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Nevis boys produce productive 14-13 season

Gavin Becker earned Northland Conference honors after leading the Tigers in scoring at 23.1 points a game.

     Tying for fourth place in the Northland Conference, advancing to the Section 5A North championship game and finishing with a winning record led to a ‘productive’ season for the Nevis boys basketball team.

     The Tigers went 6-8 in conference play, earned the No. 3 seed for the section playoffs and won two playoff games to cap off a 14-13 season.

     “As far as the season goes, I thought we really had a productive season,” said Nevis head coach Scott Kramer. “From a coaching standpoint, I thought we won all of the games that we should have, even though there were a few that I wish we could have finished better. I was very pleased with some of the progress we made this year.”

     The Tigers opened the season with a 6-2 record with wins over Pine River-Backus (57-55) and Northome-Kelliher (69-63), a loss to Blackduck (75-62), wins over Pillager (58-56) and Bertha-Hewitt (61-40), a loss to Frazee (66-63 in overtime) and a win over Warroad (79-46) at the Park Rapids Holiday Tournament, and another win over PR-B (51-43).

     After losses to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (56-53) and Cass Lake (67-51), the Tigers defeated Laporte (65-61) and Sebeka (61-53), lost to Park Rapids (70-35) and Northome-Kelliher (74-65), and defeated Laporte (49-37) and Northland Remer (74-64).

     A four-game losing streak followed as Nevis dropped games to Cass Lake (75-61), W-H-A (70-61), Red Lake (94-82) and Verndale (63-47). The Tigers ended the regular season with wins over Blackduck (70-45) and Menahga (70-57) and losses to Red Lake (90-51) and Pequot Lakes (54-42).

     W-H-A won the conference title with a 13-1 record and finished 23-5 overall. Red Lake was second at 12-2 (23-8 overall) and Cass Lake was third with an 11-3 record (20-6 overall). Nevis tied Blackduck for fourth place at 6-8 while Northome-Kelliher (5-9), Pine River-Backus (3-11) and Laporte (0-14) followed.

     Going 12-12 during the regular season, including an 8-2 record against section opponents, gave the Tigers the No. 3 seed for the section playoffs. Nevis opened section play with a 70-52 win over No. 6 Hill City and a 65-55 win over No. 7 Bertha-Hewitt before falling to No. 1 Browerville 81-54 in the north title game.

     “We played in a tough conference where the top three teams all won 20 games. Six of our losses came to those teams, even though we had a chance to win a couple of those games,” said Kramer. “We were able to attain the No. 3 seed in the north and get to the subsection title game.”

     For the season, the Tigers averaged 60.2 points a game while allowing 61.6 points a night. Nevis shot 45 percent from the field (585 for 1,300, including 125 for 409 on 3-pointers) and 62.1 percent at the free throw line (331 for 533).

     Leading the Tigers this season were seniors Jordan Feder, Brandon Spain-Brist and Michael Babler; juniors Gavin Becker, Courtland Chase, Austin Becker and Brett Byer; and freshman Griffin Chase.

     Gavin Becker earned all-conference honors after leading the Tigers in scoring at 23.1 points a game and breaking the school scoring record with 46 points in a game. Becker played in 26 games and shot 50.9 percent from the field (220 for 432, including 31 for 94 on 3-pointers) and 70.3 percent on free throws (130 for 185) in scoring 601 points. Becker also had 146 rebounds, a team-leading 86 assists and 36 steals while surpassing 1,000 career points.

     Griffin Chase also received all-conference honors after finishing second on the team in scoring at 12.8 points a game. Chase shot 48.5 percent from the field (97 for 200, including 53 for 120 on 3-pointers) and 78.3 percent at the line (47 for 60) while scoring 294 points with a high of 28. Chase also had 71 assists, 61 rebounds and 33 steals in 23 games.

     Courtland Chase earned all-conference honorable mention honors after averaging 8.8 points and a team-leading 6.8 rebounds a game. In 27 games, Chase scored 237 points (with a high of 21), grabbed 184 rebounds and had a team-leading 40 steals along with 38 assists. Chase shot 53.4 percent on field goals (101 for 189) and 46.7 percent on free throws (35 for 75).

     Feder was fourth in scoring at 7.3 points a game while shooting 54.5 percent from the floor (61 for 112) and 59.8 percent at the line (52 for 87). Feder scored 174 points with a high of 20 and had 103 rebounds, 23 steals and 14 assists in 24 games.

     Spain-Brist played in 15 games and averaged 4.1 points a game, scoring 111 points (with a high of 12) and tallying 56 rebounds, 22 steals and 17 assists.

     Byer played in 19 games and averaged 3.5 points a game. Byer compiled 67 points and 57 rebounds.

     Austin Becker averaged 2.9 points a game in 25 appearances and finished the season with 73 points, 69 rebounds, 40 assists and 17 steals. Becker had a season high of 11 points.

     Babler played in all 27 games and finished the season with 52 points, 42 rebounds, 27 assists and 12 steals. Babler had a season high of 11 points.

     Also seeing some varsity time this season were juniors Gavin Hitchcock, Spencer Stark and Victory Mastley and sophomore Clayton DeWulf.

     Even though the Tigers have three key players to replace, Kramer is looking for the Tigers to put another competitive unit on the floor next season.

     “We had a relatively young team, starting four underclassmen a lot of the time, and having three seniors contribute throughout the season,” said Kramer. “Our kids were a pleasure to coach and always came to practice with a positive attitude and a good work ethic. We have a good nucleus coming back for next season.”