Tammy Niccolini wants to change the culture of Barnegat High School girls basketball.

In her first year as head coach, Niccolini has her sights on the long-term future of the team.

The Bengals have never had a winning season.

"The ultimate goal is to create a winning program," Niccolini said. "It's going to take some time, and I'm willing to be patient. I'm looking for a tremendous amount of growth."

Niccolini comes to Barnegat with plenty of coaching experience.

She coached the Southern Regional Middle School girls team and also coaches travel and AAU teams.

When she heard of the opening at Barnegat, Niccolini jumped at the opportunity.

"I decided it was time to take the next step in my coaching career," she said.

Niccolini inherits a young team with one returning starter, senior Shannon DiGrazio.

Junior Gianna Pelechaty was a key reserve player last winter.

Incoming freshmen Ashley Toner and Roxy Urso will have an impact.

Barnegat's players will spend the early part of the season adjusting to a new coach and new ideas.

So far, the transition has gone smoothly.

"We're getting used to each other," Niccolini said. "I'm getting to know them, and they're getting used to my coaching style."


League: Shore Conference Division B South

Group: South Jersey Group II

Coach: Tammy Niccolini (first season)

2012-13 record: 9-16

2013-14 prediction: Rebuilding

Key players: Shannon DiGrazio, Sr., Gianna Pelechaty, Jr., Nicole Federovich, Jr., Hannah Fahringer, Jr.

Top newcomers: Ashley Toner, Fr., Roxy Urso, Fr.