The Osceola Chieftain boys’ basketball team lost three straight Middle Border contests last week. In their first two games they played even with their opponent, the New Richmond Tigers and the Baldwin-Woodville Blackhawks, well into the second half. In their last game of the week the Middle Border conference leaders, the St. Croix Central Panthers, were able to dominate the Chieftains.
New Richmond was the first of three MBC games last week. The Tigers came to town with the second best record in the conference and had defeated Osceola 68-39 the first time the two teams met this season. This time Osceola was in it until the end. The Chieftains showed a high energy defense that was able to hold the high flying Tigers down. OHS led at the break 24-23 before New Richmond eventually pulled away to secure the win
“We came into this contest with a specific game plan to frustrate and limit New Richmond’s offense, and our players did a great job executing,” Osceola Coach Tyler Olson said. “Holding the leading scorer in our conference to just five points was an impressive defensive performance. Although we did not come out with the victory, we can learn and build on the improvement displayed between our first matchup with New Richmond and tonight’s effort.”
Garrett Slater led Osceola in scoring with a game-high 21 points including a trio of treys. Senior Ashton Measner also hit double figures for OHS with 11.
Osceola traveled to Baldwin to take on the Blackhawks three nights later and once again played a very solid first half. The Chieftains trailed just 26-24 at the break before B-W finally put some distance between themselves and the Chieftains in the second half.
“Our team has a lot of respect for the way Baldwin plays the game,” Olson noted. “Their players each know their roles and execute them well. We put together a solid first half, but the difference in the second half was their ability to answer any runs of ours with clutch shots of their own.”
Osceola’s Jacob Hall held the hot hand for the Chieftains netting 15 points, all coming on shots from behind the arc. The Chieftains had seven treys in all.
“I wouldn’t really say I had a hot hand as I’ve been shooting well all season,” Hall said about his game against the Blackhawks. “But the difference was that all week in practice, coach really put an emphasis on shooting with confidence and without hesitation off screens and that was my mindset going into the game.”
The Blackhawk’s Dylan Karau offset Hall’s 3-pointers with five of his own and ended the game with 19 points.
Osceola finished the week with a tough trip to Hammond to take on the top team in the MBC, the St. Croix Central Panthers. SCC frustrated the Chieftains all night long and continued their MBC play undefeated at 12-0 (16-2 overall).
“St. Croix Central proved again why they are the top team in our conference,” Olson said. “The experience of playing against such a fast, aggressive, and physical team can only help us prepare as we enter the final week of the regular season, and with playoffs right around the corner.”