Tigers enjoyed amazing season

Scott Kramer couldn't have asked for a better season from the Nevis boys basketball team. The combination of returning veterans and three key varsity newcomers led the Tigers to their most successful season in school history. Seniors Gavin Becker...

     Scott Kramer couldn’t have asked for a better season from the Nevis boys basketball team.

     The combination of returning veterans and three key varsity newcomers led the Tigers to their most successful season in school history.

     Seniors Gavin Becker, Courtland Chase and Brett Byer and sophomore Griffin Chase were counted on to lead the Tigers as the returning veterans while senior Kevin Hale (a transfer from Nashwauk-Keewatin) and eighth grader Michael Landquist joined the starting lineup. Freshman Zach Henry also played key minutes all season.

     That group led the Tigers to a share of the Northland Conferenced title with a 12-2 record, a 26-4 overall record to set a school record for wins in a season and the Section 5A title for the team’s first trip to the state Class A tournament.

     “This season was just absolutely amazing,” said Kramer, who surpassed 300 career wins, shared the Northland Conference Coach of the Year honor and was named the Section 5A Coach of the Year. “We knew that we had a pretty good bunch of letterwinners returning and then we added Kevin during the summer to really give us some size around the basket. Michael played better than anyone could have expected as an 8th grader and our freshman class provided the depth we needed to make this season one for the history books.”


     The Tigers opened the season by winning their first eight games by defeating Fond du Lac (70-60), Sebeka (61-47), Northome-Kelliher (81-48), Blackduck (75-41), Northland (70-31), Staples-Motley (75-66), Menahga (59-44) and Bertha-Hewitt (63-47).

     After an 82-49 loss to Red Lake, Nevis put together a nine-game winning streak with victories over Pine River-Backus (57-43), Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (65-41), Cass Lake (56-55), Laporte (69-46), Park Rapids (77-72), Northome-Kelliher (62-48), Red Lake (65-54), Cass Lake (74-56) and Laporte (66-37).

     Pine River-Backus ended that streak with a 52-48 victory before the Tigers ended the regular season with wins over W-H-A (68-57), Northland (79-48 at Target Center), Verndale (54-42), Blackduck (77-62) and Pequot Lakes (67-43) and a loss to Crosby-Ironton (58-56).

     Nevis tied Red Lake at 12-2 to share the conference title while Cass Lake (9-5), PR-B (8-6), W-H-A (7-7), N-K (5-9), Blackduck (3-11) and Laporte (0-14) followed.

     Going 22-3 during the regular season gave the Tigers the No. 1 seed in the north for the section tournament. Nevis defeated No. 8 Verndale 54-51, No. 5 PR-B 57-53 and No. 2 Browerville 69-52 in the north bracket before defeating Upsala, the No. 3 seed in the south, 60-50 in the section title game.

     Nevis received the No. 5 seed for the state Class A tournament and made their state debut with a 56-47 loss to No. 4 Central Minnesota Christian, which entered state rated No. 7 in the state Class A poll.

     “We set the record for most wins in the boys history by winning 26 games, we won the Northland Conference for the second time in school history and made it back to the subsection title game to avenge last year’s loss to Browerville,” said Kramer, whose team was also named the Section 5A Academic Champions. “We then made history by beating Upsala to qualify for our first state tournament. We were rated as high as No. 6 in the state and were ranked No. 5 in the state tournament field.”

     For the season, the Tigers averaged 64.4 points a game while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 67.8 percent at the free throw line.


     Leading the Tigers were the four all-conference players: Becker, Hale, Courtland Chase and Griffin Chase.

     Becker was named the conference’s Most Valuable Player and the team’s MVP after averaging 17.3 points and 6.0 rebounds a game. In 30 games, Becker made 180 of 332 shots, including 35 for 81 on 3-pointers, and 125 of 173 free throws in scoring 520 points. Becker led the team with 181 rebounds and 34 blocked shots and also had 107 assists and 61 steals. Becker holds the school record with 46 points in a game and graduates with 1,659 career points. Becker was also an all-state academic player.

     Griffin Chase led the Tigers in scoring at 18.4 points a game with a high of 31 and in assists with 108 and steals with 96. Chase hit 183 of 371 shots, including 46 of 138 3-pointers, and 141 of 175 free throws in scoring 553 points to surpass 1,000 in his career. Chase also had 105 rebounds and 16 blocks in 30 games.

     Courtland Chase was third in scoring at 8.4 points a game and was second in rebounding with 5.8 per game. In 30 games, Chase made 106 of 198 shots and 40 of 76 free throws in scoring 252 points. Chase also had 173 rebounds, 69 assists, 51 steals and 20 blocks with a high of 20 points.

     Hale averaged 7.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 30 games. Hale hit 94 of 158 shots and 32 of 70 free throws in scoring 220 points with a high of 14. Hale also had 153 rebounds, 28 blocks, 15 steals and 13 assists.

     Landquist also started all 30 games and averaged 6.9 points a game, hitting 71 of 168 shots (including 30 for 94 on 3-pointers) and 35 of 44 free throws for 207 points with a high of 26. Landquist also had 90 rebounds, 80 assists, 43 steals and 10 blocks.

     Byer played in 30 games off the bench, making 32 of 77 shots and 16 of 27 free throws for 86 points with a high of 10. Byer also had 67 rebounds, 24 assists and 21 steals.

     Henry saw action in 22 games, making 11 of 40 shots and 12 of 25 free throws for 34 points. Henry also had 43 rebounds, 21 steals and 20 assists.


     Also playing key roles off the bench were freshmen Jack Landquist (22 points, 16 rebounds in 12 games) and Tom Wormley (22 points, 15 rebounds in 12 games). Rounding out the varsity were juniors Grant Pappas (six games) and Clayton DeWulf (five games) and sophomore Andrew Dudley (four games).

     “The seniors will be greatly missed as Gavin and Courtland have been starters for the past few years. Brett was our sixth man and provided a lot of depth and experience for us. Kevin will also be missed as our man in the middle,” said Kramer. “It is difficult to say that we will be as talented next year, but I do know that we will be just as hungry. We have a young, talented group coming back, led by Griffin and Michael as returning starters. We have a number of guys playing spring ball and if we put in the time in the off-season, we hope to make another run come next March.”

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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