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Tigers show signs of a bright future

Team awards were presented to (from left) Brody Bahr - Defensive MVP, Lincoln Berget - Most Improved, Nic Vipond - Tiger Award, and Austin Dierks - MVP.

The Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta boys' basketball team finished the season 16-11 overall. The Tigers took second place in the West Central Conference South with a 9-3 record. The season ended in the second round of the Section 6AA tournament.

The Tigers faced some tough opponents this year, but started the season 10-3. Those three losses came to the 2012 Class A State Champion Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, always competitive New London-Spicer, and Class AAA Alexandria. After that point, the Tigers fell to .500, including losses to conference champion Montevideo twice, state runner-up Litchfield, and the top two teams in the West Central North, Melrose and Sauk Centre.

"We struggled scoring points," said coach Mark Torgerson. "But we still won 16 games."

Torgerson organized a match up with Litchfield at the Target Center on Jan. 28. Although the Tigers lost, it was a highlight for the coach and players as it gave all three teams a memorable opportunity to play on the Timberwolves' court.

Another bright spot on the season was the Tigers' game against Lac qui Parle Valley, in which all 15 players on varsity scored. It was a first in Torgerson's coaching career.

The Tigers also won the Benson tournament.

After last season's full roster of seniors, the Tigers went into the season without much varsity experience. Only seniors Brody Bahr and Riley Arndt saw significant playing time last season.

This season, Bahr started virtually every game to earn the team's defensive MVP award and Arndt was named all-conference.

Sam Mattson and Daniel Nelson were the other two seniors on the squad.

Torgerson calls them his "unsung heroes." Although they did not get much playing time, they helped the team tremendously and continued to work hard throughout the season.

Chandler Erickson received an Honorable Mention from the West Central Conference South, while Riley Arndt, Austin Dierks, and Logan Manska were named all-conference. Dierks received Performer of the Week accolades from the conference, as well. Manska and Arndt were also named to the Section 6AA All-Tournament team.

Next season will be a different story when this year's juniors return with varsity experience.

"The future is really pretty bright," said Torgerson. "I'm really happy with Coach (Jerry) Witt's progress with the B squad."