Kramer cousins are stepping up for Hayfield boys basketball team

Published 9:56 pm Wednesday, January 13, 2010

HAYFIELD — Whether they’re looking to attack inside or outside, the Vikings know they’re in good hands.

The Hayfield boys basketball team has two focal points in their offense, they’re both seniors, they both share the same last name and they’re both in their third year as a starter.

Point guard Tanner Kramer and forward Kody Kramer — the two are cousins — give Hayfield a one-two punch that has kept them in a lot of games so far this season.

“Tanner’s played in a lot of big games and hit a lot of big shots. To have a point guard as a three-year starter makes my job a lot of easier since that’s probably the most important offensive position,” Hayfield head coach Chris Pack said. “Kody’s had some growing pains to the transition of going from guard to being an inside guy. But he gives us some versatility by being able to step outside.”

Tanner, who is averaging 17.7 points, 3.7 assists, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals, has been on the varsity team since he was a freshman. He’s not only strong off the dribble, but he can shoot with the best of them. Kody, who is averaging 8 points, 1.1 blocks, and 5.4 rebounds, brings a lot of athleticism to the Vikings’ front line.

The Kramers also appear to have telepathy on the court as they don’t usually have to speak to each other.

“We don’t even have to really talk, we just give each other a look and we know where to go,” Kody said. “We’ve played together forever.”

That connection has come from years of experience together, whether it be playing on teams or playing in Tanner’s parent’s shed on a farm near Hayfield. Whenever there’s down-time, the Kramers are quick to pick up a ball and go to work.

“We live out in the country on a farm, so when there’s nothing to do we go play basketball,” Kody said.

Basketball is nothing new to the Kramers in Hayfield. Tanner’s brother Tony Kramer hit the 1,000-point mark in 2000 and his brother Tyler Kramer, class of 2003, finished with 917 career points. Tanner is currently 54 points away from becoming the fifth Viking to reach the 1,000 point plateau.

“It’s an accomplishment and I’ve always wanted to get 1,000 points since my brother did it,” Tanner said.

The Vikings (4-7 overall) have lost three games by five points or less and four of their losses have come against teams with at least nine wins.

Close losses to a good team can sometimes be encouraging, but Hayfield is hoping to do more than stay close this year. They’re hoping they can rally when March comes around and make a big tournament run. Last year, they won just five games, but they took Blooming Prairie into overtime before having their season end in the playoffs.

“We have to work on improving so that we’re playing our best ball in March,” Pack said “Our schedule is pretty brutal and I’d have it no other way. I’d rather be playing teams where we have to put forth an effort every night or we’re going to get beat. That makes you better and I think we’ll be prepared come March.”

Tanner is hoping the squad can pick up some momentum over the next month and a half.

“We just want to get some wins in the HVL and see what happens from there,” he said.

The Kramers don’t just play a lot of basketball, they like to watch it as well. It’s not uncommon for them to spend an off night on the road watching one of their future opponents to get some pointers.

“We go to as much basketball games as we possibly can,” Tanner said. “If we have a day off we’ll get out there.”

Pack said that Tanner benefits a lot from his scouting since the point guard position can be so complex.

“Tanner’s always going to be the smartest guy basketball-wise on the floor,” he said. “He picks up little things about guys he’ll be matched up with and he picks up on tendencies of other teams. He’s a very heady player and he knows what’s going on.”

Both Kramers are interested in playing college basketball, but are not sure where they’ll end up yet.

Kody Kramer’s brother Brady Kramer, a freshman, is also on the Hayfield varsity team.