Brotherly love at Hoopfest: Huiskens play together for first time and Holts play together for last timeWORTHINGTON — The introduction of an athlete’s story tends to involve a trip to a game with mom or dad. After the eyes behold the wonder of an athletic event, the future athlete needs practice and an opponent. That’s why the world made siblings.
WORTHINGTON — The introduction of an athlete’s story tends to involve a trip to a game with mom or dad. After the eyes behold the wonder of an athletic event, the future athlete needs practice and an opponent. That’s why the world made siblings.
What better person to battle against than an older sibling? They generally have the same skill set and the older ones generally have a bigger and louder mouth, which is incredibly gratifying to make silent.
Just as in life, an athlete learns from his or her sibling and, if the older sibling does his or her job as a brother or sister, the athlete looks up to them. Unless, of course, you’re four inches taller than your older brother like Southwest Christian senior Zach Huisken.
“It’s funny,” Zach’s older brother Alex, 22, said. “Our oldest brother is 6-foot, I’m 6-foot-5 and Zach is 6-foot-9.”
Before Saturday’s All-Area Hoopfest, brothers Zach and Alex Huisken had never stepped on a basketball court together with Zach entering SWC as Alex was graduating. The two had squared off in the backyard of their Chandler home, but never together in a game setting.
“Just the other day we were playing in our driveway, getting ready for the hoopfest and to see who was better,” Zach said. “I won in the backyard, but he’s pretty good too, so he won’t let me rub it in. A few of my points were because of the height issue, but he’s pretty skilled, so he can blow by me.”
There’s no need to remind Alex his baby brother towers over him.
“I know about the height issue,” Alex said. “He beat me pretty bad.”
The oldest Huisken and an-other former Eagles basketball player, 24-year-old Jordan, wants no part of one-on-one with his two brothers, but he’s always open to another challenge.
“I don’t fare well against those two,” Jordan said. “I stay outside the 3-point line, so I can beat them in horse.”
Ironically, Jordan was part of the selection process for the All-Area Hoopfest and he could have put the Huisken trio on the court at the same time, but he wasn’t about to break the rules.
“I was never an all-area selection, so I can’t play,” Jordan said. “Plus, I’m tired from just working this thing.”
Although siblings battle and compete in all walks of life, generally there isn’t any other person they’d have in their corner.
Right next to Zach, handing him basketballs in the first round of the 3-point contest was older brother Alex.
“I thought maybe there’d be a little family thing to help me out and apparently it did,” Zach said.
Zach went from post player to shooting guard, hitting 17 shots from beyond the arc in 25 attempts.
Minutes into the first half of the All-Area White Team versus the Southwest Minnesota Stars game, the Huiskens entered the floor together for the first time, helping the All-Area team to victory.
“I always said I wished he was one year older, so I could have played with him in high school,” Alex said.
At the same time the Huisken brothers checked into the hoopfest game for the first time together, Windom senior twins Jake and Lee Holt stepped onto the floor together for the last time.
If not for a goatee on Lee and different colored rubberbands on their braces, the Holt twins would be impossible to tell apart. Since fifth grade, they’ve been nearly impossible to guard on the basketball court. Jake finished his high school career as Windom’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, racking up 1,948 points and 1,152 rebounds, while Lee finished his high school career with more than 1,000 points and 700 rebounds.
Since fifth grade the two have been on fields and courts playing together.
“He’s someone I didn’t need to talk to on the court,” Jake said. “We’re so locked in, I never needed to say anything to him.”
Lee echoed his brother’s sentiments.
“On the court, you know there’s someone who knows exactly what you’re going to be doing,” Lee said. “It’s an advantage off the court too because you have someone to play against at home.”
Next year, the two will not only be away from one another on the field and court, but away from each other in life as well.
Jake is heading to South Dakota State University for football and Lee is headed to Southwest Minnesota State University.
“We’re only going to be an hour apart,” Jake said. “You get closer when you leave each other.”
It was as if Jake had never even pondered the idea of not having Lee around.
“It’s a tough question because I just have no idea what it’s going to be like,” Jake said. “I really can’t predict what it’s going to be like.
“A lot of people ask what it’s like being a twin. Well, it’s basically like having your best friend live with you 24 hours a day and seven days a week.”
The Holts have a special bond and Lee was in no way worried the different colleges would come between them.
“We’re the kind of brothers where we don’t depend on each other 100 percent,” Lee said. “It’s going to be a big difference, but we’ll be able to handle it.
“We’ll always have each other.”
Daily Globe Sports Editor Chris Murphy can be reached at 376-7328.