BARAGA - There will be some new faces on the Baraga High School boys basketball team this season, including the coach.
Vikings football coach Doug Hodges takes over at the helm of the Vikings, replacing former Northern Michigan University standout Mariah Dunham, who went over to handle the sideline duties with the BHS girls team.
"I am new on the job," admitted Hodges, who last coached hoops as an assistant at Lake Linden-Hubbell High more than a decade ago. "But coaching is coaching .... it's a different mindset than you find in football. But I'm relying on (assistant coach) Scott Artley quite a bit because he has a lot of knowledge and experience."
2012-13 Baraga Vikings: (front from left) Kevin Maskill, Harley Lindemann, Jonah Goodreau, Chris Goodreau, Brandon Nieskes and Austin Smith; (back from left) Zack Smith, Bill Mayo, Gary Loonsfoot, Taylor Lindemann, Dillon Huckstaedt and coach Doug Hodges. (Paul Peterson photo)
Hodges does have a handful of returning veterans, including seniors Brandon Nieskes, Bill Mayo, Gary Loonsfoot and Chris Goodreau and junior Zack Owens.
One big loss to graduation was Josh Turunen, a player Hodges said "did all the little things you need."
"If we can find some players who are as versatile as Josh Turunen, we'll be alright," Hodges said.
Dec. 3 - At LL-Hubbell, 7:20 p.m.
Dec. 6 - Chassell, 7:20 p.m.
Dec. 10 - At Watersmeet, 7:20 p.m.
Dec. 18 - At L'Anse, 7:20 p.m.
Jan. 3 - Jeffers, 7:20 p.m.
Jan. 7 - At Hancock, 7:20 p.m.
Jan. 10 - Ontonagon, 7:20 p.m.
Jan. 14 - Calumet, 7:20 p.m.
Jan. 17 - LL-Hubbell, 7:20 p.m.
Jan. 22 - At Calumet, 7:20 p.m.
Jan. 25 - Rep.-Michigamme, 7:20 p.m.
Jan. 29 - L'Anse, 7:20 p.m.
Feb. 1 - At Dollar Bay, 7:20 p.m.
Feb. 5 - Hancock, 7:20 p.m.
Feb. 8 - At Ewen-TC, 7:20 p.m.
Feb. 12 - Dollar Bay, 7:20 p.m.
Feb. 19 - At Chassell, 7:20 p.m.
Feb. 22 - Watersmeet, 7:20 p.m.
Feb. 26 - At Jeffers, 7:20 p.m.
Feb. 28 - At Ontonagon, 7:20 p.m.
Chris Goodreau figures to be one of the keys for the Purple and Gold. The 5-foot-9 backcourt player is probably the best outside shooter on the squad and has good quickness.
"Chris has experience back there and we'll look to him for leadership," Hodges said.
Nieskes, Mayo and Loonsfoot all have good size (6-1 or better) and will counted on underneath the hoop.
"We have decent size and I'm hoping that will be an asset," the Baraga coach said. "And those kids have played quite a bit."
Junior forward Taylor Lindemann, who Hodges said worked hard in the offseason, is another player who will be counted on.
Newcomers Kevin Maskill, Harley Lindemann, Jonah Goodreau, Dillon Huckstaedt and Austin Smith are all vying for time.
"If you're going to bring up younger players, there's no reason not to use them," Hodges said. "We'll try to play up-tempo and use our roster as much as possible."
The Copper Country Conference figures to be well balanced, according to Hodges.
"From what I've heard, Lake Linden-Hubbell will be pretty good. And Ontonagon always puts out a good team. Chassell and Jeffers are basketball schools and will be tough," he said. "As for us, it's probably too early to make any predictions. But we're working hard."