It wasn’t a game that would decide who would be the Middle Border conference champion when the Osceola Chieftain boys basketball team hosted the Amery Warriors. It probably wasn’t even significant for playoff positioning for when the WIAA tournament starts but, make no mistake about it, it was important to both teams.
Wins have been hard to come by in recent years for both the Osceola and Amery programs but the effort is there and wins will soon be there too. Last season the Warriors defeated the Chieftains in both MBC contests that they played. Could OHS get the edge this time?
Amery scored the first three points of the game before Osceola tied the score on a Josh Mork trey, the first of 13 that the Chieftains would hit during the game. The Warriors regained the lead with a 3-pointer by Raymond Sowell but then the tables turned in Osceola’s favor. Senior Trey Jensen got a pair of steals that he converted into fast break buckets for the Chieftains and then teammate Ashton Measner tickled the twine on a beautiful drop-step move and OHS was on their way to their second win of the season. Josh Schultz and Jacob Hall followed with deuces and then Colin Krentz drained a trey and suddenly it was Osceola on top 16-6, but it didn’t stop raining Chieftain buckets. By the time intermission hit Osceola had turned a 6-3 deficit into a 43-10 lead.
In the second half, Osceola upped their lead by as many as 42 points before they settled for a 69-32 win. A total of 15 Chieftains got playing time in the game with 12 different players contributing to the point barrage.
“It sure felt good to be on the winning side of a game,” Osceola coach Jacob Meyer said. “Our boys have worked pretty hard the past couple of weeks and (against Amery) we were able to put together a full game of playing pretty well. One focus this past week was making sure all five guys were in the proper position on defense. In weeks past we have given up critical buckets because one guy was not doing his job. I thought we really did a great job of playing team defense, which in turn led to some transition layups for us.”
Osceola had two players in double figures led by Mork with 14 and then Logan Maxon with 12. Mork converted four 3-pointers and Maxon hit for three. Oscar De Roeck also hit three treys with six different Chieftains hitting at least one shot from behind the arc. Osceola connected on 8-of-12 long range shots in the first half alone.
“The team has been working extremely hard by focusing on the fundamentals,” senior Steven Smith said. “Coach Meyer and the team have been focusing mainly on two things, help side defense and the mental points of the game. Outside of practice we really try to focus on not just being teammates, but brothers in the end. We push each other in things we need help with, whether its sports or academics. It has really made for a fun environment to be around this year. To me, all of this paid off in our win against Amery. We were truly a team who couldn’t be beat because of the dedication we had to the game and our brothers. That win against Amery is just the beginning as we are getting better and better each day.”