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Tigers close regular season with losses to state-ranked teams

The Nevis boys basketball team ended the regular season by defeating two Section 5A rivals and losing two tough games to state-ranked teams.

Nevis had a shot to share the Northland Conference title on Feb. 26, but Cass Lake used a 15-0 run in the second half to spark an 84-75 victory at the Tiger Arena. That loss dropped Nevis to 11-3 in the conference while Cass Lake, which is rated No. 6 in the latest state Class A poll, improved to 12-1. Red Lake ended conference play with a 12-2 record.

Nolan Toft had 30 points, five rebounds and two steals while Dylan Stenberg had 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Tigers. Shawn Anglin led Nevis with 16 rebounds while adding 10 points.

"It was a well played game by both teams, but in the end we just made a few more mistakes," said Nevis head coach Scott Kramer, whose team trailed 39-37 at the half. "I thought the kids fought extremely hard and it was a very competitive game. I am proud of our guys for getting into a conference championship game. The game had a tournament feel to it and that will help us when we get into tournament play."

The Tigers responded by winning back-to-back road games against section opponents with a 63-51 win at Browerville last Monday night and a 77-41 victory at Verndale last Tuesday night.

Anglin (17), Toft (16) and Mitch Rehkamp (11) led a balanced scoring attack in the win at Browerville. Stenberg chipped in 10 assists, six rebounds and two steals while Anglin had seven rebounds. Toft grabbed four rebounds, Hunter Schroeder had three assists and Taylor Chase had three steals in that win.

"We got off to a very slow start in a gym we have never played in," said Kramer, whose team trailed 17-8 before ending the first half with a 29-5 run for a 37-23 lead. "I thought we settled down and stretched the lead in the second half."

The Tigers took control against Verndale from the start en route to another easy win.

Stenberg led the way with 23 points, 10 assists, seven steals and five rebounds while Toft had 21 points and four steals. Anglin also hit double figures with 13 points while leading the team with eight rebounds. Logan Gooch chipped in six rebounds while Chase (6), Rehkamp (5), Schroeder (4), Bryon Schuldt (3) and Gooch (2) rounded out the scoring.

"This one was decided early," said Kramer. "We opened up a huge lead and coasted the rest of the way. It was a big win for us as it got us to the 20-win mark for the first time since 2001-02."

Nevis ended the regular season with a 56-44 loss to Bertha-Hewitt Friday night at the Tiger Arena.

Toft (11), Stenberg (9) and Rehkamp (9) combined for 29 points to lead the Tigers, who trailed 30-15 at the half. Anglin had five rebounds, Toft and Chase had four rebounds each, Rehkamp had three assists, Stenberg had two assists, and Chase had two steals to lead Nevis.

"I was a little disappointed with the way that we played. We didn't have the sense of urgency that you need to play a team as good as Bertha-Hewitt," said Kramer, whose team ended the regular season with a 20-6 record. "They really controlled the game from the outset by making us work hard for good shots as well as being very deliberate on offense and working the ball around until our defense broke down. The few positives we take away are that we should be well aware of the make-up of their team as well as the things we need to improve on for what could be a rematch on Saturday."

B-H, which is rated No. 9 in the state, improved to 21-3.

The Tigers open the section playoffs by hosting Menahga Thursday night at 7. The winner of that game will most likely play Bertha-Hewitt Saturday night at 7:30 at Wadena.