Will Ocean City be able to overcome the loss of four starters and be a top contender in the Cape-Atlantic League this year?
If any team can bounce back after losing so much, the Red Raiders can.
Leadership, talent and experience make Ocean City a formidable opponent in the league and in the postseason.
Last season, the Red Raiders won the American Division, then beat National Division champion Holy Spirit to win the overall league crown.
Senior point guard Nancy White is back from last season's squad, which posted a 28-2 record and advanced to the South Jersey Group 3 final for the second consecutive season. The Raiders lost to Woodrow Wilson in that sectional final.
White, last season, averaged 12 points per game, upping her career total to 749 points. A proven leader with a solid supporting cast, White is joined by junior guard Sara Gibbs, junior forwards Kelly Brady and Shannon Lane, and senior center Amanda Landi.
A fiery player who sees the court well, Gibbs saw action last season, as did Brady. Lane was a starter until she tore an anterior cruciate ligament after the first two games. At 5-foot-11, Landi is taller than last season's center, Danielle Brady.
"The overall team attitude is a winning one," said Ocean City coach Paul Baruffi, who has led the Red Raiders to three division and one league titles in the last six years. "The program has a good group of dedicated kids with good leadership and desire to be better."
Baruffi said White and Landi are the team captains, but he also "likes the leadership of Kelly [Brady] and Shannon [Lane]."
Ocean City does not have as much depth as last season. However, guards Liz Kerr and Kelsy Boylan, and 6-2 junior forward Meredith Schoyer will be hopping off the bench.
If everyone stays healthy, the Red Raiders are expected to be serious division and league contenders.