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Chase, Keranen being counted on to lead Nevis boys

Losing six close games resulted in a 12-15 overall record for the Nevis boys basketball team last season.

Scott Kramer is counting on the Tigers to finish strong and win those close games this season.

Returning from last year's team that tied for fourth place in the Northland Conference standings with a 4-8 record and received the No. 6 seed in the Section 5A West playoffs are seniors Taylor Chase and Jake Keranen; junior Jordan Feder; and sophomores Gavin Becker and Courtland Chase.

Taylor Chase averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 rebounds a game, leading the Tigers in points (547), rebounds (171), assists (81) and steals (69) last season. Chase, who scored 42 points in a game, started all 27 games and made 178 of 371 shots (including 49 of 135 3-pointers) and 142 of 191 free throws. Chase enters the season in the No. 5 spot in school history in scoring with 1,202 points.

Keranen returns in the post after averaging 11.9 points and 6.0 rebounds a night. Keranen made 133 of 263 shots and 55 of 99 free throws in scoring 322 points with a high of 20. Keranen also tallied 162 rebounds, 48 assists and 23 steals.

Feder played in 18 games and tallied 23 points and 23 rebounds.

Becker played in 24 games and hit 45 of 108 shots and 26 of 41 free throws for 125 points (5.2 per game). Becker, who had a high of 20 points, also had 61 rebounds, 28 steals and 26 assists.

Courtland Chase played in 15 games and had 26 points and 21 rebounds.

Looking to fill in for last year's senior duo of Matt Gustafson (158 points, 82 rebounds, 62 assists and 56 steals in 27 games) and Bryon Schuldt (98 points, 89 rebounds, 31 assists and 25 steals in 24 games) will be senior Jordan Dudley; juniors Brandon Spain-Brist and Michael Babler; sophomore Bret Byer; and eighth grader Griffin Chase.

"Taylor and Jake will be relied heavily for leadership and production this year," said Kramer. "Last year we went 12-15 overall, which was a disappointment for us. Even though we lost 15 games, we were in almost all of them and lost a handful of games that were decided in the last minute. We hope to rebound from those tough losses and do a better job of finishing games this year."

The Tigers ended last season by losing to Eagle Valley 71-59 in overtime in the subsection quarterfinals. Kramer is looking for the Tigers to move up in the conference standings and advance further in the playoffs.

"We have high expectations this year," said Kramer. "We have a veteran lineup and I think that we can again compete for the conference title and get further into the sections."