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Jon Boever starts first full season coaching Baraga Vikings’ boys basketball team

Members of the Baraga High School boys varsity basketball team include, front row from left, Carter Koskinen, Matthew Tangen, Carson Holmquist and Jerry Tembreull. Top row from left, Steele Jondreau, Ryan Owens, Tristian Stockton, Presely Rasanen and Zack Sackett. (Submitted photo)

Baraga boys

2019-20 schedule

All times Eastern

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Dec. 9 — Lake Linden-Hubbell, 7:20 p.m.

Dec. 12 – at Chassell, 7:20 p.m.

Dec. 16 — Watersmeet, 7:20 p.m.

Dec. 20 — at L’Anse, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 7 — at Calumet, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 9 — at Jeffers, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 13 — Hancock, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 20 — at Bessemer, 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 23 — at Lake Linden-Hubbell, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 27 — Wakefield-Marenisco, 7:20 p.m.

Jan. 31 — at Republic-Michigamme, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 4 — L’Anse, 7:20 p.m.

Feb. 7 — Dollar Bay, 7:20 p.m.

Feb. 14 — Republic-Michigamme, 7:20 p.m.

Feb. 18 — at Dollar Bay, 7:20 p.m.

Feb. 21 — at Ewen-Trout Creek, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 25 — Chassell, 7:20 p.m.

Feb. 28 — at Watersmeet, 7:30 p.m.

March 3 — Jeffers, 7:20 p.m.

March 5 — Ontonagon, 7:20 p.m.

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BARAGA — Enduring a winless season is probably the most challenging situation any team in any sport can be faced with.

For boys’ basketball in Baraga last year, a midseason coaching change made things even more complicated.

But when Jon Boever took over the varsity team — moving up from the JV head coach — he and now-JV coach Jarrett Davidson did the best they could to salvage the season and lay a foundation for the future.

Now Boever, after a two-year stint as the head man for the JV, is ready to embark on his first full season at the varsity level and things are looking up for the Vikings, regardless of how many games they may win or lose.

This season’s player turnout alone shows progress has already been made. The Vikings have 24 players out for varsity and JV combined, a quite healthy number for a small district.

“(The numbers) are phenomenal,” Boever said. “It’s been awhile since Baraga has been known as a winning team and I believe we are taking the right steps to becoming a winning team and (earning) that reputation again.”

Boever, a Baraga multisport alum who’s been involved in coaching at all levels of Baraga basketball for about four years, is looking to apply last year’s experiences as an opportunity to help the team grow.

“In sports you do have to have a short memory,” he said, “but we are going to take lessons learned from last year and use that knowledge that we have taken from the adversity from last year and being winless and put that towards what we want to do this year. It’s an extra chip on the shoulder.”

From the X’s and O’s, Baraga will have challenges, but Boever promises to instill great effort in his guys “from tipoff through the fourth quarter” regardless of what the scoreboard says.

“We’re not overly big, we’re not overly tall,” said Boever, who is also an experienced roundball official, “but we have athletic players with some speed. So we’re really going to try and get up and down the floor this year. And we’ll pride ourselves on defense…. It all comes down to effort.”

Boever said he will know that progress is being in games when he sees fundamentals executed and players supporting each other.

And the boys certainly have a great example to follow right alongside them, with the state quarterfinal run made by the scrappy and limited number of players on the girls team last spring.

“(That success) opened the boys’ eyes up a little bit,” Boever said. “That showed them that no matter how small the school, no matter what program, if you put in the extra work, and you give the effort, and you come together as a team, then that kind of a run is possible.”