When Pequot Lakes Patriots boys' basketball fans yell, "Defense," they may as well be saying "Greer."
The 6-foot senior guard is the defensive catalyst for the two-time Section 7-2A champion Patriots.
In Pequot's 95-59 blowout victory over International falls in the section quarterfinals, Greer helped hold the Broncos' DeAngelo Brackins 10-points below his season average. He added five points, 11 assists, three rebounds and two steals.
Against Mesabi East in the section semifinals, Greer held the Giants' Justin Kangas to eight points. He added 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Then in Pequot's 61-58 section final victory over Crosby-Ironton, Greer held the high-scoring Bryce Tesdahl to 14 points. The two-year varsity starter finished with 10 points and four steals.
Pequot coach Garry Grewe said a good defensive player is equal to a good offensive player.
"Nathan takes a guy who is averaging 23 points and holds them 10 points below that," Grewe said. "Then he chips in with 10 points of his own so you could say Nathan averages about 20 points a game.
"When he plays defense we as a whole team play well defensively. We may get fired up after a (Jesse) Fisher dunk, but our kids also get up when they see Nathan playing good defense."
With a quick first step and quick lateral movement, Greer maintains good position against his defender. His constant harassment frustrates opponents.
"I look forward to the responsibility of guarding the other team's best player," said Greer. "Grewe puts me on their top player and that's what I'm used to. If it's someone I haven't played before during the season than I'll take what coach tells me about him, because he's usually right, and use that to stop him. Otherwise, I'll use what I already know about the player."
While Greer's defense is vital to Pequot's success so is his improved offensive.
Last year Greer averaged 5.7 points a game. This season he's scoring 10.2 points per game. He's also adding 3.2 rebounds to go with 123 assists, 65 steals and six blocked shots.
He's shooting 39.5 percent from the field and 68.8 percent from the line.
"We've been working the ball around well and everyone has been helped by that because everyone seems to get a good look," said Greer, who also plays football. "My goal this season was to get back to the section championship game and go to state two years in a row. I just wanted to play solid every game and take a win. It didn't matter who scored as long as we kept advancing."
Grewe said Greer, who will play basketball at Concordia College in Moorhead next season, has improved both as a shooter and a playmaker for his teammates.
School: Pequot Lakes
Key stat: Finished with 38 points, 25 assists, 13 rebounds and six steals in the four games of the Section 7-2A tournament
"He creates a lot of scoring opportunities for his teammates, whether it's getting a steal and creating in transition or through the process of our offense," said Grewe. "His ability to finish in transition has really improved. Whether it's getting the layup himself or finding a teammate for a layup, he's gotten much better, but it all starts with his defense."
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Tucker Sheley, Pequot Lakes, finished with 24 points, five assists, five steals and four rebounds against Mesabi East and 19 points, five rebounds four steals and three assists against Crosby-Ironton.
Jesse Fisher, Pequot Lakes, finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots against C-I and 10 points and three blocks against Mesabi East.
Trevor Dickie, C-I, finished with 18 points against Pequot Lakes.
Bryce Tesdahl, C-I, finished with 22 points, 13 rebounds and six assists against Esko.
C.J. Peeters, C-I, finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots against Esko.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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