Nevis girls took steps to becoming a serious threat
A 9-10 overall record provided a solid foundation for the Tigers in preparing for next season.
The goal for the Nevis girls basketball team this season was to put a competitive team on the court and build toward becoming a serious contender to claim titles in the Northwoods Conference and Section 5A ranks next season.
That goal was accomplished as the Tigers finished with a 6-7 record in conference play while posting a 9-10 overall mark.
“Overall, I was very pleased with the season,” said Nevis head coach Paul Schroeder. “Our goal for this year was to compete and position ourselves to be a serious threat in every conference and section game next season.”
The Tigers opened the season by splitting conference games with a 65-47 loss to Cass Lake-Bena and an 81-4 win over Laporte. After a 60-46 loss to Sebeka and a 73-38 victory over Hill City/Northland, Nevis went 3-4 in the next seven conference games. The Tigers defeated Lake of the Woods (64-38), lost to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (53-44), defeated Blackduck (61-45), lost to Pine River-Backus (73-34), Clearbrook-Gonvick (79-68) and Northome/Kelliher (59-54), and defeated Blackduck (63-37).
After losses to Browerville/Eagle Valley (71-48) and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (61-56), the Tigers defeated Northome/Kelliher (57-49) and Aitkin (76-67) before closing out the regular season with a loss to Pine River-Backus (61-54) and victories over Mahnomen/Waubun (79-72 in overtime) and Red Lake (71-64 in the conference finale).
Despite going 1-6 against section opponents, Nevis received the No. 5 seed in the West for the Section 5A playoffs and opened with a 58-43 loss to No. 4 Walker-Hackensack-Akeley. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa defeated Swanville 94-35 in the Section 5A title game while Cass Lake-Bena won the Section 8A title to advance to state.
Cass Lake-Bena won the Northwoods Conference South title with a 12-2 record while Pine River-Backus went 7-3 and W-H-A finished at 5-5. Laporte finished at 1-9. In the North, Clearbrook-Gonvick led the pack at 8-3 while Red Lake (8-4), Northome/Kelliher (6-8), Lake of the Woods (4-6) and Blackduck (3-13) followed.
“We played some quality basketball, especially down the stretch against Northome/Kelliher, Aitkin, Pine River-Backus, Manohmen and Red Lake. We played very well in all five games and ended up winning four of those games. We were also ahead of Cass Lake at halftime earlier in the season and they ended up going to state this year,” said Schroeder, whose team averaged 58.9 points a game while allowing 55.5 points a night. “With all that said, we are not there yet, but we are a lot closer to becoming a contender in the conference and section. Even though our goals really had nothing to do with wins and losses attached to it this year, that stretch of games showed the potential of this team for the future.”
Leading the Tigers this season were juniors Ava Isaacson, Makenna Frazier and Maggie Carrier; sophomores Addison Lindow, Emily Funk and Liddy DeWulf; and freshmen Kayli Bessler, Mya Stacey and Marley Mitchell.
Isaacson led the team with 307 points, Frazier scored 209 points, Lindow finished with 186 points and Bessler scored 176 points. Funk (87), Stacey (62), DeWulf (41), Carrier (27) and Mitchell (18) also played key roles on offense this season.
With all those players returning, Schroeder is counting on the Tigers to continue to move up in the conference and section standings.
“Two years ago we averaged 35 points a game. Last year we averaged about 50 points a game. This year we averaged nearly 60 points a game. If we can bump that average up to 70-plus points a game next year like we did in our last five regular season games, success should follow,” said Schroeder. “We have quite a few girls coming back with a lot of experience and scoring. The positioning part of our goal will extend into the offseason. If the time and effort is put into becoming better shooters as a team in the offseason, I believe this group of girls will have the opportunity for success in every conference and section game. It should be a very fun and exciting season next year for the girls and our fans.”