Boys basketball: Maass, Lakers aim for more consistency in year two
After an up and down first season under head coach Brett Maass, the Detroit Lakes boys basketball team is hoping to stay more consistent this time around. It starts on Friday night against Little Falls at Lakeshirts Fieldhouse, where the Lakers are looking for their first section win in two years.
DETROIT LAKES – The 2021-22 Detroit Lakes boys basketball season was a roller coaster of first-time accomplishments and growing pains under new head coach Brett Maass.
In year two, he's aiming for more consistency with an experienced roster.
Last season started with a 77-58 opening-night win over Barnesville, the first of Maass' Laker coaching career. It was followed with seven consecutive losses before Detroit Lakes handed a talented Thief River Falls team a 31-point defeat.
From there, the ebbs and flows of the Lakers' season swung on a nightly basis. They finished with a record of 11-15 and a 69-63 loss to Rocori in the first round of the Section 8-3A tournament.
"The reason we were so inconsistent is because we had a new system with a bunch of new guys," Maass said. "That's just going to happen. These guys have played in this system and have a summer with us under their belts. They know what to expect. Consistency is going to be there more than it was last year. It takes time, and it takes experience."
Detroit Lakes is in the process of shifting towards a fast-paced, high-intensity team on both ends of the floor. Maass wants to punish opponents in transition and defend the length of the court. It's an entirely different philosophy from past teams before his stint began last season.
"We're hoping we can build off of year one," Maass said. "It's obviously better in year two when they know what's going on, and they know our system. Guys understand how practices are going to be, and it's been a lot smoother because of that. For the most part, we're healthy, and guys are getting after it."
"This year, we had a summer with them. The year before, we didn't," Maass said. "It took a while to get it going last year, which was expected. This year is going to go a little bit smoother. We have guys that are coming back who played a lot of minutes last year."
The Lakers will have to replace three starters. Nate Cihak, Christian Solberg and Chris Breeden logged plenty of minutes last year, leaving a void of leadership and production.
"We had a really good senior group last year that represented us well and did things the right way," Maass said. "For them to do that and show these guys how it's done has really helped. Those guys started it with their attitude and their collective effort to buy into this transition. They were so big for stuff like team bonding and having these guys get along. Now, they guys we have this year look at how those kids did it last year and mimic it."
Maass will lean on the underclassmen from a year ago to pick up the pieces.
"It needs to come from guys that have experience at the varsity level," Maass said. "Mason Carrier is a guy who started as a sophomore and is a returning all-conference guy. He needs to step up and fill that role as a junior. Devon Berg is a guy that has to do that as well. Oliver Quam is a senior who will have to be a leader. Hunter Korth and Mason Omberg off the bench are also two of those guys. All of our seniors need to assume leadership."
An area Maass is hoping to see improvement in is section matchups. The Lakers finished last season with an 0-6 record against 8-3A opponents.
"We didn't win a section game last year," Maass said. "We didn't win a regular-season section game, and we obviously lost in the first round of the playoffs. We need to get some section wins to get some confidence. We're looking to build off of what we were able to establish last year. Hopefully, by the end of the year, we're playing really well."
St. Cloud Tech won the Section 8-3A tournament with a 71-69 buzzer-beater victory over Alexandria in the title game. Both the Tigers and the Cardinals reloaded after losing key seniors.
"Alexandria has some guys back, and they're a machine," Maass said. "Grayson Gove and Chase Thompson are problems for everybody. They have a JV team that I'd be surprised if they lost more than a couple of games last year. Tech reloaded as well. Those two are the teams to beat. You still have Sauk Rapids and Rocori. Rocori brought everybody back. Class 3A sections are no joke. You have to play good teams."
Maass wants to establish his team's identity game-by-game. He hopes that his guys' commitment to the process of building on a micro level will pay dividends toward competing for Section 8-3A and Mid-State Conference championships.
"I think everybody needs to understand their roles," Maass said. "Not everybody is going to be getting 20 shots per game. It's just the reality of this team. What I like about this squad, especially our starting five, is all of them can score. We're hoping all five can be around double figures. That'll be tough come section playoff time for teams to scout us if we have a lot of options to get the ball in the bucket."