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Tigers finish at 17-9, met expectations

Taylor Chase (24) capped off his senior season by averaging 19.3 points per game for the Nevis boys basketball team.

     Scott Kramer expected the Nevis boys basketball team would put a competitive team on the floor.

     The Tigers were competitive all season, claiming runner-up honors in the Northland Conference with a 10-4 record and finishing with a 17-9 overall record

     “I think the season was very successful,” said Kramer. “I felt we were very competitive all season long and that our guys kept improving throughout the year.”

     The Tigers were consistent all season, opening the year with a conference win over Laporte (86-36), defeating Bertha-Hewitt (75-60) and Cass Lake (71-61 in another conference game), losing to Blackduck (61-58 in a conference battle), defeating Northland (71-36) and Pine River-Backus (74-56 in a conference game), and losing to Pillager (78-64).

     After dropping both games at the Park Rapids Holiday Tournament with losses to Heritage Christian Academy (85-52) and Frazee (67-60), the Tigers posted conference wins over Red Lake (82-78), Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (69-51) and PR-B (59-52).

     A conference loss to Northome/Kelliher (85-68) was followed with wins over Menahga (63-52) and Park Rapids (63-62). Another conference loss to Red Lake (86-85) was followed with conference victories over Laporte (77-54) and Cass Lake (83-67) and a conference loss to W-H-A (59-54).

     The Tigers closed the regular season with wins over Sebeka (73-65), Blackduck (69-62) and Northome/Kelliher (68-52), a loss to Pequot Lakes (74-56) and a win over Verndale (61-47).

     Nevis received the No. 4 seed in the West for the Section 5A playoffs and defeated No. 5 Swanville 81-61 before having the season end with a 72-57 loss to No. 1 Upsala, which went on to win the Section 5A title and qualify for state.

     W-H-A won the conference title with a 13-1 record and advanced to the state Class A tournament, ending the season with a 27-3 mark. Following Nevis’ 10-4 record in the conference were Northome/Kelliher at 9-5, Red Lake at 8-6, Blackduck and Cass Lake at 7-7, PR-B at 1-12 and Laporte at 0-13.

     For the season, the Tigers averaged 68.5 points a game while allowing 62.3 points a night. Nevis shot 47.4 percent from the field (638 for 1,346), 31.1 percent on 3-pointers (98 for 315) and 68.6 percent at the free throw line (406 for 592) while averaging 10.4 turnovers a night.

     Leading the Tigers this season were seniors Taylor Chase, Jake Keranen and Jordan Dudley; junior Jordan Feder; sophomores Gavin Becker and Courtland Chase; and eighth grader Griffin Chase.

     Taylor Chase was named the Northland Conference’s Most Valuable Player and joined Keranen as all-conference players. Becker and Dudley received all-conference honorable mention honors.

     Taylor Chase ended his varsity career with 1,704 points, ranking second behind Nolan Toft’s 2,367 points. In 26 games, Chase made 46.6 percent of his shots (165 for 354, including 42 for 132 on 3-pointers) and 79.3 percent of his free throws (130 for 164) in scoring 502 points with a high of 35. In addition to averaging 19.3 points a game, Chase also led the team with 139 assists and 48 steals and had 135 rebounds and 12 blocked shots as a starting guard.

     Becker was second on the team in scoring by averaging 15.7 points a night and shot 51.9 percent from the field (151 for 291) and 69 percent at the line (100 for 145) in scoring 409 points with a high of 27. Becker led the team with 17 blocks and was third on the team in rebounds with 144 while tallying 60 assists and 29 steals in 26 games as a starting forward.

     Keranen started all 26 at center and finished third in scoring at 11.5 points a game and led the Tigers in rebounding at 7.1 rebounds a night. Keranen shot 54 percent from the field (109 for 202) and 66.7 percent at the line (80 for 120) in scoring 299 points with a high of 17. Keranen led the team with 184 rebounds and had 36 assists, 24 steals and 16 blocks.

     Courtland Chase also started all 26 games at forward and averaged 7.7 points a game. Chase hit 82 of 170 shots (48.2 percent) and 36 of 70 free throws (51.4 percent) in scoring 201 points with a high of 15. Chase also had 162 rebounds, 44 assists and 33 steals.

     Griffin Chase played in all 26 games as a reserve guard and averaged 6.2 points a game in his varsity debut. Chase made 47.2 percent of his shots (58 for 123, including 28 of 68 3-pointers) and 75 percent of his free throws (18 for 24) in scoring 162 points with a high of 22. Chase also had 47 assists, 24 rebounds and 22 steals.

     Dudley was the Tigers’ starting point guard in 25 games and tallied 112 points, 61 rebounds, 48 assists and 40 steals. Dudley shot 29.3 percent from the field (36 for 123, including 16 for 55 on 3-pointers) in averaging 4.5 points a night with a high of 20.

     Feder was a reserve forward in 24 games, making 24 of 48 shots and 15 of 24 free throws in scoring 63 points. Feder also had 46 rebounds, 12 steals and 12 blocks.

     Also seeing some varsity time this season were juniors Brandon Spain-Brist and Michael Babler and sophomores Gavin Hitchcock and Brett Byer.

     “Our seniors have been a big part of the overall success of our program. Taylor and Jake have been starters for multiple seasons and have been a pleasure to coach. Jordan had a great senior season for us and really contributed to our success this year,” said Kramer. “We will be losing a lot of leadership and two of our leading scorers, but we do have five of our top eight guys returning for next season. Gavin had a great sophomore season for us and will be looked to for leadership next season. Courtland also started all season for us, so we will have some players returning that will make an immediate impact. Filling the holes with role players will be the big question for us and how deep our bench can be. I think if the guys want to put the time in this summer that we can be very competitive next year.”