Area Male Athlete: Pillager's Doss a leader of success
Whether it's assisting on the game-winning shot or making it, Josh Doss has been making all the right plays.
It was a Doss assist to teammate Ty Swenson that lifted the Pillager Huskies to a 73-70 victory over New York Mills Feb. 1. That assist helped the senior point guard finish with 22 points, 10 assists, seven steals and seven rebounds.
"We kind of started off slow and it was a big conference game," Doss said. "It's been a tight (Park Region) conference race so far so I just needed to step up and have a good game. We had a lot of other guys play well, too. Ty (Swanson) hit a great shot at the end, but it was just a lot of other guys doing a lot of different things to get me opportunities and putting me in position to get those stats. It was everybody working hard and I just happened to be the guy that night I guess."
Doss added nine points in the Huskies' 67-64 conference win over Wadena-Deer Creek Feb. 5 that landed Pillager atop the conference standings. But it was his game-winning shot against Henning Jan. 23 that allowed Pillager to keep rolling. The Huskies are currently on a seven-game winning streak.
"New York Mills I got the assist and the Henning game I got the game-winning shot," Doss said. "It was in overtime and I hit it. They made two free throws with four seconds left to go up by two. Spencer (Schaefer) inbounded it into Ty. It was supposed to go to me and Ty got it instead. We both broke up the court together and he lobbed it up to me. I caught it and banked it in. I did not call it. It was pretty crazy. I banked it in, but I didn't think it had any chance of going in. It went in and everybody just started going crazy. It was nuts."
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- Year: Senior
- School: Pillager
- Sport: Basketball
- Position: Guard
- Highlights: Finished with 22 points, 10 assists, seven steals, seven rebounds against New York Mills
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Doss thought it was funny that he assisted on Swanson's game-winner and the two reversed roles against Henning. Give the choice, Doss said he'd rather make the assist.
"They were both pretty great," Doss said. "The assist was pretty cool, too, because it was at home. I think I would rather have the assist just because it was at home. It was a good atmosphere and that was pretty cool."
Pillager's current winning streak has the Huskies sitting 14-7 overall and 2-2 against Section 7-2A opponents. They would be seeded No. 5 in the South Subsection if the regular season ended now. But the upward trend has Doss feeling confident Pillager can make some noise come playoffs.
Huskies head coach Jim Bentson believes in his point guard.
"I've always said that I run my team through my point guard," Bentson said. "He has gotten better. When I call timeouts, I might talk for the first 10 or 15 seconds, but then it's Josh talking the next 15 to 20 seconds to the guys that are out there. He knows when we want to go. He knows when we want to slow it down. He understands that.
"I'll revert back to the Lee Roberts and the Stoll brothers. They had that and this team has it. It's just fun to be able to sit back and not have to coach each individual play. You just look at Josh and he is calm out there. Plus, he's becoming a little bit more vocal."
Doss is hitting 39 percent of his field goals and 64 percent of his free throws. He's secured 97 rebounds, 71 assists, 69 steals and a blocked shot to go with 248 points for an 11.8 points-per-game average.
But the most important trait Doss brings to the Huskies isn't a number. It's his leadership.
"I'm just trying to do my best to get everyone in position so we can be the best we can be," Doss said. "I'm just sharing whatever knowledge I can bring. We have a good coaching staff here, but there's just something different about being in the game and seeing things from that perspective.
"I'm just trying to give any input I can to help guys who may not see things and just being able to do whatever I can to help the team win."
Doss' improvement on the court is substantial. Last year he finished with 80 rebounds, 46 assists, 27 steals and just 67 points. But no matter the sport, Doss helps his team win.
"I'm very, very thankful for all the opportunities I've been given at Pillager," Doss said. "Regardless of all the wins, just being able to play with some great people is a big part of it. Obviously going to state in baseball and football has been great and now a good year in basketball. It's been a real good athletic career at Pillager. I've made some good connections."
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Nick Christenson, Lake Region, finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds against Rosemount and finished with 19 points against St. Cloud to reach 1,000 career points for his career.
Owen Korfe, Verndale, scored 24 points against Menahga and 19 against Upsala.
Wrestling: Nate Williams, Crosby-Ironton, finished 2-0 and earned his 100th career victory at the Crosby-Ironton Triangular.
Jalen Jansen, Pierz, finished 2-0 and earned his 100th career victory at the Holdingford Triangular.
Peyton Bjerga, Owen Bjerga and Kyle Serich, Staples-Motley, all won individual titles at the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Tournament.
Kaven Blazek, Crosby-Ironton, won an individual title at the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Tournament.
Holt Truax and Craig Orlando, Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale/Parkers Prairie, won Park Region Conference titles.