The North Tahoe boys basketball team should have no problem putting the ball through the net this season.
Their new coach, after all, wrote a book about the art of shooting.
"Oh, we can put 'em up," said first-year North Tahoe head coach Frank Wright. "I'm a shooting coach. I wrote a book on shooting, so I'm known for teaching it, and I do teach it well. So our shooting is going to be there."
To the coach's pleasant surprise, the Lakers' shooting touch was already there in their first game of the year - a 50-36 rout over visiting Portola last Tuesday. And for the most part, it's been there in the two games since - a 65-51 loss to Owyhee last Friday and a 53-51 win over Loyalton on Tuesday. The Lakers forfeited against Lowry due to a widespread team illness.
"Winning the first game was huge, as far as our confidence and all the fan support," Wright said. "They were all into it. And it was not just a win, but we blew them out, which we haven't done in awhile. So it was a good way to start."
Wright took over a team that lost six seniors to graduation, including several large bodies in the post. Luckily for the Lakers, they also had plenty of young talent to fill out the roster in 2012-13.
Junior Alex Tyler returns as North Tahoe's starting point guard, bringing with him quickness and a deft shot, and leadership qualities that Wright hopes will rub off on his teammates.
"He's kind of taken over the team leadership," Wright said. "He has the savvy, and he's a very good player."
The Lakers also boast skilled guards in brothers Sean and Noah McDermott, who are coming off standout cross-country seasons in which they helped lead North Tahoe to a state championship title, and Noah was the individual state champ. Stamina will not be an issue with either brother.
"Both are excellent ball handlers and defenders, as well as shooters," Wright said. "They bring a lot to the game. They've really stepped up."
Complement their solid guard play, North Tahoe also has a formidable post presence in senior Colin Spencer, sophomore Mitchell Myers and surprise freshman Nick Joslin. Wright said Joslin is "a big kid," listed at 6-2, who continues to improve by leaps and bounds every week.
Spencer also is listed at 6-2, while Myers leads the way in the height department, at 6-3. Wright said Spencer is a rebounding force who has developed a nice shot from the perimeter. Myers, who started last year as a freshman, has struggled in the early going with ankle injuries, but he's a skilled rebounder and scorer from both inside and out when healthy.
Senior Gerardo Perez and junior Omar Vargas round out the eight-man roster, although Wright said he might call up a couple of players from JV.
"They're a fun group of kids and they have a good, positive attitude," Wright said, adding that all the Lakers are contributing, and displaying a team-first mentality. "We've had some early successes, which I thought would take a little more time. So we're really coming around. We'll be OK this year. I think we'll be able to get this thing on track. They've had some down years, and hopefully we can give them some up years."