HANNAHVILLE - Team chemistry will be a little different than planned for the Hannahville boys this basketball season.
The Soaring Eagles, who were crowned Northern Lights League tournament and regular-season champs a year ago, lost three from a squad which finished 14-3.
Alec Wandahsega has graduated. Also gone are senior Nick Arteaga and junior Troy Teeple, who transferred to Carney-Nadeau and Bark River-Harris, repsectively, through school of choice.
"We still have a good, young core and three seniors coming back," said coach Seth Miller. "We have a mixed bag of young and experienced and not so experienced players on this team."
The Soaring Eagles open this weekend by hosting Beaver Island Friday at 7:45 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m.
"Those will be interesting games," said Miller. "I don't know who they lost through graduation, but they're always well coached."
Nov. 30 - Beaver Island
Dec. 1 - Beaver Island
Dec. 7-8 - at Mackinac Island
Dec. 13 - Big Bay de Noc
Dec. 14-15 - Paradise
Jan. 4 - Grand Marais
Jan. 11-12 - at Kinross Maplewood Baptist
Jan. 18-19 - at Beaver Island
Jan. 25-26 - at Paradise
Feb. 8-9 - Mackinac Island
Feb. 12 - at Grand Marais
Feb. 15 - at Republic-Michigamme
Feb. 22-23 - Northern Lights League tournament at Rudyard
Returning seniors are Seth Williams, who stands 5-foot-10, Marty Thorbahn at 5-9 and Steve Keezer (5-5 guard), who didn't play last season.
"When Marty wants to take that first step, he's really quick," said Miller. "We have some shooters. We have seven who can fill it up when needed. We also have real nice numbers with 14. It's sometimes hard getting the experienced and inexperienced players the same kind of practices, yet it also opens the door for trying different kinds of drills."
Additional returners include sophomores Sam O'Brien (6-2) and Myron McCullough and Tallen Boda (5-9) and freshman Cody Meshigaud (5-4 guard).
"Sam could be strong on the boards and a leader inside," said Miller. "Myron played in the Carney Summer League and raised the level of his game, and Tallen is very athletic and a good defensive player."
Leading the list of newcomers are 5-11 sophomores Justin Larson and Tristian Thorbahn and 5-3 freshman guard Trace Sagataw.
"Justin is very athletic, but needs to develop confidence in his game," said Miller. "On our team you have to play every position, especially on defense. For example, Grand Marais may run a five-guard offense, which means you have to be prepared for anything. I've learned to stop underestimating people based on what happened the year before. We just have to assume every team is coming in ready to play. Every game will be a battle."
Miller says the Soaring Eagles will continue to play an uptempo game on offense and man-to-man defense.
"We like to play at a fast pace as much as possible," he added. "I think that's something we thrive on. It provides more shots and action. It's much easier to attack a defense on a fast break than when you allow it to set up.
"It's hard to tell what our strengths are because we haven't played a game yet. Although, we have a lot of returners who are willing to help the new guys. One thing is we have to work on our team defense, especially our help defense. Many of the guys have quite grasped the idea of making that transition."