Detroit Lakes embraces changes under new head coach Brett Maass

The Detroit Lakes boys basketball team is learning new ropes in the early part of the 2021-22 season under new head coach Brett Maass.

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Nate Cihak (left) and Carson Rogstad run through a drill during the Detroit Lakes boys basketball practice on Nov. 26, 2021. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

The 2021-22 Detroit Lakes boys basketball season is about embracing chances. With a new coach, gym and section, the Lakers are looking to dethrone the defending state runner-ups in March.

After 10 years of coaching at Norman County East, Brett Maass took over the reins of the Detroit Lakes boys basketball team. His first goal is to implement a fast-paced, high-pressure style of basketball that takes advantage of the athleticism he has at his disposal.

"Defensively, we want to pick up the full court," Maass said. "We want to pressure the entire length of the floor. Offensively, we want to play a little faster than they have maybe played in the past. We want to get up and down. We want our guys to be athletes and be basketball players so they can beat their guy. It's a work in progress, and we have to emphasize that every single day. We want to play a fun, exciting brand of basketball."

Learning a new game plan is going to take time, but Maass has been impressed with his team's coachability.

"There has definitely been a learning curve in being here," Maass said. "Coaching the kids is all the same. I've been doing this for 10 years. It's actually kind of been a smooth transition. Obviously, we're going to do things differently than what's been done in the past. The kids are getting used to that, and I'm getting used to that with them. The kids are working super hard and are coachable. They want to learn."


"If you have kids that are this coachable and hard-working, it's pretty easy to be able to implement things," Maass said. "They're just sponges right now. That's just been awesome. It's been a really fun four days because of that."

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Brett Maass runs through a drill during the Detroit Lakes boys basketball practice on Nov. 26, 2021. Maass is the new head coach for the Lakers after coaching 10 years at Norman County East. Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Maass has felt welcomed in his short time in Detroit Lakes. He's seen the community embrace local athletics and wants to be a part of it.

"It's a great community with great kids," Maass said on the appeal of moving to Detroit Lakes. "People are super involved with the schools and athletics. It's a really good opportunity. I love Norman County East, and it was a great way to start out coaching, but it was just time. Over the last two months, it's been nothing but great."

Last season, the Lakers went 9-8 before suffering a loss at the buzzer to St. Cloud Apollo in the opening round of the section playoffs. J'amari Abston hit a floater as time expired in overtime to send the Eagles to the semifinal round by a score of 54-52.

Alexandria, the winners of Section 8 3-A last season, went all the way to the state championship game before falling to Minnehaha Academy. After only a few senior departures, the Cardinals are poised to make a run again unless another 8 3-A team pulls off an upset.

"We can definitely contend," Maass said. "Obviously, Alex is the standard right now. That's who we're looking at. We're fortunate to get to play them twice so we can see where we need to get to. That's the team we have to beat. I'm looking forward to those challenges. I think we can be towards the top of the section."


"We have a ton of kids that have done a pretty good job in the weight room over the years," Maass said. "They're faster, quicker, more agile and more athletic. Skill-wise, we have to get to the next level. As far as athletes and what we get to work with, there's no doubt that we have it. The sky's the limit."

One of the perks the Detroit Lakes indoor teams are looking forward to is the opening of the new gym tentatively scheduled in January. Maass is amped to show off his team in the state-of-the-art facility in a few months.

"I'm super excited," Maass said. "It's going to be a lot of fun, especially when that new gym comes around. I think all of the kids are excited too. Once they're able to get out there and see the fans again, especially in that new gym, it's going to be awesome."

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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