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Tigers return talented crew

The return of four starters has Bill Dent expecting another successful season from the Nevis girls basketball team.

Seniors Riley Hanson (center) and Mattie Hjelseth (guard) and junior guards Megan Norby and Jordan Walters return to the starting lineup to lead the Tigers this season. Also back from last year's team that finished with an 18-10 overall record are seniors Cambria Ahrendt (center), Karly Drury (forward) and Kate Dierkhising (guard).

Looking to provide depth on the varsity are juniors Angel Wolf (guard) and Diana Schuldt (forward); sophomores Denia Brown (forward), Ruby Vedbraaten (guard) and Sam Wormley (forward); and freshmen Hannah Bliss (forward) and Jordan Lucas (guard).

Norby led the Tigers in scoring last season by averaging 18.1 points a game. Norby made 200 of 426 shots and 106 of 158 free throws in scoring 507 points in 28 games. Norby also had 167 rebounds, 84 assists and 72 steals.

Hanson was second on the team in scoring at 11.3 points a night and led the team with 10.3 rebounds a game. Hanson made 132 of 259 shots and 40 of 78 free throws while scoring 304 points. Hanson had 277 rebounds, 73 assists, 70 steals and 35 blocked shots in 27 games.

Hjelseth was fourth in scoring at 7.6 points a game. In 28 starts, Hjelseth made 93 of 240 shots and 28 of 53 free throws for 214 points. Hjelseth also had 184 rebounds, 42 steals and 41 assists.

Walters returns after averaging 4.8 points a game. In 28 starts, Walters hit 51 of 174 shots (including 17 3-pointers) and 14 of 44 free throws for 133 points. Walters also had 79 assists, 49 steals and 46 rebounds.

Dierkhising led the Tigers with 25 3-pointers and ended the season by hitting 48 of 144 shots and 14 of 18 free throws for 135 points (4.8 per game). In 28 games, Dierkhising had 54 rebounds, 37 assists and 32 steals.

Drury played in 26 games and made 29 of 91 shots and 10 of 22 free throws for 69 points. Drury also had 76 rebounds, 33 assists and 13 steals.

The key loss for the Tigers is the graduation of Bettsy Hjelseth, who tallied 235 points, 280 rebounds, 83 assists, 68 steals and 34 blocks in 28 starts last season.

"We are experienced, talented and very athletic," said Dent. "We lack some outside shooting and must get tougher physically to battle the good teams. I think we will be a deeper team and be able to use our bench much more effectively this season. We will run the fastbreak at every opportunity trying to utilize our size and athleticism."

Last season, the Tigers went 9-5 to finish third in the Northwoods Conference and received the No. 3 seed in the Section 5A West playoffs. Sebeka eliminated Nevis in the second round of the playoffs. Dent is counting on the Tigers to move up in the conference standings and become a contender in the section this winter.

"We are expecting a very good year," said Dent. "Our goals are to win the conference and contend for the subsection title and then the section title. We believe that this can be the year for the Tigers to move up and play for championships. It should be a good year."