Boys basketball: Melrose ends Osakis’ unbeaten run at 23 games
Melrose senior guard Preston Keaveny found himself alone in the open court in a scoreless game early in Osakis on Monday night and decided to try to set the tone.
Keaveny jumped well above the rim and cocked back what would have been a hammer dunk, but the ball caromed off the back of the rim. Maybe the product of being a little too amped up in front of a huge crowd that eagerly anticipated this matchup between undefeated Osakis and a 19-win Dutchmen team.
“We were hyped up coming into this,” Keaveny said. “The crowd in here was nuts. You couldn’t hear the coaches or anything. It was fun.”
The Dutchmen played with a toughness and energy all night that halted Osakis’ winning streak at 23 games. Melrose (20-4) won 60-55 and kept the Silverstreaks (23-1) at an arm’s length throughout much of the second half. It marks the 12th straight win for the Dutchmen.
“Being they were undefeated, we came in thinking we were going to be the team to take them down,” Keaveny said. “Sometimes it was a little iffy, but we ended up getting the win.”
Osakis got it to a 26-26 tie after a Daniel Savageau bucket with almost 15 minutes left. From there, Melrose went on a 7-0 run behind threes from Grant Moscho and Mason Heidgerken on back-to-back possessions. The Dutchmen never gave the lead back as the Silverstreaks found themselves fighting from behind the rest of the night.
“We knew it was going to be a good game,” Savageau said. “Melrose always pushes us hard, and we battled through. It was a heck of a game, and they just ended up on top.”
Savageau had a game-high 26 points as he knocked down four threes and shot 10-of-20 overall. Fellow junior guard Luke Imdieke added 14 points, but Melrose limited Osakis’ other primary scorer, senior forward Brandon Boogaard, to just two points on 1-of-6 shooting.
The Silverstreaks have been at their best this season when getting in transition and having their guards attack on dribble penetration. Melrose made that difficult all night.
“Every screen, they were trapping, switching or hedging,” Savageau said. “Then they were clogging up the paint. We like to get inside and kick out, and they did a good job of taking that away from us.”
Osakis head coach Matt Hoelscher felt his guys responded pretty well to the physical game that Melrose played, but it’s a style that the Dutchmen bring on every possession.
“If you don’t match that physicality, it’s going to be tough,” Hoelscher said. “We missed some bunnies, and we got hurt a little bit on giving up too many offensive rebounds tonight.”
Keaveny caused Osakis problems with his defense and his offense. He made up for that missed dunk early with an emphatic dunk later in the first half on his way to scoring 11 of his 15 points in the opening 18 minutes. That helped give his team a two-point lead at the break.
Sophomore forward Rowan Nelson added 15 points, and Moscho took over in the second half. The sophomore guard knocked down two big threes and then put the game away from the free-throw line on his way to a team-high 20 points.
“You have Keaveny who can score, Moscho can score,” Hoelscher said. “Moscho is such a good three-point shooter, and they set a lot of screens for him. They just got guys who fill a lot of spots. If a guy goes down, they have guys who are going to come in and set great screens, play good defense, pass well and they can board. If you don’t have five guys who can match that, they’re going to beat you.”
On paper, one might look at the records and think the Dutchmen pulled off an upset, but many of the numbers don’t show that. Even at 23-1, Osakis is 19th in the QRF through Minnesota-scores.net. Melrose is 10th in those same rankings. Hoelscher was optimistic about the way his guys competed against a program he has a lot of respect for.
“Some guys were bummed, but I told them this is not an upset,” he said. “Melrose is a great team. Most people in the state didn’t think we would win. The fact we played them to five points just shows us how good we can be.”
It was the type of atmosphere and opponent that Osakis will see if it makes a deep run into the playoffs. The Silverstreaks will likely be the second seed in the 8AA South bracket when the field is set on March 2. Perham, also 23-1, has a hold of the top seed in the field through the QRF with the fifth best ranking in the state.
With their undefeated run behind them, the Silverstreaks are not dwelling on one loss with just two games left in the regular season. They will take the lessons learned from it, move on and see how it can help them when the playoffs start in early March.
“This was a playoff atmosphere, and we loved it,” Savageau said. “It would have been super cool to have an Osakis team go undefeated the whole year, but that’s over now. This loss will get us better for the playoffs, I feel.”
OSAKIS 22 33 - 55
MELROSE 24 36 - 60
OSAKIS TOTALS - FG - 21-43; Three-point FG - 6-14; FT - 7-10; Assists - 6; Blocks - 3; Rebounds - 18; Steals - 3; Turnovers - 12
OSAKIS - Johnny Lara - 2 rebounds, 1 steal; Luke Imdieke - 14 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds; Kobie Lara - 8 points, 1 block, 2 rebounds; Carter Grove - 1 rebound; Luke Staloch - 3 points; Carter Rost - 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal; Daniel Savageau - 26 points, 1 assist, 4 rebounds, 1 steal; Brandon Boogaard - 2 points, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 3 rebounds
MELROSE SCORING - Carter Tschida - 2; Grant Moscho - 20; Mason Heidgerken - 3; Adam Helmin - 2; Cooper Goerdt - 2; Preston Keaveny - 15; Rowan Nelson - 15