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Lack of effort early costs Osakis girls against Litchfield

Osakis' Madi Forsell (left) and Annalise Savageau (right) fight for a loose ball with Litchfield's Hannah Norlin on Saturday afternoon. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

The Osakis girls’ basketball team waited too long to bring the kind of energy the Silverstreaks needed against a good team like Litchfield on Saturday afternoon.

Osakis found itself down by 12 with less than 10 minutes to go when the Silverstreaks responded with a 9-0 run. That got them back in it, but it still wasn’t quite enough as the Dragons handed them their first loss of the season in a 48-47 game. Ultimately, a stretch of about nine minutes where Osakis scored just two points to start the second half proved to be too much to overcome.

“The energy level wasn’t where it should have been,” head coach Pat Kalpin said. “I have no explanation for that other than it just wasn’t there. They certainly worked harder than us and it was easy to tell. That’s one thing we talked about at halftime. It’s a choice that you have. Either that team’s going to come in here and work harder than you or you try to work harder than them. Up until about seven minutes left, something got us going and made a difference, but it’s kind of a bummer because it’s something we talk about every single day.”

Osakis still had a chance to tie the game on the final possession. Kalpin called a timeout with 21 seconds left and his team down by three. They set up a play to get a quick two with the intentions of fouling after that. They never had that chance.

Senior guard Annalise Savageau fumbled the ball on the inbounds catch past the three-point line and lost her dribble. She held the ball for a few seconds as her teammates worked to get open. Savageau got the ball back after handing it off to a teammate, but the seconds were ticking down when the ball was sent into the post. Johanna Boogaard eventually hit a short shot in the lane but Osakis needed the three as time expired.

“We had a little trouble getting the ball in, but we ended up getting it to me,” Savageau said. “I kind of fumbled it and I wasn’t able to dribble so that lost time off the clock. We were going to get a quick two and then foul right away. We ran out of time, and we just did the wrong thing at the end by not shooting a three.”

Savageau had a team-high 17 points, while fellow senior Brooke Sorenson added 11. Mackenzie Staloch also had nine points on a night when only six players scored for the Silverstreaks.

Litchfield’s Hannah Norlin controlled the paint on both ends of the court. Osakis’ post players were held to just four points, all coming from Boogaard. Brittney Sadlemyer didn’t score in the contest. Norlin led all scorers with 26 points, including a couple of big baskets late when the Silverstreaks were making their run.

The loss dropped Osakis to 1-1 on the season after opening up with a win against Morris Area on Thursday night.

“I think between Morris and Litchfield, two good teams to start off with in the regular season, it’s only going to help us,” Kalpin said. “We’re going to learn from this game. It’s a loss, but we’re going to learn from it, that’s for sure. We’ll watch film and see what we need to work on. Good teams exploit your weaknesses and we certainly had some weaknesses tonight, but our effort can’t be a weakness. That’s the thing that’s probably the most frustrating is the effort. If we get our effort where it should be every game, we’ll be fine. They need to understand that.”

Trying to get this team to play with effort is something Kalpin hasn’t had to do too often with this group of players. That’s why it was so surprising to him. It’s also why he believes it should be easily correctable going forward.

The Silverstreaks have high expectations after returning almost everyone from a 22-4 team a year ago. They now hope to use the lessons learned from an early-season loss to help them accomplish the lofty goals that they have going forward.

“We just have to learn from our mistakes and fix them throughout the season,” Savageau said. “Then just put it behind us and move on.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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