The Osceola Chieftain girls basketball team does not have a lot of varsity minutes among their roster. In their first game of the season against non-conference opponent Cameron, Osceola got off to an understandably slow start before things fell into place and the Chieftains secured their initial win of the season. In the Middle Border conference opener against the St. Croix Central Panthers things were much different in the game contested in Hammond.
“We led the entire game and the halftime score was 32-9,” Osceola coach Mike Haase noted. “In the first half our offensive efficiency was really good. We moved the ball well, made the extra pass and got teammates good looks at the basket. We hit six threes in the half with four different players contributing to that total.”
The Fox sisters, senior Emily and freshman Hattie both converted from behind the arc a couple of times. Ellie Gillespie and Kaili Bradway each added a trey of their own to the first half total. Osceola was also effective from the charity stripe before the break by converting six of nine chances good for 67 percent.
As impressive as the Osceola offense was, the defense was also playing well holding SCC to just nine first half points.
“To have a strong defense, the most important aspect is communication,” Bradway said. “Between our full court press and going to a zone defense in the second half, we stopped our opponents from getting easy looks at the basket. I’m super excited to see how we progress as the season moves forward.”
The Panthers were able to find the range a little better after intermission and scored 19 points. At the same time the Chieftain offense stalled.
“St. Croix Central did trim our lead from 23 points down to 14 in the second half before a very timely three pointer by Hattie Fox at the seven minute mark, along with a Kaili Bradway offensive rebound and put-back and then a pair of Emily Fox free throws made things more comfortable again,” Haase said.
Once Osceola pushed their lead back up to 20 the Chieftain defense did the rest.
“I was pleased with our defensive effort and execution during the game,” Haase said. “We were able to keep SCC to some very short possessions, which allowed us more time on offense. We out-rebounded the Panthers 35-21.”
Hattie Fox led the Osceola scoring with 15 points on the strength of three treys and the same number of deuces. Emily Fox added 14 points for the game including hitting four of six free throws. St. Croix Central’s leading scorer was Morgan Siler with 11 points.