There's a buzz around the Seneca girls basketball team
How many days?
How many days?
Other kids might have thought a fight was breaking out, or an impromptu math contest was taking place.
Girls randomly exclaiming numbers in the school hallway?
It was just the Seneca girls' basketball team's way of letting loose some pent-up anticipation.
"We were so excited for the season that we had a countdown going," said senior center Brittany Snow. "And every time I passed [junior guard] Molly Garthwaite in the hallway I'd always say, 'How many days?' And she would always answer."
Head coach Sean Kennevan, a teacher at Seneca, said the buzz his players created was palpable.
"Our first day of practice, all the other teachers were coming up to me and telling me just how excited all the players were to get out on the court," Kennevan said.
For the Golden Eagles, that enthusiasm extends beyond just a love of the sport.
Seneca knows an opportunity when it sees one. And this season presents as strong an opportunity for success as there has been in recent program memory.
A year after winning a tough Olympic Conference National Division, Seneca returns four starters, including one of the top frontcourts in South Jersey.
Snow, the team's 5-foot-11 center, is complemented underneath the basket by fellow senior, 5-11 forward Johanna Metzger.
Metzger averaged 10 points and six rebounds last season while Snow averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds.
"We're both comfortable going inside, and we're both comfortable going outside," Snow said. "And we've been playing together since we were in sixth grade, so we know what to expect from each other on the court."
Snow enters the year with 879 career points. It shouldn't take her long to break Seneca's school-record of 1,075 set by Chelsea Grover in 2010.
"I'm very excited for that as well," said Snow, a Stony Brook recruit. "But really, I just want to see everyone else do well.
"The record will come, but we're all just focused on winning games."
Kennevan points to that attitude as one of the team's greatest assets.
He has five seniors, all of whom are set to play a major role on and off the court.
"Our biggest strength is our leadership," said Kennevan, in his fifth year at Seneca. "We have a lot of leadership, a lot of experience, and they're all talented basketball players.
"We're having an excellent preseason. It's a great group of girls and we have a lot of potential."
Kennevan says when his players break their huddle before every game, they collectively yell out a one-word mantra: "Together."
It represents a closeness the team has - and it's one the factors driving the Eagles' excitement.
Seneca's five seniors have played together since middle school and want nothing more than to go out on a high note.
"We know this is our last season together," Snow said. "And it would mean a lot for us to be successful in our last year. I know all of the girls are ready for the season. We really want to take the conference.
"We have great team chemistry, we're best friends off the court, and we all work well together. But we know we have to cherish every moment and take it one step at a time."