A start to a season always stands to be tough for a team in complete rebuilding mode, but add to that fact two of potentially the toughest teams it will face also represent a pair of the first three opponents on the schedule and it is a baptism by fire for the up-and-coming players. That's the scenario for Foran High's girls basketball team, which tipped off the regular season against East Haven and, following a home game with Shelton on Friday (7 p.m.) will visit Hamden on Tuesday (also at 7 p.m.). Hamden and East Haven combined for 31 regular-season wins a year ago. Coach Bob Asmussen has a team that lost five seniors, including four starters, from last year's 5-15 team. Senior Taylor Wisniewski is the team's captain but is going to miss her second straight season due to a knee injury. "We will be looking for other leadership to step up," Asmussen said. "The strength of our team should be our perimeter shooting. Mia Tunucci and Jasmine Lord can be consistent shooters and our two guards, Lauren and Sam, can shoot the ball pretty well." Foran's starting five consists of junior Sam Inthapanyha at point guard, freshman Lauren Heenan in the shooting guard role, Jasmine junior Lord and sophomore Tunucci, in the forward positions and senior Jade Lord at center. Asmussen is looking for his lineup to develop as the year unfolds. "The goal this season is to improve each and every day," he said. "We are very young and we are just looking for consistent growth from now until the end of the season. We need to get Foran basketball back to the level it should be." Among the dates circled on the schedule are Jan. 5 and Feb. 12 when Foran takes on Jonathan Law. "We always look forward to our two matchups with our cross-town rivals," Asmussen said. "We also expect to have some good battles with West Haven and Lauralton Hall this year. Two of the top teams we play are East Haven and Hamden." With all that is stacked against Asmussen's squad, reaching the postseason is not of concern. "It's going to take very hard work by the girls in order to qualify for the state playoffs," he said. "We have a tough schedule and the girls are just going to have to improve a little each week. The girls are going to have to understand the effort that is needed in practice every day in order to be successful during the season." Foran will practice for games it plays this winter, with an eye on the future. "We are going to need to improve our bench," Asmussen said. "We have five starters right now and some girls I can rely on off the bench. But they need to be consistent and I need to be able to go deeper into the rotation. The beauty of this is that they are all young and will be returning next season as well. "I am very much looking forward to this season. This new group of girls have some great team chemistry and they have been fun to be around all throughout the practices and scrimmages."