Dalessio and Shea Scannell, a pair of small guards who will provide on-court leadership.
"We have a lot of question marks in terms of varsity play, but we definitely look to be competitive in most of our games," Betson said. "We're in a bit of a rebuilding season but that doesn't mean we're going to take a big step back either.
Contact John Russo:
League: Cape-Atlantic League American
Group: South Jersey Group IV
Coach: Scott Betson (15-12, one season)
2012-13 record: 15-12
2013-14 prediction: Spoiler - Mainland may take a small step back, but will still compete.
Key players: Meghan Stafford So., 5-5, G; Melanie Malcolm So., 5-5, F; Emilee Dalessio Sr., 5-2, G; Shea Scannell Jr., 5-2, G; Sami Lopez Jr., 5-2, G.