Article by Ian Grande
Stanley – Ryan Nesheim, Logan Aadnes, and Riley Iverson are going to be playing their final high school basketball games on Saturday. All three are excellent student-athletes as well as high character individuals. The trio will finish their careers as only the second group of Stanley seniors to play in the North Dakota Class B Tournament.
Stanley head coach Kory Anderson had nothing but positive things to say about his three senior that have distinctly different roles on the team. “Ryan Nesheim is expected to defend another team’s top player”, said Anderson. “He’s expected to do this because of his work ethic. Ryan works extremely hard and is willing to do what it takes to help the team win.”
Aadnes is the teams primary ball handler and has dished out a chunk of highlight reel caliber assists this season. “Logan Aadnes handles the ball the most and is expected to establish our style of play during every game,” said Anderson. “We want to play fast and it’s up to him to pass the ball up the court quickly to our other players running the court.”
Iverson has been a high energy player for the Blue Jays throughout his career. “Riley Iveson is and has been our motivator, said Anderson. “Riley keeps us grounded and reminds us not just about our goals but what each player is expected to do in order for us to achieve our goals.”
“I’m extremely grateful for each one of the seniors,” said Anderson. “They all have made great sacrifices in order to better the team. Nesheim, is asked to do dirty work and improve his outside shot, he has done that. Logan is asked to establish our style of play and be unselfish so the rest of the team will follow, he has done that. Riley has put aside playing time and knows how he can help prepare and motivate this team to reach it’s full potential.”
Anderson is quick to point out a fourth senior member of the basketball team. “Along with those three great seniors we also have a fourth senior that we are very grateful for and that’s Bayley Rolfe,” said Anderson. “Bayley has been a great stat for us. She is just as excited for the success of the boys as anyone else. She also does a great job setting an example for future stats.”
“Without the individual sacrifices and roles of these 4 seniors, we could not have achieved this level of success,” said Anderson.
The Stanley Gazette was able track down Iverson, Nesheim, and Aadnes and get their thoughts on all things Blue Jay Basketball.
Stanley Gazette: Walk me through the emotional roller-coaster of the last week? Where are you at now?
Iverson: I think the biggest thing is a sigh of relief. Just to have the monkey off our back. With that, I’ve moved on and am ready to go on Thursday. We all are.
Nesheim: It is a huge relief. We have been working so hard to change that banner and we have finally done it.
Aadnes: We won a big game that this town hasn’t done in 79 long years. Being excited is an understatement, but looking at the challenge we have now ahead of us, makes us want to get back to work now that we earned these next few practices.
SG: The season got off to a little bit of a rocky start but the team came together and put together a run to finish the season, what was the key to that turnaround?
Iverson: We just kept our head down and kept working. We spent more time together as a team and that helped our confidence and got us back to focusing on the rest of the season.
Aadnes: This season we had a lot of key wins, but also took some hard losses. We couldn’t seem to put it all together during the big games early in the season, but we got it figured out and came out firing at tournament time. We knew that we needed to play our best defense to win those big games at the end of the year.
SG: It has been a long ride for you three seniors, how rewarding is it for you guys to make it to the state tournament your senior year? What was that process like and is it all work or have you guys been able to enjoy the moment?
Iverson: You definitely have to soak it in. I have never played basketball this late in the season and I love it. Everything you do prior in the season is to get to this point. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys to do it with.
Nesheim: Doing this our senior years is a huge accomplishment. We have had a few tough seasons in the past and we haven’t been able to get it done but now we have finally clicked and became a unit. It is awesome.
To soak in this experience, we have to acknowledge that we are a team that made history and have fun with the guys. We also have to enjoy the compliments but not get to carried away with it, because we still have a job to do.
Aadnes: The feeling hasn’t quite hit me and most of us yet. To think we are actually going to state is something we have all dreamed of and been our goal for the last two years now. Coming up short last year was kind of an eye opener for us and realized it wasn’t going to be easy. This year we took that challenge and achieved it.
Every year that I played high school basketball I would hear “we can do something special this year”. Being able to come together with this group and finally earn our way into the state tournament has been extra special for us three seniors. Winning the region tournament was awesome but we have much bigger goals in mind, we aren’t done yet.
SG: You guys are coming off of your best game of the season, now you get an opportunity to play the top team in the state? How do you prepare for a team like Four Winds-Minnewauken?
Iverson: We just have to play. The best way to keep momentum going is to do what we have always done in practice, which is work hard. We want to play Four Winds. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. We’re focused and ready for the challenge. Playing good teams is what you want to do. It means you’re in a good spot.
Nesheim: For us to prepare for a team that we haven’t played against we will all need to watch film and dissect it. This will help us figure out what each and every one of the opponent’s players does. Practice wise we will need to stick to the same schedule and get better every day.
The Blue Jays tip off tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. at the Minot State Dome. Here is a full preview of the tournament and a bracket for your reference: ND Class B state boys basketball tournament capsules.
*Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette. Feel free to reach out with any comments/concerns (StanleyGazette@gmail.com)
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- Archive Article: A look back: Stanley’s magical run to 1938 State Championship game