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Cloquet milestone-makers mark history

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CLOQUET—As Cloquet basketball senior center Adam Laine left the high school Tuesday night, he didn’t carry his milestone game ball. Instead he gave it to his father, Steve.

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Laine surpassed another Steve, Lumberjacks Coach Steve Battaglia, as well as former record holder Mike Johnson, as Laine’s game-best 27 points propelled Cloquet to a 90-72 Lake Superior Conference victory over Duluth Marshall Tuesday and made him the Lumberjacks’ all-time leading scorer.

At 1,680 career points — a number that only increased Wednesday with Cloquet (19-4) at Ashland as this edition of the Pine Journal went to press — Laine has been nothing but sturdy over his four varsity seasons with the Lumberjacks.

Laine’s milestone make came on a free-throw with 4:14 left in the first half Tuesday on Parent’s Night. As the game paused, the 6-foot-7, 250-pound post player was applauded by his team and a standing crowd, before going into the bleachers to give his parents, Steve and Pam, a hug and the commemorative ball.

“It was the second time I went into the stands,” Laine said afterward, referring to when he scored his 1,000th point last season. “This one was more memorable — it feels great.”

To become the greatest scorer in the 117-year history of the high school, Laine — who was a perfect 10-for-10 from the field Tuesday — left Johnson’s 1,668 career points behind, breaking Battaglia’s personal tally of 1,667, as well.

“He is the quintessential high school player you want on your team,” said Battaglia of Laine, who on Sunday committed verbally to play at Division II Colorado School of Mines next year. “He works his tail off and is never a problem on the court or in the classroom. It couldn’t have happened to a better kid.”

Teammate Dillon Johnson, who added 25 points Tuesday, agreed and noted that every basket Laine makes now adds to history.

“To be the school record holder is pretty awesome,” he said. “And we still have games to go. He’s going to shatter it.”

Like Laine, Cloquet’s Jaiden Cofield made a memorable basket in Saturday’s 59-53 loss to Grand Rapids, as the senior forward netted a left-corner 3-pointer with 11:22 to go and eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau.

Veteran scorekeeper Iris Keller, who buzzed the horn for both milestones, was admittedly teary-eyed for Cofield’s day.

Currently at 1,020 career points, Cofield — who had 21 Saturday — went in the stands to her family, who unveiled a 20-foot banner while she gave her mother, Sonya Bland, a hug.

“It was a moment for us to share together,” said a smiling Cofield, wearing a white celebratory T-shirt following the game.

“She was on today,” Coach Jeff Ojanen added afterward.