Action on the hardwood will soon return to the Northwoods.

The Lakeland boys’ basketball season will tip off Tuesday at the LUHS fieldhouse for a 7:15 p.m. game against Ashland.

While the faces on the floor to start the game will not be new, fans will see them out there a whole lot longer.

Lakeland lost three starters to graduation.

Gone are Gunnar Weitz, Santana Barnard, and Connor Evenhouse, and filling their spots will be a cast of Thunderbirds that have seen the varsity floor, just not for extended periods of time.

Senior Mason Wolfe will be a key facilitator on the floor, and head coach Rich Fortier looks to send a lot of the offense through his hands for distribution.

“He’s going to be a linchpin for good stuff,” Fortier said. “If he’s good, we’re going to be good.”

Junior Michael Ouimette will also be in the mix after missing last year with a knee injury. Fortier is hoping Ouimette can use his football physique and frame of mind to establish a presence down low. 

“I think he’s going to be a tough match up in the low post for sure,” Fortier said.

Joining him on the post will be another T-Bird with a football pedigree, Ray Rentmeester.

Rentmeester will be looked at to do damage on the glass as well as score with the use of his gridiron grit.

“He’s a tough dude,” Fortier said.  “He’s got a good mind, works hard, plays physical, isn’t afraid to grind.”

Rentmeester did see quite a bit of action last year and so did Jonathan Jurries, who made teams pay when he was on the floor.

The senior sharp shooter, who returns as the Great Northern Conference’s highest returning scorer from last year, hit 58 total three pointers last season which was 41 percent of his attempts.  His overall field goal shooting was even more impressive at 65 percent.

So if Jurries puts it up, odds are it’s going in.

Other T-Birds who will see the floor to start the season are David Wolfe and Collin Quade. The two juniors saw spotty minutes last year and will see much more this year. Each of them chipped in two and half points a game.

Lakeland finished 17-7 last year and they begin their work this season against an Ashland team that had half that number in the win column.

The Oredockers finished 8-15 and were last in the Lake Superior conference, but they do bring a serious scoring threat in Jordan Brennan. The senior scored 17 points a game last year.

Helping him out will be fellow seniors Zach Coffland, Zach Lindenberg, and Joey Davidson who averaged seven, six, and four points per game respectively.

The T-Birds and Oredockers tip off at 7:15 p.m. in the LUHS fieldhouse Tuesday night.

Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.