It’s a new year and a new season for the Foran girls’ basketball team.

The Lions welcomed 2011 on Monday night with an impressive 46-39 Southern Connecticut Conference Hammonasset Division road win over Hand in Madison.

In the process, Foran improved to 3-5 and notched its second win in its last three games.

“We put 2010 behind us as quickly as we could,” coach Scott Nails said. “When you look at it, we lost three of those five games by a total of seven points. It was a matter of a possession here and a possession there that, if they had gone our way, we could’ve very well been 5-2.”

Nails said that he and the team viewed the Hand game, as well as the team’s road contest on Friday at West Haven, as “games that we can win.”

Last week, the Lions defeated New Canaan, 39-37, on a buzzer-beating shot by Jasmin Rodriquez in the first round of the LaVista tournament before losing in the championship game to Darien, 48-45.

Rodriquez blocked a Ram shot with 10 seconds to play before driving the length of the court for the winning shot.

“The big key in that game for us was stopping their point guard (Sarah Mannelly),” Nails said. “Our help defense was very good. You can’t depend on one player to stop someone that good.”

Mannelly was held to 10 points while Foran got a 12-point effort from Taylor Jagoe and 10 points from Kelly Quinn.

Jagoe then had a career-high 22 points in the loss to Darien.

In the win over Hand, Jagoe scored 16 and Quinn added 13.

“I’ve been preaching to these kids how important it is that they play some basketball during the off-season,” Nails said. “Taylor Jagoe is a perfect example. Even though she plays soccer in the fall and holds down a job, she still has time for her studies and time to play some basketball before and after the season.

“It has paid huge dividends both for her and for our team.”

After this week, Foran has games next week with Amity, perhaps the biggest surprise team in the SCC so far this season, and city rival Law.

“It’s amazing how well Amity is doing (the Spartans were 7-1 through last week) considering that their team is made up of so many young players,” Nails said. “And you know that Law, being our cross-town rival, will be tough.”