The Osceola Chieftain girls basketball finished the conference portion of their season with a couple of tough assignments. First, Osceola was on the road against the Middle Border conference’s top team, the Prescott Cardinals. Then the Chieftains turned their attention to the third place team in the MBC, the Amery Warriors. Although Osceola came up on the short end of both games they played pretty good basketball against some stellar competition.
“We played one of our better games of the season down in Prescott,” Osceola coach Mike Haase said. “It was by no means perfect, or the result we wanted, but we challenged a very good team.”
Besides being the top team in the conference Prescott is rated as the 10th best team in the entire state. The Cardinals jumped out to a 10 point lead at 14-4 early in the contest but Osceola had come to play. The Chieftains got into bonus early in the first half and cut into the deficit by converting free throws. With Prescott leading 24-12 Osceola finished the half on a 7-1 run to run the score to 25-19 at the break. The Chieftain run was fueled by baskets by Ellie Gillespie and Arial Branum capped off by a long 3-pointer launched by Emily Fox
Prescott built their lead to as many as 13 points in the second half but could not put Osceola away. Then the Chieftains fought back and gave the Cardinals a scare.
“We grabbed the momentum when Mallory Johnson hit a three from the corner, followed by an Emily Fox three on the very next possession, and then an Alexis See 3-pointer two possessions later made the score 40-44 with seven minutes to play,” Haase said.
Osceola hung tough for a couple more minutes before Prescott went on a 15-0 run to decide the outcome.
“Our defense is what kept us in this game,” Haase noted. “Kaili Bradway was tasked with guarding Isabella Lenz and did an excellent job. Several fans, even some from Prescott, commented about her defense after the game.
Emily Fox led the Osceola scoring with 16 points followed by Hattie Fox with 13. Johnson ended the game with seven for the Chieftains.
Osceola started well at Amery with a trey by Emily Fox and a deuce by Hattie Fox lifting the Chieftains to a 5-2 lead. Then the Chieftains went ice cold and could not buy a basket. The Warriors took charge during Osceola’s offensive power outage and took control of the game.
Ella Schmidt was a force inside netting 22 total points with 10 of them coming from the free throw line. Hattie Fox led Osceola with 13 points followed by Emily Fox with nine.
Osceola now turns their attention to WIAA Regional play. The Chiefs hope to pull off some upsets and prolong their season.
“Our regular season didn’t go as we hoped but we are putting that behind us and using the playoffs as a fresh start,” Bradway said.