Rocky Hulne: Two of a kind — Two area 2,000-point scorers are hard workers and good teammates
Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023
There was a time in high school basketball when 1,000 career points was the gold standard, and that mark remains a milestone in bigger schools, where freshmen rarely play varsity because of deep numbers. But in smaller schools, like Lyle-Pacelli and Hayfield, 2,000 career points is the ultimate measuring stick for an elite scorer.
This winter has been a special one as two area players — Hayfield senior Isaac Matti and Lyle-Pacelli senior Buay Koak — have both surpassed 2,000 points. Koak is now at the top of the scoring list for L-P and Matti only trails David Johnson.
There are a lot of similarities in Koak and Matti. Both are class acts and both extremely hard workers.
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Koak was active in the Mower County CEO program as a junior, he has been known to serve mass at St. Augustine’s Church and he’s a relative hero among the younger students when he walks the hallways of Pacelli Catholic Schools. Koak is also incredibly humble as he served as the L-P football team’s water boy during the Homecoming game this past fall.
Matti is also a role model in Hayfield and has put in countless hours at his family shed, where he developed a solid jump shot and competitive fire to always be better. He played a huge role in both of the Viking teams that brought home state titles in 2021 and 2022.
From my perspective, Koak and Matti are both people as well as being tremendous basketball players. Wherever they play next year, they’re sure to have a big impact on the program and they’ve already left a lasting impact on their hometown teams. As talented as they are as scorers, Matti and Koak are both willing to be unselfish at times and they’re both positive in the huddle and on the court.
Even with many Class A players starting as middle schoolers, only a few area players have surpassed 2,000 points. In recent years, L-P grads Olivia Christianson and Sarah Holtz, LeRoy-Ostrander grad Trey Hungerholt and Blooming Prairie grad John Rumpza were the only area players to achieve that mark.
So if you’re an up and coming basketball player with big dreams, you may want to have a chat with one of these elite few to see what kind of work ethic you need to develop.