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Tiger boys start rebuilding season: only one experienced player returns

Bryce Jergenson is the captain for the 2013-2014 Tiger boys’ basketball team.

The Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta  boys’ basketball team started practice Nov. 11. The Tigers are led by longtime head coach Mark Torgerson assisted by B-squad coach Joey Fragodt and freshman coach Noah Hamer, who have both been with the program over two years.

Coach Torgerson lost 12 seniors last season, and now only has one returning senior that had any amount of court time on varsity last year.

“It’s a really weird year because I really only have one senior that played last year and then two other seniors that came out that haven’t played for quite a few years,” Torgerson said.

Last year, Torgerson didn’t name captains because there were 12 very deserving seniors on the squad, so they just rotated every game, but this season Torgerson hopes some kids step into that leadership role.

“Bryce Jergenson is the only player that really stepped on the floor last year,” Torgerson said. “Everybody else is coming up from the B-squad, so that’s an unusual situation for my 27th year of coaching, that hasn’t happened very often.”

Jergenson was named captain of the 2013-2014 season for the boys’ basketball team.

“We’re a young team this year, but I think we’ll do well overall,” Jergenson said.

Having such a young group of kids can be looked at as somewhat of a challenge, but coach Torgerson sees the positive this season brings.

“It’s okay to once in awhile have a group like that because we’re junior oriented, so they’re going to get a chance to play for two, even a sophomore will get to play for three, years,” Torgerson said. “It’s an exciting challenge.

“Kind of like the football team [this year], where you have to kind of grow with every game,” Torgerson said. “I think it’s exciting to build up and [pretty much start over], and I don’t know of a dominant area team, so we hope to do well.”

With Jergenson being the only player having varsity-level experience this year, the Tigers have to make some big steps to prepare for varsity-level competition.

“It’s just a bit quicker than what most of the guys out here are used to, but once we get going in the season, we’ll see that and adjust to it I think,” Jergenson said.

“I think the big thing is [the kids] have to learn the transition to varsity,” Torgerson said. “It’s a quicker, faster-paced game. They’re going to have to fight for those top eight or nine spots because that’s generally how many kids [see the court regularly].”

Last year’s group was fairly even talent and skill-wise and coach Torgerson thinks this year’s group is fairly even as well.

“I think we have a real even group, but we have to have some guys separate and step up and see what happens,” Torgerson said.

“There’s a pretty good crew and the numbers are really good, too,” Torgerson added. “We have close to 40 kids out in ninth through twelfth grade and having that with this few seniors doesn’t happen very often.”

All and all Torgerson is very excited about the challenge this years’ squad has and he believes it should be a good building season.

The Tigers’ first game will be at home against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

Brooke Kern

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