North Tahoe basketball | Lakers boast height, skill for success
The Lakers are competing this weekend in the Beaver Dam Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas. They are scheduled to host Loyalton on Tuesday at 7 p.m. before hitting the road to open league play at Battle Mountain and West Wendover on Dec. 19 and 20. The next game is home against ROP on Jan. 2.
The height column on the North Tahoe boys basketball roster reads like a Division III coach’s dream — 6-7, 6-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.
In fact, it’s Lakers coach Frank Wright’s reality.
“We should be able to control the boards this year,” said Wright, whose 2014-15 team differs significantly from last year’s group of speedy, standout guards.
The Lakers lost four seniors to graduation, including All-League point guard Alex Tyler and guards Alex Bourriague and Noah McDermott, who combined to create one of the quickest backcourts in the league.
“That was a lot of speed to lose from your backcourt,” Wright said.
They made up for the losses with sheer height.
Seven North Tahoe players are 6 foot or taller, with junior centers Alex Przybyslawski and Nick Joslin leading the way at 6-7 and 6-6, respectively. Senior leader and returning All-Leaguer Mitchell Myers and junior Max Burkhart are listed at 6-4, and senior Lupe Leon is 6-2.
North Tahoe got off to a bit of a slow start, losing to Quincy and Whittell to open the season, but has improved with each game, Wright said. The Lakers defeated league opponent White Pine and played Division I-A Truckee and defending Northern Division III regional champion Incline tightly in the Truckee Basketball Classic last week.
“We’re coming around. Once we do we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with,” Wright said. “We have our core back from last year in Mitch and Nick. We’re still molding the new guards and forwards from JV into the program. There’s going to be some mistakes made, but the (Truckee Basketball Classic) was a good indication of how good we are.”
Wright is particularly excited about Myers and Joslin. Both are among the premier big men in the Northern Division III, with the size and scoring ability to dominate the paint. Joslin picked up some nifty post moves in the offseason to help bolster his game, Wright said, while Myers, a four-year varsity player, remains a steady and reliable weapon down low.
They’re far from the only Lakers who can impact a game, however. Sophomore point guard Trent Lingruen, who played varsity as a freshman last year, is a rising talent who drew praise from both Wright and Incline coach Tim Kelly.
Seniors Miles Johansen, Leon and Miles Brandt help anchor the lineup with their leadership and experience, while Wright said that sophomore guard Juan Estrada sees the court well and has excellent ball-handling skills, Burkhart is tall with above average leaping ability, and freshman Teddy Gibeaut, at 5-4, shows Pistol Pete-like characteristics. Junior guard Andy Morgan rounds out the roster.
“Pretty much everybody can score,” Wright said. “And we’re still getting better. In a month we’ll be a totally different team.”