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Tigers won't surprise opponents this season

A year ago, the Nevis boys basketball team surprised opponents by going 10-4 in the Northland Conference and 22-6 overall. The Tigers won't be surprising anyone this season. Head coach Scott Kramer returns his entire starting lineup from a team t...

A year ago, the Nevis boys basketball team surprised opponents by going 10-4 in the Northland Conference and 22-6 overall.

The Tigers won't be surprising anyone this season.

Head coach Scott Kramer returns his entire starting lineup from a team that earned the No. 2 seed in the North for the Section 5A tournament. The Tigers opened the playoffs with an 80-55 win over No. 7 Sebeka before being upset by No. 3 Verndale 46-40 in the second round. Browerville/Eagle Valley defeated Verndale in the section championship game.

Despite the early exit from the playoffs, the Tigers overachieved as three starters had to be replaced from the team that went 26-4 and qualified for the state Class A tournament for the first time in school history in 2015.

With every starter back, the Tigers should once again be a contender in the conference and section.

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Returning to lead the Tigers are senior Griffin Chase (6-foot-3 guard); juniors Jack Landquist (5-11 forward), Tom Wormley (6-5 forward) and Zach Henry (5-11 guard); and sophomore Michael Landquist (6-2 guard). Chase and Michael Landquist earned all-conference honors while Jack Landquist and Wormley were all-conference honorable mention players. That group helped Nevis average 61.3 points a night, surpassing 70 points nine times.

Chase led the Tigers in almost every category by compiling 558 points, 190 rebounds, 120 assists and 90 steals. In 28 games, Chase averaged 19.9 points a game with a high of 39 and 6.8 rebounds a game. Chase made 196 of 382 field goals (51.3 percent), including 47 of 126 3-pointers, and 119 of 155 free throws (76.8 percent).

Michael Lanquist was second in scoring at 14.0 points a game and was second with 86 assists. Landquist made 141 of 286 field goals (49.7 percent) and 66 of 89 free throws (74.2 percent) in scoring 393 points, including a high of 26. Landquist made 45 of 123 3-pointers and added 119 rebounds and 28 steals in 28 games.

Jack Landquist started all 28 games and averaged 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds a night. Landquist made 70 of 144 shots (48.6 percent) and 57 of 79 free throws (72.2 percent) in scoring 200 points. Landquist finished with 112 rebounds, 50 assists and 31 steals.

Wormley started all 28 games and averaged 5.5 points and 4.9 rebounds a game. Wormley shot 44.2 percent from the field (69 for 156) and 60.7 percent at the line (17 for 28) and had 155 points, 137 rebounds, 46 assists, 28 steals and a team-leading 58 blocked shots.

Henry rounded out the starting lineup and averaged 3.3 points and 2.1 rebounds a night. Henry made 34 of 94 shots (36.2 percent) and 19 of 27 free throws (70.4 percent) in scoring 92 points. Henry chipped in 59 rebounds, 54 assists and 43 steals.

In addition to all five starters returning, the Tigers return three key reserves in senior Andrew Dudley (6-0 guard) and sophomores Caden Kramer (6-4 forward) and Dylen Spain-Brist (6-1 guard).

Dudley played in 20 games and averaged 3.1 points and 1.5 rebounds a game. Dudley made 22 of 76 shots (28.9 percent) and 7 of 12 free throws (58.3 percent) in scoring 62 points while adding 29 rebounds, 10 steals and nine assists. Dudley made 11 of 50 3-pointers.

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Kramer played in 15 games and made 22 of 65 shots (33.8 percent) and 3 of 4 free throws in scoring 66 points. Kramer also had 20 rebounds, 11 assists and four steals. Kramer made 19 of 59 3-pointers.

Spain-Brist played in nine games and had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Providing depth for the Tigers will be junior Donny Peet (6-1 forward) and freshmen Daniel Mistic (5-9 forward), Logan Funk (5-6 guard) and Luke DeWulf (6-0 guard). That group will look to replace last year's senior duo of Grant Pappas (52 points, 14 assists, 13 rebounds in 24 games) and Gabe Veit.

The junior varsity features seniors Austin Yabandith, Hunter Kahlstorf and Logan Tinnes; sophomores Ben Soldwisch, Derek Dunham, Gabe Bryant, Keanu Yabandith and Tre Ross; and freshmen Ben Bloomquist, Cooper Henry, Darin Keezer and Shepherd Davis.

"We return basically everyone from last year's team, so the sky's the limit for us this season. After finishing last season at 22-6 with an extremely young team, we look to improve on that mark and to compete for a conference and section championship," said Kramer. "We ended last season with a disappointing loss to Verndale and that should provide the motivation to get back to work."

Nevis tied Pine River-Backus for third place in the conference standings behind Cass Lake (12-2) and Red Lake (11-3). Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (7-7), Northome-Kelliher (3-11), Blackduck (3-11) and Laporte (0-14) trailed. Red Lake was rated as high as No. 7, Cass Lake was rated as high as No. 8 and Nevis was rated as high as No. 10 in the state Class A poll during the season.

Kramer sees Red Lake as the favorite in the conference after qualifying for state last season while Nevis should be in the mix. Kramer expects the Tigers to join Verndale and McGregor as the top teams in the north half of the section. Browerville returns as the favorite in the south.

"The biggest keys to our season will obviously be staying healthy, but more specifically to get more scoring in the paint and to be more balanced on offense. Last season a lot of teams really worked at shutting down Griffin and Michael. With our post players being only sophomores, it limited us a bit. I think that will change this year as our post players are bigger and stronger, which will allow us to distribute the ball more and make us tougher to defend," said Kramer. "We are very hungry to improve on last year's mark, but more importantly, get back to the state tournament. Our goal is to have an opportunity to get there as well as try to win another conference title. If we stay healthy, we should have a chance to make it happen come March."

Related Topics: BOYS BASKETBALL
1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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