The Osceola Chieftain boys’ basketball team ended the 2020 portion of their schedule with a convincing win over Hayward from the Heart O’North conference. Osceola opened the 2021 portion of their schedule when they traveled to Rice Lake to face the Warriors for the Big Rivers conference. Osceola dug themselves a deep hole in the first half falling behind by 22 points but did right the ship and played much better after the break as they were outscored by a single point in the second half. The Warriors defended their court with a 62-39 decision.
“We went into Rice Lake with two of our top guards unavailable to play, so we knew we would face a challenge with their defensive pressure,” Osceola Coach Tyler Olson said. “At the end of the day, we did not get the job done of taking care of the basketball. There is no excuse for the amount of turnovers we committed, and we need to make better and stronger decisions on the court.”
Rice Lake took advantage of Osceola’s inexperience at the guard spot and ended the game netting eight shots from behind the arc good for 24 of the team’s 62 points. Sophomore Tyler Orr was effective all night long scoring 11 first half points and following it up with 10 more after the break. Senior Nick Schlapp was a great complement for Orr, especially in the first half when he netted 10 of his 12 points. Orr ended the game with four treys and Schlapp dropped in two.
For Osceola sophomore Garrett Slater picked up as much slack as he could at the depleted guard spot. Slater netted three deuces, three treys and went 6-for-8 from the charity stripe to tie Orr for game-high scoring honors with 21. Ashton Measner picked up nine points in the paint for the Chieftains.
“On a positive note, it was great to get Luke Haase back for his first appearance of the season after an injury during football season,” Olson noted. “Tyler Ulrich showed a lot of grit, playing through a tough ankle injury he suffered last week. Austin Almlie has been a selfless leader for us all season long, and he was able to give us some spirited minutes off the bench.”
Osceola finished 2020 still looking for their first conference win as they are 0-3 in MBC play and 1-4 overall. St. Croix Central leads the MBC with a 3-0 record (6-1 overall) followed by Somerset and Prescott both at 3-1. New Richmond currently resides in fourth place with a 2-1 conference mark.
Osceola will be anxious to put together some MBC wins as the calendar turns to 2021.
“It is no secret that our basketball program went through several changes prior to this year.” Osceola senior Isaiah Guilfoile noted. “This has resulted in a new attitude within this team, as we are willing to push harder than ever before in practice. By competing every day in practice, every member of this team is ready to compete on game day, and I know we will turn some heads around the conference.”