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Tiger Eric Wolff blocks a shot from Barry Negen with Don Wicks (Akeley) and Rod Romer (Nevis) looking on. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)
Tiger Eric Wolff blocks a shot from Barry Negen with Don Wicks (Akeley) and Rod Romer (Nevis) looking on. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Akeley, Nevis alumni basketball game stirs memories for rivals

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Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Nevis and Akeley alumni stepped back in time Friday night, Tiger and Angler fans reunited to rally the old time rivals in a basketball game that ended in a 44-44 tie.

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"I couldn't have scripted it better," referee Bill Toft said of the balding ballplayers battling on the court.

And he was amazed at the turnout, about 400 people arriving for the event. They included an Akeley fan in a '55 letter jacket and cheerleaders sporting sweaters from another era.

Nevis players ran out to the band performing their school song, but Akeleyites had to wing it with an unfamiliar tune. "No one could remember the school song," Toft said.

"We tweaked the rules," he said of disallowing fast rebounds and running. "But it got competitive. The crowd and the guys got on me a few times."

Akeley headed out on the floor to take the lead, with 23-16 showing on the scoreboard at the end of the first period. But Nevis closed in in the final two minutes of the game, forging ahead.

Nels Kramer sent one through the hoop, spurring the former Basketeers/Anglers to take control again. The score was tied when the final buzzer rang.

Fans were cheering politely, initially. But by game's end, jubilant roars of bygone days were echoing in the stadium. And some memories were stirred.

"This was where we came for our first date," Pauline Wambolt said of her husband of several decades, Bob.

Warren Kramer, Akeley class of '67, recalled facing the Nevis team of Bob Lindow, John Smith, Gary Wolff, the late Gene Cirks and other notable Tigers.

Akeley's team numbers were a bit thin, coach/event coordinator Nels Kramer said. Previous engagements - and perhaps a fear of the court battle - conflicted, he said.

He was pleased to add Nevis grads Justin Isaacson ('95, donning a wig for the occasion) and Mike Boettcher ('90, who'd spent most of his school years in Akeley) to his roster. But Nevis had a younger team and more players.

Kramer is planning an encore for next year - with teams to be divided by age - under 35 and over. He's hoping to recruit students who headed to Walker when the districts consolidated.

Fans cheered as Scott Kramer ('90) sent the ball through the hoop to gain 21 points for the Akeley Anglers, with Dad Nels ('65) earning 8 and Don Wicks ('80) claiming 7. Kevin Chase ('84) and Barry Negen ('86) each contributed 4.

Tiger Brent Lindow ('90) posted 10 points, with Jeremy Anderson ('97) and Andy Lindow ('94) each adding 8. Salum Rajabu ('03) contributed 7 points, Bob Lindow ('68) and classmate John Smith, 3 apiece, Jesse Munson ('03) and David Dudley ('90), 2 each, and Eric Wolff ('91), 1.

The Tiger roster also included alums Matt Lindow ('00), Rod Romer ('60), Luke Potter ('07), Danny Campbell ('06), Chad Stanwick ('90), Jordan Anderson ('93), Matt Lindow ('92) and David Lewis ('92).

Craig Stanwick coached the Tigers.

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