PREP BOYS' BASKETBALL: Fear the Huisken beardEDGERTON — Southwest Christian’s Zach Huisken let out a yell, holding the Section 3A-South championship plaque, after the Eagles knocked off rival Ellsworth 81-66 Saturday at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
EDGERTON — Southwest Christian’s Zach Huisken let out a yell, holding the Section 3A-South championship plaque, after the Eagles knocked off rival Ellsworth 81-66 Saturday at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
It was more than a yell.
Twice Huisken watched his brother, Alex, walk off the court and into the offseason thanks to Cody Schilling-led Ellsworth teams in the sub-section championships in 2007 and 2008. He watched his brother, Jordan, play his last game in an SWC uniform after losing to Cody Schilling’s Panthers team in the 2006 sub-section semifinals. Huisken was not about to suffer the same fate to a Casey Schilling-led Panthers squad in his final season with the Eagles.
There are times where letting out an animal-esque yell is the only thing one can do.
“This is a huge win for us,” Huisken said after the win. “Both my brothers have been here and have been knocked out by Ellsworth.
“It’s big for the program to get past this step. It’s been a great year so far.”
Athletes are often described as animals because they have instincts and strengths considered the norm in their day-to-day lives the average human being does not phathom.
Behind a fuzzy playoff beard and a victory howl, Huisken has been playing like an animal — and if his beard continues with a state championship run, he may become part animal.
“It’s a fear the beard type thing going on,” Huisken said almost unable to resist giving his chin a rub. “It started with playoffs, so it’s been about a-week-and-a-half and I’m going to do it until we lose.
“It’s just something the fans kind of like, so I’m doing it. I don’t mind it. My girlfriend doesn’t like it, but she doesn’t need wins.”
Strangely enough, as the beard has gone, so has Huisken. Huisken had just eight points in SWC’s opening round 61-58 nailbiter over Hills-Beaver Creek. With new whiskers, Huisken had 19 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks and three assists in a 75-53 victory over Russell-Tyler-Ruthton in the sub-section semifinals.
Finally, with family redemption on his mind, Huisken dropped 22 points, 16 rebounds and six assists versus Ellsworth in the sub-section championship, propelling SWC to the Section 3A championship against Dawson-Boyd Thursday at 8 p.m. at SMSU.
SWC coach Jamie Pap — who has a face that begs to be carded when buying alcohol or even cigarettes — is fine with the beard.
“There is no way I could grow that,” Pap said. “He said he wants to be known as fear the beard man. Either that or he’s just too lazy to shave.”
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy can be reached at 376-7328.