Getting back on track

Baraga boys bring in new coach, attitude

Baraga’s Gunnar Lindemann, left, attempts to defend a layup by Chassell’s Abe Gockenbach during a Class D district tournament game played at Vikings’ gym on March 6. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo by Bryce Derouin)

By PAUL PETERSON

Special to the Journal

BARAGA — New Baraga High School boys basketball coach Chris Loonsfoot is looking to reverse the fortunes of the Vikings this season.

Loonsfoot replaces Daryl Putala in the coaching box.

“It was a very long year and I’m hoping to get things back on track,” Loonsfoot noted about last year’s 0-20 record. “Last season, we didn’t have any experience and we were short on numbers. I don’t believe that will be the case this season.”

For one thing, there’s help coming in the form of a senior who didn’t play a year ago, and a transfer student from L’Anse.

Senior Cooper Koskinen, who stands 6-foot-4, has been penciled in as a starter at center.

“Cooper is a good athlete and he will be our fixture at center,” the BHS coach said.

Brett Waranka, a 6-foot senior, will be eligible to play at midseason. He saw time last season in L’Anse.

“Brett Waranka should help us,” Loonsfoot said. “His experience will be a help.”

Returning lettermen Joey Francois, Gunnar Lindemann and Colton Lindemann were starters last season and will be counted on.

“They’re all pretty steady players who work hard and who have the benefit of having played last year,” Loonsfoot said.

William Jondreau, a junior, is another player being counted on along with seniors Devan Funke and Dominic Ripley.

The Vikings will also look to a pair of newcomers in freshman Presley Rasanen and sophomore Zack Sackett.

“They’re both athletic players and they’re going to benefit by getting playing time early in the season,” Loonsfoot said. “They can play.”

The Vikings will play an up-tempo style of ball.

“We’re pretty quick … and we’ll try to outrun the other teams. But we’ll spread it out and focus on getting good shots.”

The new Baraga coach sees a powerful Dollar Bay squad as the clearcut favorite in the Copper Mountain Conference.

“Dollar Bay has a great basketball team,” he said. “They have everyone back and could be one of the best teams in the state.”

He also sees Chassell, Ontonagon, Lake Linden-Hubbell and Jeffers as being “in the mix along with us.”

Loonsfoot, a 2001 Baraga graduate, is hoping to make the game fun for his squad.

“I think we’re going to surprise some teams. We have a good attitude and there’s a good feeling among the team,” he said. “We’re not the same Baraga team.”

BHS will open the season on Monday, Dec. 4, at home versus Lake Linden-Hubbell.