Speedy Lakers take shot at new division | SierraSun.com

Speedy Lakers take shot at new division

Seth Lightcap/Sierra SunNorth Tahoe senior Mike Basile eyes an open lane during a nonleague game against Loyalton. Basile and senior Brent Marple are the only two returning seniors on this year's small-but-speedy Lakers squad.

The North Tahoe High boys basketball team is ready to run the floor in a new conference.

With a team of athletic players who are long on speed and short on height, the Lakers hope quickness is their secret to success in Nevada’s Northern 2A division. Last year’s taller Laker team played in the 3A.

“There’s no denying that we don’t have much height,” said returning senior and team captain Brent Marple at practice Wednesday. “We’ll need to move the ball well and press hard in full-court transitions to overcome our lack of size.”

North Tahoe head coach Mike Williams, last year’s junior varsity coach, echoed Marple’s thoughts.

“If we’re gonna win, we’re gonna run and play as a team,” Williams said.

Playing as a team will be the first big challenge for the Lakers, as their squad returns just two senior starters, guards Marple and Mike Basile. A majority of the team, including Williams, is brand new. Williams ” who replaced David Hansen when the four-year head coach resigned at the end of last season ” has North Tahoe history on his side, however, as he played varsity basketball for the Lakers, graduating in 1990.

Williams is thrilled to be coaching in the North Tahoe gym.

“Having played basketball for North Tahoe, coming back as a coach is a dream,” the coach said.

The new players rounding out the roster are mostly seniors who are experienced prep athletes, but not basketball players.

“What’s unique is that we have five seniors coming out their senior year having not played the previous three years,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of athleticism in the bunch, but it needs refining for the basketball court.”

Having a full roster will surely benefit the team, as last year the North Tahoe bench often had empty seats.

“It’s great to have a full team,” Marple said. “Playing games with only six players is no fun.”

Another significant change for this year’s team will be offensive strategy. Last year’s offense focused on one standout, Michael Forte. Without a similar star player, the offense will rely on all-out team effort.

Williams said he is looking for significant points from every starter.

“If we have five guys average 10 points a game, we can be successful,” he said.

In addition to Marple and Basile, the Lakers will undoubtedly see points from seniors Eric Holman, David Rodriguez and Carlos Lara, all of whom played last season.

The move into the Northern 2A division means the Lakers will be matched with schools of more equal enrollment ” as opposed to playing larger 3A schools. But with the new division come new teams.

Basile is looking at the Lakers’ lack of 2A experience as motivation.

“Every game will be a surprise so we won’t stress out worrying about who to cover,” he said. “All we can do is show up and play hard.”

Moving into the new division also means the Lakers have a fresh shot at a first impression ” one they hope to be successful.

“We want to be competitive,” Williams said. “Our goal is to jell as a team come league, and do well enough to make zones.”

The fact that most of the team graduates after this season might be all the motivation it needs.

“As seniors they know it’s a one-shot deal,” Williams said. “They have a single season to make their mark.”

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