The Osceola Chieftain girls’ basketball team split their final two Middle Border games last week finishing with a conference record of 5-9 and are 9-10 overall. Prescott placed first in conference play this season. With the MBC behind them, Osceola now looks at WIAA Division-2 Regional play that will begin this Friday in Hayward. The Chieftains earned the 3-seed in the Regional and will begin play against the Hurricanes who are seeded two.
Osceola started their final week of MBC play with a game in Hammond against the St. Croix Central Panthers. The game was close throughout with the Chieftains holding on to a two point lead by halftime and adding five more points to their final victory margin by the end. The game was full of free throws. Osceola committed 19 fouls sending the Panthers to the line 24 times. SCC converted 17 of their attempts good for 71 percent. St. Croix Central was whistled for 22 fouls sending the Chieftains to the charity stripe 30 times. Osceola converted 22 times, good for 73 percent. Osceola’s Hattie Fox shot 23 free throws herself and connected on 17 of them (74%).
“Our outside shooting wasn’t favorable in the first half, but luckily we were able to get it done in the paint,” Fox noted. “We got boards and translated them into free throws, and thankfully they tallied up for a win.”
“This was a really well-played game by both teams,” Osceola Coach Mike Haase said. “SCC has improved a lot since our earlier game. Wins have been hard to come by for SCC, but during this game they just wouldn’t fold. We led the entire game and in each half had a 10 point lead that was cut to two points by the Panthers. This was the closest game we have played this year and had some situations at the end of each half that we need to learn from.”
Fox ended the contest as the game’s top scorer with 32 points. Teammate Mallory Johnson added 16 points to the Chieftain total. Johnson also corralled 10 rebounds to collect another double-double.
Osceola finished MBC play when they hosted the Somerset Spartans. The Chieftains took an early lead but both teams had difficulty getting their offense going in the first half. The Spartans begin to click shortly before halftime and were able to pull out to a 19-10 lead at the break. Points were hard to come by in the second half as well as Somerset outscored the Chieftains 21-19.
Fox led Osceola’s scoring again, this time dropping in 15 points.
No other Chieftain was able to dent the scoreboard for more than five points. Somerset’s Heather Gaitkowski led all scorers with 18. Johnson and Jordyn Wright led the Chieftains in rebounds with eight each.
“If this game was played in quarters, we would have scored zero points in the second quarter and two points in the third,” Haase noted. “After leading 10-5 nine minutes into the game, we didn’t reach 12 until there were nine minutes left in the game. Yet the girls stayed focused and continued to play really good defense. Giving up 19 points in the first half is really pretty good, even 40 for the game is a good total against the third place Spartans.”