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Boys Basketball: Hooge nets 1,000th point in Pillager win

PILLAGER — It was Christian Hooge’s night Thursday, Feb. 8.

The Pillager junior went to the free throw line to shoot two shots in the first half needing one to reach 1,000 points in his career. He sank the first free throw to reach the milestone.

“He iced himself by making the first one,” Pillager head coach Jim Bentson joked after the game. “In all seriousness, he’s worked so hard and is probably going to be the first player to go with 1,000 points and get 1,000 rebounds. He keeps his emotions in check and runs our team.”

Hooge needed seven points to reach 1,000. He finished with 17 points and 19 rebounds to help give the Huskies an 80-58 Park Region Conference victory over the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines.

The two teams played each other Jan. 12 in Wadena with the Wolverines bettering Pillager 74-59.

Four different Huskies scored in double figures led by Parker Schaefer, who scored a game-high 21 points to go with 11 rebounds.

Gabriel Parrish came off the bench and finished with 16 points for Pillager. He had been sidelined with an injury previously this season. Eli Miller, who also has missed games for the Huskies, added 15 points for Pillager.

“We got good shooters,” Bentson said. “I’ve got a great coaching staff and we’ve gone three or four years working on team stuff and then getting to shooting, dribbling and passing. We played a good team game tonight. We want to replicate that and if we give it up to get it back. We are a pretty formidable team.”

Pillager jumped on the Wolverines from the start. Hooge’s free throw, which gave him 1,000 points, made it 23-11 Huskies. He missed the second free throw, but Parrish was right there for the putback to give the Huskies their largest lead of the first half.

Wadena-Deer Creek’s Teshe Loer takes the ball up the court as Pillager’s Gabriel Parrish gaurds Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, at Pillager.

Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

“We just came out flat and did not come out with any sort of energy,” W-DC head coach Kevin Tumberg said. “Offensively, the shots were not falling for us. It turned really ugly really fast. I give a ton of credit to Pillager. Our scouting report on them was to play zone and make them shoot and they knocked down a lot of shots to pull us out of that. Then with their size, you can see why we wanted to play zone. They were able to handle us inside.”

Trailing 38-24 at the half, W-DC scored the first basket of the second half. Pillager responded with a 10-2 run to give itself a 19-point advantage.

The Wolverines were led by Peyton Church, who finished with 20 points. Teshe Loer added 15 points and Lyrik Haug 12 points.

Pillager moves to 13-9 overall and 9-3 in the Park Region Conference. W-DC drops to 13-6 overall and 9-3 in the conference. Both teams are tied for second place in the conference behind Henning.

W-DC can bounce back Friday, Feb. 9, at home against Section 8-2A opponent Crookston.

“We just had a really long post-game talk to figure some things out,” Tumberg said. “We had a really good win at Barnesville last Friday night and now we have followed that up with two not really good performances against Henning and now Pillager. We are really trying to dig deep and figure out what our issues are to take care of them to make that playoff push.”

Pillager is off until next Friday, Feb. 16, when it hosts Sebeka. The Huskies have four games remaining in the regular season.

“We got two seniors that can lead along with Christian,” Bentson said. “We want to let them play and come out with some tenacity that they did tonight.”

Three defense players watch as a Pillager player jumps up to dunk the ball.

Pillager’ Christian Hooge dunks the ball against Wadena-Deer Creek on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, at Pillager.

Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Wadena-Deer Creek 24 24 — 58
Pillager 38 42 — 80

Teshe Loer 15, Kobe Snyder 6, Lyrik Haug 12, Connor Dutke 1, Peyton Church 20, Samuel Church 2, Nathaniel Peterson 2. FG 22-68 (32%), FT 8-12 (75%). 3-point 6-26 (23%).

Elliott Imdieke 1, Christian Hooge 17, Gabriel Parrish 16, Eli Miller 15, Parker Schaefer 21, Kaden Imdieke 4, Nathan Duy 2, Justin Anderson 2. FG 34-74 (46%), FT 6-10 (60%). 3-point 6-21 (29%).

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

Pillager 80, WDC 58
Key: Christian Hooge scores his 1,000th point in win.
Conference: Pil 9-3, WDC 9-3.
Overall: Pil 13-9, WDC 13-6.
Next: Pillager hosts Sebeka 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16; Wadena-Deer Creek hosts Crookston 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9.