NELSON — In the five seasons before Decker Brown took over as coach of the Lawrence-Nelson boys basketball team, the Raiders ended the year with double-digit victories just once. With Brown, Lawrence-Nelson has done it three of his five seasons at the helm.

The Raiders are trending in the right direction, and with what Brown says is the most depth he’s had on a team, the 2019-20 season could be an exciting one for the program.

“This is the deepest we will have been in the last six years,” said Brown, who is going into his sixth year as head coach. “I’m very excited to see what is in store this season and hope to build off a senior class with great leadership.”

Last year, Blake Janda led the Raiders in scoring as a sophomore, averaging 8.9 points per game. Lawrence-Nelson last its next three top scorers to graduation, but should return some experience in Trevor Kotinek and Coy Ceder, who combined for 7.8 points per game. Ceder would be the leading rebounding returner after grabbing 4.2 boards per game.

“We have two returning starters from last year’s team, which reached substate,” Brown said. “There are quite a few new faces that will be fighting for playing time.”

The Raiders will be competing against Deshler, Red Cloud and Silver Lake in the Class D-2, Subdistrict 8 tournament at the end of the season. Brown expects his Raiders to be contending for the subdistrict title. All four teams are also part of the Twin Valley Conference, which should be plenty competitive.

Brown is going into his sixth year as head coach and has compiled a record of 58-59 during his tenure. Lawrence-Nelson is still looking to qualify for the state tournament in Lincoln for the first time. Both Lawrence and Nelson have at least one state championship under their belts before the two schools consolidated.

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