LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston High School girls basketball team will open its 2019-2020 season at Brearley High School in Kenilworth Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Lancers' head coach Buddy Wolfe has a deep and experienced group returning from a team that went 18-6 last season. It should be noted, though, that this year's team has been moved into a different division of the Super Essex Conference, so the competition on a game-to-game basis could be more demanding and more competitive.

Last season, Livingston went undefeated in the Independence Division. This season, the Lancers were elevated to the Colonial Division. But this could be just the group to thrive on that kind of a challenge.

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Five guards and two forwards return who saw significant time on last year's team. Senior guard Kayla Parsons averaged 11 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals last season. Senior forward Aliza Gelman averaged close to nine points and led the Lancers in free throws.

Junior guard Lauren Belcuore--coming off of a spectacular soccer season this fall--led Livingston in assists and steals and grabbed almost five rebounds per game as a sophomore. Senior point guard Sarah Cullen was second on the team in assists and steals. Junior forward Ava Intile, junior guard Hailey Reuter and senior guard Reigne Villanueva also saw varsity minutes last year and should be rotation players this winter.

"We have an experienced group returning for this season," Wolfe said. "Also, we have some speed when everyone is healthy and available."

Livingston can go deep with its roster, and sophomore forwards Avery McLaughlin and Gianna Healy, sophomore guard Jordan Mason, junior guards Soliyana Asfaw and Samara Elster and seniors Alexis Mason and Halle Goldberg are also competing for minutes this season.

"We are looking forward to being able to compete in a higher level of the SEC Conference and earning the respect of some of the quality opponents we will be playing this year," said Wolfe, who countered his enthusiasm over the team's experience and quickness by noting that lack of height is one thing his team will have to find a way to compensate for.