Area Male Athlete: Verndale's Schluttner on target
Mac Schluttner Year: Senior School: Verndale Sport: Basketball Position: Forward Highlights: Surpassed 1,000 career points after scoring 23 against Wadena-Deer Creek Mac Schluttner knew it wasn't going to be easy. A crowd filled with family and f...
Highlights: Surpassed 1,000 career points after scoring 23 against Wadena-Deer Creek
Mac Schluttner knew it wasn't going to be easy.
A crowd filled with family and friends motivated the Verndale Pirates' senior forward, who needed 19 points to reach 1,000 for his basketball career.
A little reverse psychology from his head coach helped, too.
"Jokingly he gave me a hard time because I told him heading into the Wadena game, I said, 'You know Mac, you've rarely scored over 19 points in a game and you need 19 to get a 1,000 so just let the game come to you.''' Verndale head boys basketball coach Jordan Hinkle said. "And then he goes out and he was a man on a mission. But yet he didn't play outside himself. He looked really confident. He was going to go out and get things done and he did it on both sides."
Schluttner's milestone night came the same night Verndale captured the Park Region Conference title for the first time in 32 years. It was a 73-44 victory over next-door-neighbor Wadena-Deer Creek Feb. 21.
"Hearing that, I knew it was true," Schluttner said. "I've been fortunate enough to play on a lot of great teams with a lot of scorers that are able to put the ball in the hole and scoring has been spread out. So going into that game, I knew my goal and I knew some family was coming to watch the game because it might happen. So going into that game I had a little edge of and it was just fortunate that it happened that night."
Schluttner tallied 23 points, seven rebounds and four steals in the victory to become the eighth player in program history to reach 1,000.
Hinkle was referring to the fact Schluttner did it on both ends of the court as he and the Pirates held W-DC's two leading scorers to a combined six points.
"1,000 points, that's been a goal of mine ever since I picked up a basketball," Schluttner said. "I remember sitting in Mr. Hinkle's seventh-grade class and we had to write down goals and my goal was to score 1,000 points. So when I got the chance to start playing as a freshman and then starting as a sophomore and from then on it's definitely been a goal of mine.
"Walking into the gym and seeing the names up there on the 1,000-point board, it's definitely been something that's been in the back of my mind."
The three-year starter is asked to do a variety of things depending on the opponent. According to Hinkle, Schluttner has done everything asked of him.
"No. 1, he's an all-around player," Hinkle said. "We ask him to do a lot of different things. Sometimes he has to guard the other team's best perimeter player. Sometimes he has to guard a stretch 4 or even a five-man in the interior. He has the ability to match up with anybody, which is nice.
"For his career, he's going to be over a 1,000-point scorer, plus-500 rebounder, 200 assists and 200 steals. That's a nice career all around."
This season, Schluttner has amassed 134 rebounds, 61 assists, 59 steals and five blocked shots. He's scored 285 points on 43 percent shooting from the field.
"He's a smart kid and he knows what we're trying to do and that's where I will give him credit. I think he could go out and score upwards of 20 points a game," Hinkle said. "He could have done it last year. He could have done it this year, but he knows that what makes this group of guys the best, what makes us is we're built around the team.
"He's our leading scorer at 12.5 a game. That's it. But we have four guys in double figures. We have six guys that score between eight and 12. That's pretty tough to defend."
Schluttner has a big shot off the court, too. He's a passionate deer hunter, who said hunting season starts in June with trail cams and watching deer grow, to going out hunting for sheds within the past week. He downed his trophy buck (nine-inch brow tines and a 20-inch spread for what Schluttner believes would be around a 150 mark this fall with a bow).
While he enjoys the solitude of the woods, he's really being a leader on a team that was 18-6 heading into the regular-season finale Friday.
"We have nine seniors this year so it's a group of guys that has been playing together ever since we were in third and fourth grade and up," Schluttner said. "Whether it's been summer ball, going to Pacesetters and even different coaches coming in and coaching us, we were playing together at the junior varsity level, where I got called up a little earlier so I have a little more experience.
"Coming in they were looking at me as kind of a leader and I love having that position. I like being the guy where they can ask questions and I have the answers."
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Noah Gindorff, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 18 points and 26 rebounds against Detroit Lakes, 14 points and 18 rebounds against Hinckley-Finlayson and 23 points and 16 rebounds against Hibbing.
Gavin Smith, Staples-Motley, scored 26 points against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley and 20 against Park Rapids.
Ryan Foehrenbacher, Pillager, finished with 32 points and 10 rebounds against Bertha-Hewitt and 27 points and 14 rebounds against Henning.
Matt Tautges, Pierz, finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds against Paynesville. He added 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa.
Gage Westlund, Pequot Lakes, scored 29 points against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and 18 against Esko.
Noah Ross, Wadena-Deer Creek, scored 29 points against New York Mills and 23 against Crookston.
Dacotah Mittag, Wadena-Deer Creek, finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds against New York Mills.
Trey Jacobs, Crosby-Ironton, scored 24 points against Hinckley-Finlayson and 20 against Hibbing.
Hockey: Josh Maucieri, Northern Lakes, finished with two goals and an assist against Red Lake Falls.
Wrestling: Brandon Ortman, Andrew Tomala, Brett Kapsner and Matt Kummet, Pierz, all won Section 7-1A individual titles.
Silas Berg and Kenny Hesse, Aitkin, won Section 7-1A individual titles.
Kaven Blazek, Crosby-Ironton, won a Section 7-1A individual title.
Holt Truax and Ethan Kimber, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/PP, won Section 8-2A individual titles.
Spencer Miller, Eric Lisson and Alex Erpelding, Staples-Motley, won individual Section 8-1A titles.