Henry Krecklau of Pine River-Backus led all scorers with 20 points, but Pillager defended its home court and eked out a 65-61 overtime victory Tuesday in the season opener for both teams.
The game was tied at 25-25 at halftime and 57-57 at the end of regulation. The Huskies outscored the Tigers 8-4 in the extra session.
"I am amazed that our kids still had opportunities to win the basketball game," said John Riewer, first-year head coach at Pine River-Backus. " I give (our) kids credit for their effort, but we made too many mental mistakes. We were in foul trouble all night. And you cannot expect to win a basketball game turning the ball over 34 times and giving up 24 offensive rebounds. Give Pillager credit, they took advantage of our mistakes and turned them into easy baskets. And they gave themselves a lot of second chances on offense with offensive rebounding."
While Pine River-Backus was turning the ball over 34 times, the Huskies had just 22 turnovers. Pillager had a 42-33 rebounding advantage in the contest.
Ryan Foehrenbacher scored 15 points to lead the Huskies. Ryder Hunstad and Gage Kuehl were close behind with 14 and 10 points.
Besides Krecklau's 20-point effort, the Tigers got 15 points and four assists from Zach Struss, eight points and four steals by Konrad Buseckers and six points apiece from Tony Pederson, Zach Semmler and T.J. Lukanen. Pederson also led the Tigers with 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.
"We simply gave them to many easy extra chances to score," Riewer added. "Pillager shot 41 free throws to our 13.
"We must improve our strengths and work hard on our weaknesses. We have a lot to work on. That's why you practice."