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The Drill: Superior vision helps W-WG's Ethan Mischke excel

Even as a sophomore, Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Ethan Mischke could almost be judged the best player on the basketball court. And by the time he was a senior, he earned all-state honors in 9-Man football.

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Westbrook-Walnut Grove boys basketball player Ethan Mischke (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WESTBROOK -- Even as a sophomore, Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Ethan Mischke could almost be judged the best player on the basketball court. And by the time he was a senior, he earned all-state honors in 9-Man football.

It might be easy to say that it’s all in the genes, but that doesn’t take into account the hard work he put in to be as good as he can be. Even so, he does have good genes.

“During high school, my mom was in track, she did long distance and jumping. And my dad and my uncles, all three of them were in sports,” Ethan said recently. “At least two of my uncles, maybe all three, won state championships in football, so they definitely know what it takes to win. So that’s helped me a lot growing up. All three of them did play basketball, too, and they played pretty big roles on their teams.”

At the end of the 2018-19 boys basketball season, Mischke helped the Chargers qualify for the Minnesota state Class A tournament. Last season, the team played in the Section 3 championship game. Mischke did everything -- scoring, rebounding, ball-handling, passing. And he could do it all, in part, because of his uncanny ability to see the whole floor.

He, himself, considers his vision to be his best basketball characteristic.

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“Whenever we get a rebound or we pass it in, I’m looking all over the floor. So even if I’m in one corner, I’m always looking to see if someone’s open in the other corner for a shot,” he said.

When Mischke’s father and his uncles were his own age, Westbrook was alone in football. And the “Wildcats” were consistently among the best programs in the state. That was when they could claim excellent numbers as well as excellent athletes.

Now, even while paired with Walnut Grove, the football numbers are such that depth has been a problem. Covid was its own kind of problem last fall, but Mischke earned an all-state certificate at wide receiver despite the fact that the team only played six games.

“And in those six games I had, I believe, about 50 catches. I think the school record for any games played is in the 60s, so our coaches did a really good job of being able to get me the ball,” he explained.

This week’s Globe Drill subject, Ethan Mischke says he might go into secondary teaching for English after graduation. He is an articulate speaker off the field of play. On it, he certainly knows how to let his performances do the talking.

You can see the Drill video online at www.dglobe.com . Here’s a sample of the interview:

QUESTION: How has the W-WG football team coped with its lack of depth?

ANSWER: “I think the last two years in football we’ve had 18 or less guys, so definitely we had a lot of people playing two ways -- which does have its benefits. Everybody gets a lot of playing time, but then not as many people get breaks.”

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QUESTION: Who is your inspiration in sports?

ANSWER: “My dad, Dale Mischke, is probably my inspiration in sports, growing up. He kind of showed me all the sports and encouraged me to go out. At first I wasn’t really a big fan of basketball, but he kind of pushed me to go out for it. And he still takes me to the gym all the time, and he lets me know how good I can be, and he’s always pushing me to be the best I can be. And he’s a hard-working person, too. So I can say I got that from him.”

QUESTION: What’s the best advice you’ve received in sports?

ANSWER: “Probably the best advice I’ve received in sports, I’d say Andrew Quade (a former teammate) used to tell me all the time -- ‘cuz we played a lot of games together, a lot of big games -- and he’s always told me that it’s just another game. You just gotta go out there and play.”

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