North Tahoe hoopsters set to take on 2A |

North Tahoe hoopsters set to take on 2A

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunNorth Tahoe High School girls basketball team captain Kacie Conn works on her jump shot at practice Wednesday.

Paddling into its first season in the lineup of Nevada’s Northern 2A division, the North Tahoe girls basketball team is preparing to barrel into a new wave. Balanced with experienced seniors, energetic new faces and a great coaching staff, the Lakers are sure to hang on board for an exciting ride.

Though they lost five seniors to graduation, including All-League forward Joelle Lazzareschi, North Tahoe starts the 2007 season with a hard-working squad that is big on potential and better matched with its 2A opponents. Last year’s Lakers played in the Northern 3A.

Second-year head coach Scott Conn likes what he sees and looks forward to a successful season.

“We have some pretty big shoes to fill losing five players, but we’re faster and more athletic than last year,” Conn said. “Some might feel it’s a rebuilding year, but we’re dedicated to winning in the new division.”

The new-look Lakers boast the talents of four seniors, including captain Kacie Conn, and a talented crop of six juniors, led by scoring leader Kelly Hester. With a full roster of solid players, adapting a new offensive strategy has been the foremost priority.

Assistant coach and nine-year North Tahoe coaching veteran Brad Hester has helped transform the offense.

“We’ve modified our offense to focus on the team’s abilities,” coach Hester said. “We’ll be less star oriented and more team oriented.”

Having already played a tough schedule of nonleague games against bigger California schools, the Lakers’ offense has already shown promise.

“I schedule games that build character and show us what we need to work on,” coach Conn said. “Any team that can score 21 points in a quarter (as the Lakers did against Pyramid Lake on Dec. 10) shows the potential and capability that the team has.”

Offensive improvements such as shot selection and learning “where to be and when to be there” are two of the skills the coach is focusing on.

Senior captain and starting guard Katie Conn agreed that the offense needs work.

“Our greatest challenge will be to get our offense down ” taking better shots,” she said. “There’s no doubt we’ll be a good shooting team. It’s just early and we’re rusty. I am working hard on my outside shot.”

Playing difficult preseason games will undoubtedly ease the Lakers transition into the 2A, as they have learned how to play against unknown teams.

With no scouting info on the teams, they’ll surely face surprises, coach Conn admitted.

“It’s going to be quite an experience,” the coach said. “We have no game tape, nor history on any teams in the league.”

That why the players are told to be ready for anything.

“They’re taught to never underestimate an opponent,” coach Hester said.

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