MOORHEAD -- History should record the 2001-02 season in area athletics as the year of the Pillager Huskies.
In football, Pillager finished second in the Prep Bowl at the Metrodome in Class 1A.
On Saturday, the Huskies netted their first section boys' basketball championship and their first trip to state as they defeated Norman County East 53-48 in overtime at Concordia College Saturday.
Seniors like Lee Roberts and Adam Brown envisioned a senior season like this since they were in junior high.
"This is what you work for ever since you were a little kid," Roberts said. "In elementary school, Jerry Fornshell coached us all the way up. We kept saying good things were going to happen for us our senior year. You just go out there and compete every night, and hope you get these kind of rewards."
Brown added, "Ever since we were in junior high, we've been waiting for my grade's senior year because we knew we were going to excel. All of us have been playing with each other for so long. Football carries over into basketball. We all play together because we've got such a small school. We've got 3-sport athletes. That helps out a lot."
Huskies coach Jim Bentson, the defensive coordinator in football, said he was "in awe" of winning the first section title in program history.
"It's a good thing the football experience was there," Bentson said. "I know what the butterflies are like, back at the state track meet in 1990 when I was there (for Preston-Fountain High School). I couldn't imagine what these kids were feeling.
"I just wanted to get them through the first few minutes and say, 'Everything will be OK.' Either you have the baton in your hand, or you have the ball in your hand. You have to be able to go, and these kids were."
Brown scores 1,000th career point
Brown entered the game needing 14 points for 1,000. He procured the milestone by making two free throws with 1:17 left in the second half. He became only the third player in school history to attain the feat.
"It's been my goal ever since eighth grade, ever since I started playing on the varsity," Brown said.
"It wasn't like it was on top of my mind during games," he added. "I figured the more games we won, the better chance there would be, and the less pressure there would be. I was never going into games thinking that I've got to do this or I've got to do that. I didn't put it on my shoulders."
Brown shouldered the load for the Huskies in the first half. He scored 16 points in that span and finished with 21. He shot only 5 of 15 from the field but sank 10 of 13 free throws.
"The shots were just coming to me," Brown said.
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