NLA boys quicken the pace

Speed will be the key for the North Lakes Academy boys basketball team this season.

The Huskies, who went 14-11 last year, return seven seniors to lead North Lakes to another winning season under fourth-year head coach Judd Yaeger.

The head coach plans to switch things up this year with a new style of play. Compared to past years, the Huskies will have more depth in guards this season.

“We’re going to run a full-court press, push for fast breaks and shoot a ton of threes, since we have decent guard play,” Yaeger said. “We want the other team to shoot quickly and get them out of rhythm.”

Senior Chris Rosencrantz, a 6-foot-1 guard, will serve as the captain this season. Yaeger expects the shooting guard to lead in scoring for the Huskies and said Rosencrantz has a good chance to play at the collegiate level.

Seniors Derek and Dylan Beatty will assist Rosencrantz beyond the arc as wings, while 6-foot-2 forward Jake Ozment returns as another high-scoring threat from both the inside and outside. Senior Cody Warren comes back to be a big presence on the blocks with a 6-foot-3 frame. Also putting in minutes down low will be 5-foot-11 senior Evan Svenkeson and 6-foot-0 senior forward Zach Paulson. Yaeger said Svenkeson may be undersized for a forward, but he makes up for it with tenacity and could be the sixth man off the bench for North Lakes.

Sophomores Kyle Spillman and Noah Nei, a guard, are young talents to watch this winter.

“Kyle’s a lock-down defender — if he’s beat off the dribble, he’ll be back in front of them in two steps,” Yaeger said.

Yaeger reiterated that the change is not what his boys are used to and that things may seem chaotic for a while.

“I don’t expect us to look smooth until February,” Yaeger said. “We’ll have games where we just look horrendous, maybe throwing up 50 shots in the first half, and we have some tough teams early on. But we need to learn.”

The Huskies travel to their first game at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, against PACT Charter.