The Osceola Chieftain boys basketball team ended 2019 with a non-conference loss at Rice Lake against the Warriors. Osceola opened 2020 with a very tough draw against a Middle Border conference foe, the Prescott Cardinals. After holding an early lead against Prescott the Cardinals gained control and came out on top in a game played on Dave Ruhsam court in Osceola.
Osceola now stands at 0-4 in MBC play and is 1-6 overall. St. Croix Central and New Richmond share the top spot in the conference with unblemished 3-0 records. Both teams are 6-1 overall. Prescott and Somerset are tied for third place with 3-1 records. All four of the Chieftain losses in conference play are to the top four teams in the conference who have a combined record of 12-2 in MBC play and are 23-8 overall. Osceola’s schedule will become more favorable as 2020 unfolds.
In Rice Lake the Warriors liked the feel of the home court. Rice Lake connected 13 times from behind the arc to account for exactly half of the team’s 78 points for the night. The Warriors had six different players connect from down town with junior Nolan Rowe leading the way with five treys. Rowe also had four deuces and hit 8-of-9 free throw to accumulate 31 points to lead all scorers.
Osceola countered by routinely getting to the free throw line and converting when they did. The Chieftains connected on 21 of 29 charity attempts (72%) with Jacob Hall leading the way going 11-for-13. Hall led the Osceola scoring with 20 points followed by Trey Jensen with 15.
“We did not start off too hot against Rice Lake,” Osceola coach Jacob Meyer said. “We started the game out by giving them a 7-0 run. We did manage to claw our way back into the game but could never get closer than a seven point deficit. After the game we talked about our pre game routine and how we can change that to be better focused on the game.”
When Prescott came to Osceola to start 2020 play it was no secret what to expect. The Cardinals have a total roster of 51 players and 10 coaches. Success breeds success for this highly accomplished program. The Chieftains started the game well with a trey from Josh Mork and deuces from Ashton Measner and Logan Maxon to take a 7-2 lead. Osceola still led by five at 10-5 after another missile by Mork from behind the arc found its target. The game was tied at 10 and then 12 but Josh Schultz rebuilt the Chieftain lead to three with a bucket and a free throw. Prescott gained their first lead of the night at 16-15 on a basket by Parker Nielssen and stretched their lead to 20-15 with 9:38 left in the first half. Osceola was still within five at 29-24 with 5:13 left before intermission, but then the Cardinals went on a huge run. Prescott outscored the Chieftains 17-2 before halftime to take a 46-26 lead into the locker room. Osceola could not close the gap in the second half.
Mork led the Osceola scoring with 11 points followed by Garrett Slater with 10. Prescott’s Nielssen led all scorers with 23 points followed by Jacob Doffing with 21.
“I thought we started off really well against Prescott,” Meyer said. “Our guys played with emotion, got stops on defense which led to offensive scoring opportunities. Unfortunately we could not sustain that through the entire first half. Once we can figure out how to sustain that through the entire game we will win a few more games. I think our boys are up to some of the challenges we have ahead.”