News Article
6/15/2018 7:29:00 AM
Lakeland begins summer hoops league slate 
Nick Sabato/Lakeland Times

Lakeland’s Ray Rentmeester (50) is surrounded in the post by a trio of D.C. Everest defenders during a UW-Marathon County Summer League game on Tuesday, June 12.
Nick Sabato/Lakeland Times 

Lakeland’s Ray Rentmeester (50) is surrounded in the post by a trio of D.C. Everest defenders during a UW-Marathon County Summer League game on Tuesday, June 12.
Nick Sabato
River News reporter

Basketball season may be five months away, but Lakeland Union High School is back on the court attempting to get better in the UW-Marathon County Summer League on Tuesday nights, along with another summer league for younger high school players at Northland Pines High School on Sunday nights.

The Thunderbirds and 14 other teams from the Northwoods and central Wisconsin play one or two games with two 20-minute halves, culminating with playoffs at the end of next month.

It's an informal session and attendance isn't required, but with the loss of three seniors that accounted for 72 percent of the team's scoring and 58 percent of the team's rebounding last season, Lakeland is looking to fit some new pieces into more prominent roles.

"I just want guys to show up, I just want guys to get a ball in their hands, I just want guys to have another opportunity to compete, especially with the loss of important players we had on our team last year," LUHS head coach Rich Fortier said. "We need guys to come out and compete with other varsity hopefuls and that's really what I'm looking for. I'm not really looking for much else. Success would be nice every now and again too, but just the opportunity, especially in a year like this where we have some massive losses out of our guys that produced last year."

A lot can change from June and July to November and December, but Fortier is also taking a look at who may fit into certain positions and what different strategies may work with that personnel.

Being able to see how things look against live competition does help when it comes to evaluating the roster from top to bottom.

"Our first contact day is on Monday, so we get a chance to see where we want to go and what our plans are," Fortier said. "With these last two Tuesdays and last two Sundays, we really haven't had that opportunity to talk to the guys yet because we just got out of school, but I think we'll work on all that stuff. We'll work on what we want to look like, what we want to run offensively - I have a few tweaks in mind. Defensively I'd like us to just stick to what we did."

Lakeland returns one full-time starter in Jonathan Jurries, who led the Great Northern Conference in 3-point shooting and finished fifth in scoring.

Ray Rentmeester is also back after starting a large portion of the season after Connor Evenhouse was injured, while Mason Wolfe also started games over the course of the season.

Collin Quade and David Wolfe both saw minutes off the bench as sophomores, but another sophomore figures to be a prominent part of the team after missing all of the 2017-2018 season with a torn ACL, in Michael Ouimette.

Due to his injury, Ouimette hasn't played with Lakeland's varsity team in a role as a featured player, so the summer league at UWMC is a good chance for Fortier to see how to utilize him best.

"He's incredibly important to our team," Fortier said. "Typically each night, he's going to best athlete on the floor and the biggest. Our hope is to highlight him in the best way possible and our goal is to figure out what that looks like. Whether it's him on the perimeter, whether it's him in the post, whether it's him slashing and getting to the rim - whatever it is, we have to figure out a way to make sure he's one of our couple of highlighted players."

The UW-Marathon County Summer League runs every Tuesday night through July 24.

Nick Sabato may be reached at or via Twitter @NickSabatoLT.


Author: Nick Sabato   E-Mail: