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2012-13 Winter Preview: Depth will be a key to New Life boys basketball team's season

New Life Academy senior point guard Cam Duffy returns to the court to help lead the Eagles this season.

This whole basketball thing isn't new to Doug Linton.

Linton is entering his 14th season as the head coach for New Life Academy boys' basketball team.

The Eagles finished last season with a 16-12 record and hope to improve on that this season.

The Eagles lost a few key players who won't be all that easy to replace. The Eagles lost Alex Heiser, Dan Otto and Cody Linton to graduation last year. Heiser scored 1,000 points in his career.

Linton expects senior point guard Cam Duffy, senior forward Zach Prefer and junior guard John Horner to lead the team this season.

Other players expected to contribute are Luke Countryman, Kyle Linton, Alex Busch, Conrad Engstrom, Jake Wynia, Ty Frazier, Paul Deiss, Sam Nelson, Erik Holmquist and Derek Wu.

That might seem like a lot of players, but that's part of Linton's coaching philosophy.

"This team will have to play a full-court pressure style as they lose some keys players," Linton said. "Our depth will be our strength as we may have to play 12 or more guys a night to put pressure on other teams to play our style."

In conference play, New Life's main focus will be on Lester Prairie (Jan. 3/Feb. 1), Maranatha (Dec. 13) and Heritage Christian (Jan. 2).

In Section 4AA play, the Eagles will be targeting St. Paul Academy, St. Croix Lutheran, Minnehaha, Concordia, and the always tough, Breck.

Another game circled on the schedule will be Lakeview Christian on Jan. 12. Anders Broman is expected to break the record for all-time career points in Minnesota boys' basketball and plays for Lakeview Christian.

While their style of play might not be conventional, the Eagles will be a difficult team to play based on their up-tempo and full-court press style.

"We should be a fun team to watch who could be a tough team to beat come the end of the season," Linton said.