The Osakis boys basketball team put on a defensive clinic in the final game on day one of the Granite City Classic.
The Silverstreaks (8-0) overcame a sluggish offensive performance and scraped out a 48-41 win over the Rocori Spartans (2-4) at St. John's University.
“I thought we were very gutsy,” head coach Matt Hoelscher said. “Defensively, we played a solid game. Rocori is a physical team that comes at you hard. We lost them on the three-point line a couple of times in the first half. It was a little sloppy. We had that time off, and we weren’t on our game like we typically are. But you have to win the ugly games too.”
For most of the game, neither team could pull away. Each momentum swing answered with essential stops on defense. The turning point came late in the second half.
The Silverstreaks forced a steal that led to a free layup. The Spartans pushed the pace down the court only to have a layup attempt swatted off the glass by Brady Mages.
“I don’t really think about plays like that; I just don’t want them to score,” Mages said. “Coach always says that we can’t skip a beat on defense. That swing was huge, and we were fired up.”
Outside of Mages and starting center Kobie Lara, Osakis is a small team. With limited size on the roster, the big men understand how valuable they are in the paint.
“We know what our job is,” Mages said. “Kobie is really good, and he’s fun to play behind. I can learn a lot from him.”
With less than three minutes to play, Osakis held a four-point lead. However, they suffered a blow in the form of Daniel Savageau having to leave with an injury.
Savageau not only led the Silverstreaks in scoring with 17 points but is also their best threat behind the three-point line. Osakis relied on its depth at the guard positions to close out the win and stay undefeated.
“We have great guard play,” Hoelscher said. “We have leadership in that position with Daniel and Luke (Imdieke). Carter Grove and (Luke) Staloch are great in those positions. We have Bauer Klimek coming off the bench as a sophomore, who doesn’t panic and makes the right decisions. Don’t get me wrong, we want Daniel out there, but it is nice to see those guys step up.”
Osakis’ win over Rocori will be a building block for the rest of the season. The Silverstreaks beat an athletic Class AAA team. Getting the chance to play in big games early in the season gives them an early taste postseason basketball.
“Rocori is a good team with a lot of athletes,” Hoelscher said. “They won the state championship in football, so we know they’re quick and athletic. We took away cuts. They like to get it to the post, so we pushed them around. We made them put the ball on the floor. They like to catch and shoot, so we made them dribble. That was the key to our success.”
OSAKIS 29 19 - 48
ROCORI 30 11 - 41
OSAKIS TEAM STATS- 14-37 FGA, 3-10 3PA, 17-32 FTA, 8 assists, 30 rebounds, 10 steals, 10 turnovers;
OSAKIS- Luke Imdieke 5 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal; Kobe Lara 7 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal; Carter Grove 4 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals; Luke Staloch 6 points, 2 assists, 1 block, 7 rebounds, 1 steal; Bauer Klimek 2 assists, 1 block, 7 rebounds, 1 steal; Daniel Savageau 17 points, 2 assists, 8 rebounds, 1 steal; Brady Mages 9 points, 1 block, 5 rebounds, 2 steals