When the 2006-07 Lakeside boys basketball team takes the floor this winter, the faces will be almost completely new.
That includes the face on the man standing in front of the bench with a clipboard and the reins to the team in his hand.
Former Lakeside High School junior varsity coach Ryan Morningstar will take over as the Panthers' head coach this upcoming school year after coach Donnie Burch stepped down.
"It's exciting. We've been working out and playing this summer," Morningstar said. "We'll have the underdog role all year, but we'll be a smart team. They're willing to work."
Morningstar, who gradu-ated from Lakeside in 1997, already has his work cut out for him when it comes to fielding a squad for the season. At least nine of the 13 Panthers on the 2005-06 squad were seniors. Morningstar said there will most likely be only one or two returning players to this year's squad, but the new faces will make for a smoother transition for the coach.
"I've actually worked with them in the past more than anyone else," Morningstar said, referring to the majority of Lakeside's summer basketball players who are coming up from the junior varsity program.
"We're going to be young, but this group of kids wants to work hard," he said.
Morningstar, a physical education teacher at Lewiston Elementary School, will take over a boys basketball program that underachieved last winter. This year, he started the season early with summer scrimmages.
"This is what they need," he said. "The last couple of years we haven't been able to get a good number of kids to participate in the summer program. These younger kids coming up realize we have to do it."
In the scrimmages and practices the team has participated in so far, Morningstar said he's starting to see some strengths and weaknesses. Though the basketball season is almost five months away, the coach said the upcoming season, and the future of Lakeside basketball, looks promising.
"There's no secrets. We have a younger group coming in with a lack of experience and no height, but this group has more potential than any I've seen at Lakeside since I've been here," Morningstar said.
"There's no reason why Lakeside basketball can't compete with everyone else in the county."
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