The Osceola Chieftain boys basketball team did not return a lot of experience from the 2018-2019 team. It was assumed that the first few weeks of the new season would be especially challenging as the new varsity members learned their new roles. The success of the team for the season could certainly be dictated by how quickly the team could grow up together.
The schedule makers were not particularly kind to Osceola as the Chieftains had to begin their season with a Middle Border contest against one of the favorites to win the conference title. Osceola took their lumps in the opening game falling to the Tigers 76-43. The Chieftains had no time to feel sorry for themselves as three days later they had their second game of the year at Hayward against the Hurricanes.
“After the New Richmond game our focus was playing more physical and that is exactly what we did against Hayward,” Osceola coach Jacob Meyer said. “We probably were playing a little bit too physical as a few guys found themselves in foul trouble early in the game. A nice asset of this year’s team is the amount of depth we have. We had three to four guys in the first half that found themselves in foul trouble and we were able to have guys come in off the bench still be very competitive.”
Despite the foul trouble Osceola managed to build a 10 point lead by intermission at 31-21. The Chieftains found it harder to hit the bucket after the break, scoring just 15 points in the second half but their defense kept them in the game holding the Hurricanes to 20 points after intermission.
“I was proud of how our team was able to maintain our close lead toward the end of the game,” Meyer said. “Hayward hit some big shots that closed the gap of our lead and our boys were able to answer by making big plays ourselves or hitting some big free throws. The trip home from Hayward is always much more enjoyable when you get the ‘W’.”
Senior Logan Maxon was the only Chieftain in double figures as he netted a game-high 18 points. Maxon hit three deuces, a pair of treys and went 6-of-9 from the charity stripe. Freshman Garrett Slater was next in the scoring line for Osceola with seven points followed by sophomore Charlie Tronrud’s six.
“Our win against Hayward is a good start to a road stretch that we will have before break,” Maxon said. “Hopefully it will give us some drive to get going into conference play.”
Although the Osceola loss to New Richmond was not unexpected the Chieftains found a silver lining in the game. The Chieftains fell behind by 28 points at halftime but played the Tigers fairly even in the second half.
“I did like seeing how Ashton Measner was able to be a big presence inside the lane,” Meyer said. “His presence in the paint makes us a better team. I also thought Garrett Slater, Tyler Ulrich and Charlie Tronrud gave us great minutes with their first varsity game action.”
Maxon and Slater each had 11 points to lead the scoring for Osceola against New Richmond.