BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater-Raritan girls basketball team, which opens its season Friday night at Watchung Hills at 7 p.m., will have a new head coach but a bunch of the same players that helped the team go 17-11 last winter.

Coach Scott Bray, the school's head football coach, takes the reins of the girls hoop team, and he's got an experienced cast to help ease the transition in his first season. Eight players return from last season's varsity team, which reached the Section 2, Group 4 championship game before losing to eventual Group 4 state champion Franklin.

The front court features two Division 1 recruits, senior center Teresa Wolak and senior forward Jordyn Hawthorne. Wolak, headed to Rider University, averaged 9.1 points and 3.4 rebounds last season. Hawthorne went for 5 ppg. and 4.8 rpg. She has committed to St. Peter's University.

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Senior guards Kristin Tribel (7.3 ppg.), Keiko Fox (5.4 ppg.), a superior perimeter shooter, and Claire Liston give the Panthers plenty of savvy and skill in the backcourt. Other returning letterwinners include senior forward Diza Hasanaj and juniors Katie Kowal (6.5 ppg.), a guard, and Meghan Ball (7.1 ppg.), a forward.

"For the team to be successful we will have to develop a balance on the offensive side of the ball and be effective in playing a pressure defense," Bray said. "Depth will be the strong side of this team, the bench is deep with seniors Deanna Weidele, Seraphina Wong and Leena Alkhafjibeing able to give valuable minutes to already strong group.

"If we can pick up where we left off last year, in regards to our all-around level play," Bray said, "we should be in good position for another solid season."