Young Nevis boys basketball team looks to reach potential
Head coach Scott Kramer is counting on talent to offset a lack of experience and lead the Nevis boys basketball team to another successful season.
The Tigers graduated five seniors from a team that was rated as high as No. 4 in the state Class A poll while finishing second in the Northland Conference standings with an 11-3 record in compiling a 23-6 overall mark.
With only two letterwinners from that group returning, Kramer is counting on a talented group of underclassmen to help the Tigers make another run at contending for the conference and Section 5A titles.
Returning to lead the Tigers this season are senior Michael Landquist and junior Luke DeWulf. Landquist, a 6-4 guard who is still recovering from a car accident, was an all-conference player after averaging a team-leading 14.1 points and 5.9 rebounds a game last season. Landquist made 148 of 285 shots (including 17 of 65 3-pointers) and 96 of 144 free throw for 409 points. Landquist led the team with 170 rebounds, 133 assists and 83 steals while blocking 25 shots in 29 games as a starter.
DeWulf (a 6-0 guard) earned all-conference honorable mention honors after averaging 7.9 points in 29 games as a guard. DeWulf made 91 of 182 shots (including 23 of 69 3-pointers) and 24 of 42 free throws for 229 points. DeWulf also had 79 rebounds, 63 assists, 37 steals and 11 blocks.
"Michael and Luke are our only returning letterwinners with any real varsity experience," said Kramer, who will be assisted by Brian Dewitt and Mike Lien. "We will rely heavily on Luke as Michael is recovering from a car accident that he was involved in last spring. We are excited about his progress and how he can help the team as he continues his recovery."
Those two will take over the leadership roles vacated by the graduation of Jack Landquist, Tom Wormley, Caden Kramer, Zach Henry and Dylen Spain-Brist. Jack Landquist, Wormley and Kramer earned all-conference honors while Henry received all-conference honorable mention honors last season. Jack Landquist averaged 12.1 points and had 166 rebounds in 28 games, Wormley averaged 10.7 points and grabbed 122 rebounds im 27 games, Kramer averaged 8.9 points and had 82 rebounds in 27 games, Henry averaged 4.6 points and had 66 assists in 25 games and Spain-Brist averaged 4.0 points in 29 games.
Being counted on to fill the other starting spots are senior Ben Soldwisch (5-11 forward), sophomore Derek Lindow (5-11 point guard), and freshmen Eddie Kramer (5-10 guard) and Ty Warrington (5-9 guard). Lindow scored 11 points in nine games and Kramer scored 32 points in 14 games in limited time last season.
Providing depth will be juniors Logan Funk (5-11 guard), Ben Bloomquist (6-2 forward) and Darin Keezer (5-11 guard) and sophomore Jack McNamee (6-0 forward).
Cass Lake won the conference title with a 14-0 record while Walker-Hackensack-Akeley finished at 9-5, Pine River-Backus went 7-7 and Red Lake went 7-7. Cromwell-Wright defeated Nevis 55-50 in the Section 5A North title game. Hinckley-Finlayson defeated Cromwell-Wright in the section championship game. Cromwell-Wright enters the season rated No. 8 in the state Class A pre-season poll.
"This will be maybe the youngest team that we have had. Even though we will be so young, I think we are a pretty talented group with a lot of upside," said Kramer. "We knew last season that this day would come, so our core group was the starting JV team last season. There will be nights where we won't be able to match up physically, which will put a lot of pressure on us to rebound and play even better offensively to offset our lack of size defensively, but I think we should be able to compete with most of the teams on our schedule."
Dec. 6-7 - at Fosston tournament. Dec. 13 - at Bertha-Hewitt, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 - vs. Browerville, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 - vs. Menahga, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21 - at Pillager tournament.
Jan. 3 - at Northland, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 8 - vs. Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 - vs. Lakeview, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 - at Verndale, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18 - vs. Kelliher-Northome, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 - at Duluth East Invitational. Jan. 22 - at Red Lake, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24 - at Cass Lake, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29 - at Laporte, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31 - vs. Pine River-Backus, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 5 - at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 - at Blackduck, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12 - vs. Sebeka, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 - at Kelliher-Northome, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 - at Clearbrook-Gonvick, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21 - vs. Cass Lake, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 - at Cromwell, 7:30 p.m.
March 1 - vs. Red Lake, 7:30 p.m.