Bruner, Carr to lead Hazen Bison boys basketball team

Entering Ben Nelson's second season leading the Hazen boys basketball team, the Bison look to build on their 15-8 record from a year ago. "That's a good record, but it's too bad seven of those losses came in the region," Nelson said. "And the eig...

Entering Ben Nelson’s second season leading the Hazen boys basketball team, the Bison look to build on their 15-8 record from a year ago.

“That’s a good record, but it’s too bad seven of those losses came in the region,” Nelson said. “And the eighth came in the region tournament (to region champion New England in the quarterfinals). Our goal is definitely to improve.”

Hazen graduated three starters from last season, but it returns 6-foot-4 junior Wyatt Carr, who averaged 20.5 points as a sophomore, and 6-foot-1 senior Chase Bruner, who averaged 12.4 points and 6.3 rebounds last season.

“Chase, he’s got the physical tools. He’s physically gifted in terms of height and strength,” Nelson said. “He puts in the time. He spent a lot of time in the offseason working on his game. He’s worked hard for what he’s got.”

Nelson called Bruner the team’s best defender - he averaged 2.7 steals per game last year - and he hopes the senior can advance his game on offense.


“He’s got some length to him, a good shot on offense,” Nelson said. “If we can get him consistent on the offensive end and keep him doing what he’s doing on the defensive end - he’s got a knack for rebounding and deflecting passes and things like that - he can take his game to the next level.”

After those two though, “There’s a lot of unknowns with us right now,” Nelson said. “It’ll be a work in progress early.”

Those unknowns start with three seniors with limited basketball experience over the last few years: Logan Sailer, Justin Traiser and Dawson Brown. Senior guard Mason Faut returns as a letterwinner, who averaged nearly three points and two rebounds per game, and then it’s a mix of juniors and sophomores rounding out the roster.

“All those seniors have the potential, and all those underclassmen played good JV minutes last year and showed good potential,” Nelson said. “It’s just who’s prepared to take the next step and adjust to the varsity level.”

Nelson said he hopes the team comes together quickly so that it can make some noise once the region tournament comes around.

“Region 7 is looked as one of the toughest regions in the state, but we’ve got a long ways to go until we get there,” he said. “You’ll have the usual suspects with Trinity and Hettinger-Scranton, but we’re hoping to be in the mix. We have to get a rotation and get a group whose skills complement each other and by the end of the year be clicking on all cylinders.”

Hazen Bison


Head coach: Ben Nelson (second season)

Last year: 15-8, 5-7 Region 7

Returners: Chase Bruner, Sr., G/F (12.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.7 spg); Wyatt Carr, Jr., G/F (20.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg); Mason Faut, Sr., G (2.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg); Matt Oestreich, Jr., G; Spencer Mattheis, Jr., F.

Newcomers: Josh Bitterman, Soph., G/F; Payton Leintz, Soph., G; Jayce Zuern, Fr., G; Logan Sailer, Sr., F/C; Justin Traiser, Sr., C/F; Dawson Brown, Sr., G/F.

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