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LEAVING A LEGACY Mollberg eclipses DL's all-time scoring mark

Joe Mollberg puts up the three-pointer which made him the DLHS all-time leading boys' basketball scorer Saturday night.

When Joe Mollberg started donning the Detroit Lakes Laker uniform in seventh grade, he had a long list of goals he wanted to accomplish during his prep career.

One of his highest goals went by the wayside Saturday, after he drained a long three pointer in a 58-51 victory over the Class 3A No. 3 ranked Grand Rapids Thunderhawks, thus becoming DLHS' all-time boys' basketball leading scorer by surpassing 1,328 points.

But Mollberg's aspirations on the hardwood isn't done with that historical milestone, he still has work to do before he moves on to play football for the University of North Dakota at quarterback this fall.

"I want to help this team make state," Mollberg said. "It means a lot (becoming the all-time leading scorer), because I have been looking towards it and knew what it was since I was in seventh and eighth grade.

"But what we've done as a team is more important."

Mollberg knows well of Thielen's impact as a scorer, since he watched him as a scoring phenom his senior year in 2008. Thielen also moved on to play college football, where he was a big contributor at wide receiver at Minnesota State University Mankato the last four seasons.

"Adam texted me and gave his support for me breaking his record and that was important for me knowing he has my back," Mollberg said. "His senior year, he just lit it up."

But Mollberg isn't leaving his Laker playing days known as just a scorer. He plays tough defense and also recorded his 500th rebound a few games ago, as well, to become the second Laker to do so.

Which brings Mollberg's journey to another important aspect, his teammates.

The Lakers were just one game away from making the state last year, as a closely-knit unit put together one of the best seasons in DL's history.

That has continued into this season, where Mollberg has been feeding off his talented cohorts once again.

"Without the team I've been playing on, I wouldn't be where I am," Mollberg said. "The last few years, I've come a long ways with teammates such as Josh (Stalberger), Brian (Labat), Rick (Hutchinson) and everyone else."

It wasn't all just a smooth path leading to the all-time leading scorer mark, though.

Mollberg suffered through some serious injuries, including a back ailment which took sometime to diagnose and wiped out some of his sophomore season.

But after persevering through the frustration of sitting out, he grew as a player.

"Joe is a triple threat scorer," said DL head coach Robb Flint, who has coached Mollberg throughout his varsity career. "He takes advantage of mismatches with his strength and scores on transition, from the post position, by penetrating and from the perimeter."

Long hours in the weight room and learning the game were the big keys for Mollberg into becoming one of DL's most versatile basketball players in decades.

"Maturity and learning the game were both important," Mollberg said of the keys to his improvements. "Also working in the weight room was big. But overall, when you have a team like I have next to you, it makes my job easier.

"Having all that talent around me is awesome."

The Lakers are now on the verge of taking that next step of finishing off Mollberg's to-do list by clinching the top seed in the North half of the upcoming Section 8-3A playoffs.

It will be one step closer of Mollberg's biggest goal -- playing in the state tournament.

"Now it's time to do it as a team," Mollberg concluded.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.