It wasn't until one month into the 2012-13 season that Pinelands Regional High School won its first boys basketball game.

The Wildcats are bigger, faster and more developed this year. That growth should help Pinelands get off to a quicker, stronger start.

"We have an opportunity to be very competitive in almost all of our games," Wildcats coach John Tierney said.

"Whereas last year, we were a little out-manned."

Pinelands won just four games last season. They again face some height matchup issues. The Wildcats tallest player is 6-foot-2.

To combat that, Pinelands will rely on a up-tempo game.

"We have to team rebound and play aggressive, in-your-face, man-to-man defense, and we have to push the ball up the court," Tierney said.

The Wildcats will also capitalize on perimeter shooting.

Returning are senior guard Matt MacPhee and sophomore guard Luke Stambaugh, who combined to sink 101 3-pointers last season.

Senior DJ Kidd and junior Milanj Coursey bring experience up top as forwards to round out the floor.

Pinelands hasn't won more than five games since the 2009-10 season. If things go according to plan, this could be the year it passes the mark.

"We are still young, but we should be able to do some damage," Tierney said.


League: Shore Conference B South

Group: South Jersey Group III

Coach: John Tierney (45-107, seven seasons)

2012-13 record: 4-22

2013-14 prediction: Competitive - Aggressive defense and a knack for outside shooting will greatly benefit the Wildcats.

Key players: Matt MacPhee, Sr., G, 5-11; Luke Stambaugh, So., G, 5-10; Milanj Coursey, Jr., F, 6-0; DJ Kidd, Sr., F, 6-2; Dan MacPhee, Sr., F

Top newcomers: Will Jenkins, So., G, 5-10; Mike Suarez, So., G, 5-11.


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