FORKS — Forks plans to push the tempo and clamp down defensively under new boys basketball head coach Keith Weekes — much as the program had for years under Rick Gooding.
“I’ve spent the last seven years coaching with Rick as the JV coach for 4 and volunteering for other seasons. That rubs off on you. I will bring in some of what he did and what I learned as a young coach, but I’m also always looking things up, reading and watching basketball so we can grow.”
With a youthful and undersized roster, the Spartans have plenty of room to improve this season.
Forks lost its Pacific League all-leaguers from last season — Logan Olson and Riley Pursely — expected returner Keaton Northcut transferred to Woodland and Ryan Rancourt broke his ankle during football season.
But the Spartans were young last season with five underclassmen seeing heavy minutes and all those players return.
Juniors Aidan Salazar and Landin Davis will be counted on by Weekes.
Salazar will be our point guard, he will be the one making a lot of the decisions and I think he will be our go-to-guy,” Weekes said.
“We want to grow his basketball IQ this season so he is coming down the court and making his own decisions and not having to look to a coach on the bench for instructions. He’s a good mix, he’s smart enough to know that if there is a lane to the basket then take it, but don’t force the issue.”
Davis will play at guard and forward.
“Landin will be stepping up a lot for us,” Weekes said. “He’s going to be a two-way guy for us playing inside and outside depending on our personnel. He can play shooting guard through the four spot.”
Micheau and Lausche also impressed at times as freshmen on the varsity.
“Dylan is strong,” Weekes said. “Deceptively, I don’t like to use that word, but he’s smart, and maintains good ball control going inside on drives. “Even if he’s bouncing off bodies, he will be able to play inside when he wants to. And he’s eager to play. He had a concussion that ended his season early last year.”
Forks plans to work through Lausche down low.
“Brody will be our big go-to inside guy,” Weekes said. “Running the floor we want to run through him as much as we can. Trying to get them out of the mentality that we don’t care who scores, we want to get the ball to Brody and get him shot attempts.”
Weekes expects teams will collapse on Lausche defensively.
“He turns and faces [the basket] on almost everything,” Weekes said. “He has good footwork and he’s strong with his shoulder so he gets the space he needs.”
Senior Grady Earls is likely to earn a spot as a team captain.
“Grady is just smart, I don’t pick captains right off the get-go, I want to watch the kids and see who they gravitate toward and a couple of kids have come up and asked if he will be a captain for us.”
Senior Brandon Galeana also will see the floor.
“Brandon is athletic and can jump out of the gym,” Weekes said. “He’s a hard worker who will always go 100 percent.”
Guards Kyle Lohrengel and Klaton Helvey will provide depth and defense at guard.
Freshmen Landen Olson and Noah Foster also should contribute along with sophomore DeAnthony Davila.
“We are going to play with pace,” Weekes said. “We want to get the ball up court with the pass not a dribble. We will have a lot of quick hitter plays designed to beat opponents down the floor. Brody is our tallest guy at 6-1, so we are not going to be outsizing people.”
• Head coach: Keith Weekes, 1st season.
• Last season: 13-10, advanced to district tournament.
• Returners: Aidan Salazar (jr., G, 5-9); Landin Davis (jr., F, 5-11); Dylan Micheau (so., F, 5-10); Brody Lausche (so., F, 6-1); Brandon Galeana (sr., F, 6-1); Grady Earls (sr., F, 5-10)
• Newcomers: Kyle Lohrengel (so., G, 5-8); Klaton Helvey (sr., G, 5-4); Landen Olson (fr, G, 6-0); Noah Foster (fr., G, 5-8); DeAnthony Davila (so., F, 5-7).
• Outlook: “We will mix it up a little bit,” Weekes said. “It will take a little getting used to but as long as I can get them to buy in and put in hard work the results will come. Everything will be new together.”