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After paying dues, Nevis counting on veteran team to take next step

Nolan Toft (33) returns to lead a veteran Nevis boys basketball team. (Vance Carlson / Enterprise)

Last season, the Nevis boys basketball team took a major stride forward by finishing the season with a 14-12 record.

This year, head coach Scott Kramer is looking for the Tigers to take another major step forward and become a contender for the Northwoods Conference title and be one of the top teams in the Section 5A ranks.

Nevis returns a veteran team, led by starters Nolan Toft (6-foot-1 senior), Mitch Rehkamp (6-1 senior), Hunter Schroeder (5-9 senior) and Dylan Stenberg (6-0 sophomore).

Other key players returning from last year's varsity are Logan Gooch (6-4 junior) and Taylor Chase (6-0 freshman). Shawn Anglin (6-3 freshman), who moved to Nevis from Costa Rica, is also expected to play a key role this season.

Rounding out the varsity lineup are seniors Zach Johnson and Jesse McLaren; sophomores Bryon Schuldt and Matt Gustafson; freshmen Jake Keranen, Robbie Hine, Gerald Beckerleg and Jordan Dudley; and eighth grader Ben Kluver.

Toft enters his senior season with more than 1,800 career points. Toft averaged 23.3 points and 7.9 rebounds a game last season.

Stenberg was second on the team in scoring at 11.3 points a night and led the team with 113 assists and 66 steals.

Schroeder averaged 7.8 points a night while Reh-kamp averaged 6.9 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.

Looking to fill in for last year's other starter - Jacques Lien (5.4 points, 86 assists) - will be Gooch (74 points, 96 rebounds last season), Chase (38 points, 22 rebounds last season) and Anglin.

That veteran cast will be looking to dethrone Cass Lake for the Northwoods Conference title and battle defending champion Sebeka, Bertha-Hewitt and Upsala for the top spot in the section.

"With four returning starters and a very productive summer, the sky is the limit for us this season," said Kramer, who will be assisted by Andy Lindow. "We have definitely paid our dues and are ready to take the next step. We have experience coming back at every position, we have some size under the basket and we have more depth than we've had in a number of years. We should have the ability to score from all over the floor and we should also be able to play a variety of lineups for speed or size. I think our ability to defend in the post better in recent years will really make a huge difference in how successful we can be this season."