A Season to Anticipate


Liam Bradford, Editor-in-chief

“There is no substitute for hard work. For us to truly be successful, we need to be the hardest-working team around for the next four months.” 

According to Lakeland basketball head coach Tony Hanna, this is the style of play that Lakeland basketball lives by. 

Looking ahead to the season, Hanna noted, “We lost a lot of talent with the players who graduated. However, we have some key players returning, and this group is collectively the hardest working I have had in my 13 seasons as a head coach.”

The 2021-22 Lakeland Hawks team finished 8-11 in Hanna’s first season as head coach for the Hawks. Despite falling short of state, the team performed well and will have a good chance to win the league this season. 

Last season, Lakeland played better against top competition than they had in previous years, beating the Post Falls Trojans for the first time since 2004. 

The Hawk’s three primary scorers from last season: Grant Roth, Bryce Henry, and Abe Munyer, all graduated. Losing their leadership and firepower on the court, this year’s team must rely on their chemistry and discipline to win close games. 

The 2022-23 Hawks team will feature their own trio of standout seniors in the starting lineup. Collin Cameron, Scotty Hocking, and Nick Nowell have all been playing on the same team since 8th grade, and all emphasized how strong the team’s chemistry is. 

The dynamic between our big three is menacing, ” said Hocking. “Our assistant coach knows how to coach post players, which will be beneficial. I am going to try to beat the scoring record this year.”

All three of them have expectations of winning districts and defensive rebounding their way to state.  

Our team chemistry is exciting; nobody butts heads. Work ethic is a big thing for our team,” said Nowell. 

Hocking and Caysen Loutzenhiser are the only returning starters from last season’s team. Loutzenhiser is currently battling a torn ACL but is expected to return at some point midseason. 

“Every player on our team has an underdog mentality. We’re going to play tougher without Caysen, and when he gets back, we will be fortunate to have one of the best rebounders in the area back on the court,” said Cameron. 

Currently, the team is most focused on intense defense and good rebounding. 

Although it is a bit cliche, I am a big believer that ‘defense wins championships.’ In basketball, you will have good shooting nights and rough ones. Solid defense and rebounding keeps you in every game, no matter how the offense performs,” said Hanna. 

After a heartbreaking loss to Sandpoint to cap off last season, the returning players are entering this season with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove in the 4A IEL league. 

Coach Hanna expects this team to surprise some people and says that if they stay committed, they can beat any team down the stretch. 

The season will kick off with a home game against Kellogg on November 29 at 7 p.m. after their jamboree on November 22.