The Osakis boys basketball team moved back into Section 6AA this season, and the Silverstreaks wasted no time testing themselves against another talented team in that field.
Osakis welcomed in Eden Valley-Watkins for the season opener in what turned into a game of runs. The Silverstreaks eventually made the final push to get the 57-47 win.
“At times it was a little frustrating because we have a senior-led team,” Osakis coach Matt Hoelscher said after a double-digit lead slipped away after the break. “In the second half with only scoring 17 points, I just think we kind of got out of our offense a little bit. We were kind of going 1-on-2, 1-on-3, taking quick shots. Give Eden Valley credit. They took away our drive for the most part, and had great help-side (defense). We found a way to finish.”
Osakis looked like it might run away with things in the first half when the Silverstreaks knocked down seven threes. Sophomore guard Bauer Klimek had three of those on his way to nine points, and senior Daniel Savageau added 12 points as they led Osakis to a 40-25 advantage at the half.
“We came out really hot in the first half,” Osakis senior guard Carter Grove said. “We slowed down in the second half. I think it’s just something we have to work on, and we’ll definitely get better at it.”
Eden Valley-Watkins’ Dylan Utecht led his team back after halftime. The senior guard knocked down back-to-back threes to gain some early momentum, and he made it a 41-36 game with 13 minutes left after a layup in transition.
Utecht had 16 points overall. Eagles’ 6-foot, 8-inch junior Joshua Streit added 16, as well. Streit was a primary focus for Osakis defensively, but Utecht surprised the Silverstreaks a bit with his ability to bring his team back.
“He hit some big shots,” Hoelscher said. “We just got to find ways for our guys to recognize that and know when he hits two or three in a row, now we got to get out and guard him.”
The Eagles got it to as close as three in the second half before Osakis created a little more distance. Savageau hit a three, and Grove got out in transition for a layup that made it an eight-point game with about eight minutes left. Eden Valley got it to within four again, but never could get it to a one-possession game down the stretch.
Osakis is going to play its style of shooting threes and getting to the basket with an up-tempo approach. That lends itself to an entertaining game and often a lot of points, but it also creates situations sometimes where a team like the Eagles could get back in the game.
“What we have to do is understand what’s a good shot versus a great shot,” Hoelscher said. “We want to play fast, but we want to make sure when we have a lead, we take care of it. We’ll try to run some sets and guys have to know that if the shot’s not there, we don’t have to force it. We feel we’ve got great guard play where if we don’t get anything, eventually we will.”
The Silverstreaks’ usual suspects from a 26-2 season a year ago were good again in the opener. Savageau finished with 16 points. Luke Imdieke had 10 and Luke Staloch had seven.
Sophomore newcomers Klimek and forward Brady Mages also had important stretches. Klimek’s fourth three of the night made it a 54-45 Osakis lead with almost 3:45 left. It came right after Mages had hit a couple big free throws to stretch the lead to six.
“It’s awesome to see those guys step up,” Grove said. “They’ll be really important (to this team).”
Klimek finished as Osakis’ second-leading scorer with 12 points. Both he and Mages played the roles that coaches want to see them play around an otherwise experienced lineup.
“They’re doing exactly what we ask them to,” Hoelscher said. “Brady comes in and we ask him to be a rebounder, a great defender, and when he has his opportunities on offense, go ahead and take them. We thought he played great defense tonight. Bauer, he’s a shooter. We keep telling him, if you’re open go ahead and take it.”
Klimek shot the ball with a lot of confidence, and Hoelscher wants to see all his guys play with a confidence to their game even when things are not going well. Things weren’t always perfect in the season opener, but Osakis was able to fight through and get the win.
“We just got to find a way to play confident all the time, whether your game is on or not,” Hoelscher said. “Defensively, we got to get better. We still held them to 47 points, but we gave up too many good looks. Overall, our guys did their job. They played well, and we just need to build off it because it doesn’t get any easier for us.”
OSAKIS 40 17 - 57
EV-W 25 22 - 47
OSAKIS TOTALS - FG - 17-44; Three-point FG - 9-21; FT - 14-23; Assists - 13; Rebounds - 27; Steals - 8; Turnovers - 10
SCORING - EDEN VALLEY-WATKINS - Luke Jansen - 5; Carson Geislinger - 3; Dylan Utecht - 16; Joshua Streit - 16; Adam Stommes - 7
OSAKIS - Luke Imdieke - 10 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 3 steals; Kobie Lara - 1 point, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal; Carter Grove - 6 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals; Luke Staloch - 7 points, 2 assists, 6 rebounds; Bauer Klimek - 12 points, 1 block, 1 rebound; Daniel Savageau - 16 points, 1 assist, 7 rebounds; Brady Mages - 5 points, 1 assist, 4 rebounds