The Osceola Chieftain boys’ basketball team has been getting better despite what their record may say. Last week Osceola dropped three straight games but had a chance in all of them. The Chieftains are paying hard and when things fall their way they are capable of notching a few more wins this season.
Osceola started their week with a game at Ellsworth against the Panthers. The Chieftains fell to Ellsworth by four points a week earlier so they knew that they could compete well against the Panthers. Things did not go well for OHS in the first half as the Chieftains fell into a 14 point deficit by intermission. Osceola played very well after the break as they evenly split 64 points with Ellsworth in the second half.
“We had a lot of confidence coming into this game after playing a close contest with them the week before,” Osceola Coach Tyler Olson began. “Ellsworth came out much the same way and we could not match their aggressiveness or energy. We battled and fought to start the second half but could not overcome our first half deficit.”
Senior Ashton Measner led Osceola in scoring with 14 points. Classmate Jacob Hall was next in line in scoring for the Chieftains as he dropped in 10.
Osceola continued their busy week one day later, this time at Somerset against the Spartans. The Chieftains knew that this would be a tough assignment as Somerset holds down the third spot in the Middle Border conference with a 7-3 record. Osceola competed well but the Spartans had just enough firepower to gradually pull away. Somerset led by nine by the break and added three more points to their victory margin in the second half.
“We showed that we are capable of competing with any team in our league with our performance in stretches,” Olson remarked. “We had a gritty second half where our team played real tough and spirited ball. We are still learning how to find our offense in critical, close situations. We kept knocking on the door but could not execute well enough to find a game changing basket to tie or take the lead.”
Sophomore Garrett Slater led the balanced Osceola scoring attack with 10 points. A total of eight Chieftains netted at least one bucket during the game.
Osceola finished their week two days later with a non-conference matchup against the Unity Eagles on the Chieftain’s home court. This game was close throughout with Osceola again knocking on the door but just couldn’t quite get an answer. OHS trailed by two in a low scoring first half and then both teams got their respective offenses going after the break. Unity added four more points to their victory margin after the break. Chieftain Luke Haase was particularly impressive after intermission dropping in 10 of his 12 points and is excited about the remainder of the season.
“We have a group of guys that love to play the game and will continue to play hard for each other,” Haase said. “We have been competitive in a majority of our games. We are looking forward to having a second shot at some of the teams in our conference.”
“Coming into the Unity game I thought it was going to be extremely important to play with a lead going into halftime,” Olson said. “I sensed a little fatigue with our team after the week’s schedule and knew getting into a game of playing catch-up would be risky. We started off strong but we were not able to sustain our lead. We mixed and matched line-up combinations looking for some sort of spark but were just not able to make the run we needed.”