North Tahoe boys’ basketball preview | Well-rounded Lakers seek regional berth
TAHOE CITY, Calif. – The 2010-11 North Tahoe boys boast a little bit of everything.
Led by a returning cast of seven seniors, the Lakers are an experienced group with skilled players of all shapes and sizes – from speedy, 5-foot-6-inch point guard Trevor Trimm to 6-foot-3-inch bruisers Justin Blend and Brendan Arnold, and everything in between.
“We have a lot of seniors, so that’s good,” said North Tahoe head coach Mike Williams. “If we can stay healthy and eligible, we hope to make it to zones in 2A. But the (Mount Rose) league will definitely pose some challenges.”
Trimm is joined in the starting lineup by fellow team captain Brett Roberts, a sharp-shooting senior guard, as well as senior forwards John Baker and Matt Walther, the third captain, and Arnold, a junior big man. Arnold, who recently returned from a broken foot suffered during football season, is starting in place of Blend, who is currently working on improving his grades, Williams said.
With Arnold back in the lineup and Blend soon to return, there’s no reason the Lakers shouldn’t be able to dominate the boards. After all, the two weigh in at a combined 445 pounds. And yet, this North Tahoe team could be just as strong with its guard play.
“Now that we have Arnold back we’ll try to work it inside more often, but we also have a lot of plays that we put in that spread the floor,” Williams said. “I’m trying to get us driving to the basket, too. As a team we want to attack the hoop.”
Walther also gives the Lakers some height, at 6-2, as well as the ability to knock down an outside shot, Williams said, adding that Baker and bench players Ulices Paniagua and Eduardo Ramirez are all major contributors. And then there’s senior guard Ashton Williams, a quick and talented player who earned all-tournament honors in the Quincy Invitational to start the season. But he is taking time off to focus on school and club soccer, his coach said, and the Lakers are unsure if he will return.
“If we get Ashton back we can push the tempo a little more,” coach Williams said. “He’s quick and adds depth at point guard.”
If there’s one area where North Tahoe needs to polish its game before league play picks up again after Christmas break, it’s in the turnover and defense departments, Williams said.
“We need to be able to handle the press, and I’m hoping our experience kicks in so that we’re more level-headed with that,” he said.
As far as the postseason, where the Lakers finish in the new Mount Rose League will not determine if they qualify for their regional tournament. Like in volleyball, North Tahoe will accumulate points based on its success against all levels of competition. Teams are then seeded for the eight-team 2A regionals based on their overall points.
The catch is, the competition in the Mount Rose League, which blends the 2A and 3A Tahoe schools in an effort to reduce travel costs, includes much larger schools than North Tahoe. The league includes South Tahoe, a former 4A member until this year, as well as 3A Truckee and Sparks, and 2A Incline and Whittell.
“The question mark is do we make it do zones?” Williams said. “I was actually looking forward to our old league this year because a lot of the teams graduated their best players. This was going to be our year for revenge.”
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.