There will be plenty anew for the Lakeside Lutheran boys basketball team this season.
The Warriors graduated nine seniors, including all five starters from a team that went 17-4, losing in the regional finals, and won the Capitol North with a 9-1 mark.
Todd Jahns replaces Kirk DeNoyer as head coach and activities director. Jahns coached Kettle Moraine Lutheran for 19 years, the last of which resulted in a WIAA Division 3 state tournament berth.
Jahns, who cites former Wisconsin head coach Dick Bennett as an influencer, plans to rely partially on the defense to ignite the offense.
“We’ll do what we can to guard the basket,” Jahns said. “When you are able to do that, the defense can trigger the offense. I like kids that transition and can score in transition. I wouldn’t put us in the category of run-and-gun. We are going to be a team that values the basketball and get guys in positions where they can get good shots. If you do those things, you give yourself an opportunity to score.”
The Warriors lost their top four scorers from a season ago. Forward Jack Monis led the with 14.7 points per contest en route to being named Capitol North Player of the Year. Cameron Paske (13.9 points per game), Will DeNoyer (11.1 ppg) and Caleb Kuepers (6.6 ppg) also received all-conference accolades.
This year’s squad will likely rely on getting contributions from up and down the lineup.
“We have good character guys who want to do well and work hard,” Jahns said. “They absorb and take what you are giving them. They are coming in ready to go and move forward. That has been refreshing. When I look at them, I can tell we are going to be better as we move forward with guys who didn’t have that much playing time last year. I certainly see a tremendous amount of potential within the group we’ve got.”
Seniors Carter Schneider (5.2 ppg) and Matt Davis (4.6 ppg) are players who played reserve roles last year. Schneider is an athletic, 6-foot guard and Davis is a leader on the floor that can score.
“Schneider has the potential to become a unique, special player,” Jahns said. “He has all the natural skills and abilities, he just hasn’t been put in a position where he can showcase them. He will play a lot and could end up being one of our best all-around players.
“Davis will be our leader and the guy who pulls the team together and pulls us forward. He will take on a scoring role this year. He feels and senses that responsibility.”
Senior Collin Schulz and junior John O’Donnell will give the team size and versatility as they can both play different roles.
“Schulz may be our best athlete. We’ll see where he slots in whether he is going to be more of a perimeter guy or slasher,” Jahns said. “He will need to take on a scoring role. His athleticism and ability to guard will be important for us.
“O’Donnell has size and is our lone threat as a big. He isn’t a back to the basket player but has size and length. On a team of guys between 5-10 and 6-2, John becomes our length and size. He will be needed to guard inside and be a strong rebounder. He can also stretch the floor for us.”
Senior Logan Pampel figures to consistently be in the rotation and is athletic player that can rebound well for his 6-foot frame.
“He’s a tremendous athlete with a huge upside,” Jahns said. “He hasn’t had the chance to play much. He can potentially be a solid rebounder, defender and a guy who can get six to eight points. We aren’t sure where he’s going to fit in. It could be as a 3 or 4.”
Freshman Levi Burkholz may see some varsity minutes and is a guy who handles the ball well and possesses intangible qualities.
The junior group of Bryan Guzman, Ian Olszewski, Brendan McKenna, Gabe Uttech and Seth Veers will all vie for minutes as well.
The Warriors are going to play tight man-to-man defense, guarding the ball as a unit of five.
“We won’t be pressuring passing lanes. We will be defending the paint, making teams become perimeter oriented,” Jahns said. “Contest those jump shots, keep things from getting into the paint. Force teams out of what they are comfortable doing. If a team has a strong post and likes to go in there, we are going to try and take that away. Concept of five guys defending the ball and those guys working together to make it hard for opponents to score. Then be able to rebound with that and finish it off by scoring.”