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Lakewood boys basketball prepares for upcoming season
LAKEWOOD — Cougar varsity boys basketball, armed with six seniors, is ready to get back to prominence after suffering key injuries in the second half of the season and missing the playoffs with a 3-11 Cascade Conference record in 2010.
Head coach Matt Hart, entering his eighth year as the team’s head coach, is ready as well. He said this year’s mix of older vets and new, talented freshman can make a big difference.
Lakewood football players — seven of fourteen players on the roster including senior guard Tyler Duitsman, junior power forward Justin Peterson, freshman guard/forward Paul Coleman, freshman forward Hunter Fritz, senior center Dustin Stanton, junior forward/center Kolby Scheuller and senior forward/ center Thomas Raught — return to the hardcourt after a 2A state-quarterfinals-reaching 2011 campaign on the gridiron. Duitsman and Stanton suffered injuries during the football season but will return just after the basketball season begins.
Senior guards Caleb Graves and Tyler Farrell and forward Zach Smith, as well as junior forwards Kelly Blaine and Kendal Kippen and forward/center Josh Anderson, will reunite with their football counterparts to take Lakewood’s varsity team to the next level. Freshman guard Ryan Alford, having taken the opportunity to play all summer in the football players’ absence, will provide new talent to add depth to a senior-heavy squad, Hart added.
According to Hart, this year’s varsity Cougars will look to push the ball downcourt on offense and press on defense. They’ll play with a higher tempo and get out and run more than they did last year. Perhaps the most important aspect of this team is that no one player considers himself above the rest.
“’We’ve got a great group,”’ Hart said. “’They’re all team first, more so than in the past, and they’re willing to give up personal goals for the sake of the team. I know our character is championship-level.”