The Osceola Chieftain girls’ basketball team nudged their way toward a break-even record as they won two of three Middle Border contests. The wins were big for Osceola as they have more than held their own in non-conference games this season but have had a hard time securing MBC wins. The Chieftains defeated the Amery Warriors twice before falling to the New Richmond Tigers to end the week. Osceola now holds an overall record of 6-8 and is 3-7 in conference play.
Osceola began their week with a game against Amery on the Chieftain’s home court. OHS dominated the game defensively in the early stages as they held the Warriors to just seven first half points while building a 14 point advantage. Amery settled in and played Osceola on nearly even terms after the break but could not overcome the advantage the Chieftains had built.
“We were more disciplined than we have been in any game this season,” Osceola Coach Matt Haase said. “We knew the importance of this game not only for conference standings, but for seeding purposes. I was proud of how our girls rose to the occasion. We moved the ball really well, and did a great job of waiting for open looks and not forcing contested shots. In what was mostly a half-court game, a few steals and layups helped us build a lead. We not only had control on the scoreboard, but our players demonstrated that control on the floor.”
Hattie Fox led Osceola in scoring with 23 points, including converting three shots from behind the arc. Arial Branum added seven points to the Chieftain cause with Mallory Johnson contributing six.
Three days after their meeting in Osceola the same two teams met on Amery’s home court. Once again Osceola opened up a significant lead by halftime but this time it was the offense that led the way. Johnson was very effective from the paint dropping in five field goals before the break on her way to an 11 point first half. Fox added nine points before the break as the Chieftains roared to a 30-16 lead.
Amery outscored Osceola 24-21 in the second half to cut the Chieftain’s final advantage to 11 points. Johnson added seven to her point collection in the second half to finish with a game-high 18. Fox finished the night with 15 Chieftain points.
“The second go-around with Amery in the same week had us preparing in practice for any number of changes that Amery could have thrown our way,” Haase noted. “We had good practices and prepared for a lot of different things. It was great to have that feeling that we would be prepared for whatever they threw at us, but it was unsettling to think that this game could unfold in any number of ways. In the end the game played out much the same way our first meeting did.”
Osceola finished their week with a game in Osceola against the second place team in the conference, New Richmond. The Tigers closed out the game with a 14 point decision in a game where points were hard to come by for both teams. New Richmond opened up a 19-7 lead midway through the first half but Osceola closed the gap to 19-13 with 3:28 left before the break. The Tigers then went on an 11-2 run stretching into the second half to open up a 30-15 advantage. The Chieftains got to within 33-24 before New Richmond closed out the game with five straight free throws.
“Defensively we picked up right where we left off with Amery,” Haase said. “We held New Richmond to 38 points which allowed us to stay in the game the entire night.”
Johnson led Osceola’s scoring with eight points. New Richmond was led by Barb Kling with 11.