Girls' basketball: Experience, patience play off for SilverstreaksOsakis is being rewarded after battling through a couple of tough seasons
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
Osakis girls’ basketball coach Pat Kalpin watched his team struggle through a 7-19 season three years ago and felt what this group needed more than anything was pretty simple: patience.
That’s what he preached to them as they took their lumps as underclassmen playing at the varsity level. That’s what kept them in the gym despite a two-year stretch where the Silverstreaks went 19-35. Now six games into a perfect start to the season, that same group of athletes is starting to see the fruits of their labor.
“They’ve grown a lot,” Kalpin said. “Look at them. Two years ago, we were 12-16. A year before that, we were 7-19, last year 16-12. We’ve just gradually made that jump. I just kept telling them, ‘You guys have to be patient. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s not going to happen in two weeks. It’s going to take a few years.’ ”
The Silverstreaks used to be the ones being knocked on their heels going up against girls three and four years older than them. Last Thursday, some of those same players were the ones delivering the pressure in a 52-22 win over Melrose.
Osakis used a 12-0 run late in the first half to take a 27-13 lead into the break. The Silverstreaks never let up after that, outscoring the Dutchmen 25-9 to run away with things in the final 18 minutes.
The Silverstreaks’ pressure caused Melrose fits as the Dutchmen shot just 18 percent from the field. That allowed Osakis to win by 30 when they shot just 33 percent themselves.
“It’s one of those things that we talk about every single day,” Kalpin said. “I always say your defense can always be consistent. Sometimes shooting isn’t going to be consistent. Defense is the one thing that can be consistent day in and day out. That was the key tonight.”
Having Annalise Savageau at the point doesn’t hurt, either. The junior guard finished with a game-high 19 points and four steals. Becka Sadlemyer added 16 points and seven rebounds, while Madi Forsell had a nice all-around game with four points, five assists and nine rebounds.
The Silverstreaks have gotten much more balanced scoring across the board. It’s clear the Silverstreaks are gaining confidence up and down their lineup.
The key going forward will be sustaining this early momentum against talented competition. Osakis will know exactly where it stands among its peers after embarking on a difficult schedule that includes the likes of Parkers Prairie (5-0), Litchfield (5-0), Sauk Centre (5-0) and Staples-Motley (5-2).
That’s the non-conference portion of the schedule. Prairie Conference champion Upsala is also ranked seventh in the Class A polls and was 3-0 after a win over Browerville early last week. The Silverstreaks play two games against the Cardinals, the first of which comes Thursday night in Upsala.
“I love playing those teams,” Kalpin said. “It’s one of those things where we got to add a couple games because Eagle Valley dropped out of our conference. I told [activities director] Brad [Hoffarth], ‘Go after [Parkers Prairie and Litchfield]. I know Parkers is going to be very good. Then Litchfield is in our section, I said, ‘Get them.’ I’m not afraid to play the good teams. It’s going to make us better, win or lose.”
Osakis seems much more prepared to take on those kinds of teams than it might have been in the past.
“We’re a lot more prepared than last year,” Savageau said. “There are going to be tougher teams this year, but I think we can try to win those ones, too.”
All it took was a little patience.
MELROSE 13 9 – 22
OSAKIS 27 25 – 52
OSAKIS TOTALS – FG – 20-59; Three-point field goals – 5-13; Free throws – 7-10; Rebounds – 44; Assists – 14; Blocks – 8; Steals – 8; Turnovers – 11
OSAKIS – Tayler Waldvogel – 3 assists, 2 rebounds; Savageau – 19 points, 1 block, 5 rebounds, 4 steals; Brooke Sorenson – 4 points, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 9 rebounds, 1 steal; Mariah Backes – 1 assist, 2 rebounds; Dani Chisholm – 2 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound, 1 steal; Mackenzie Staloch – 2 points, 1 block, 1 rebound; Brittney Sadlemyer – 5 points, 1 block, 5 rebounds; Mikayla Wolbeck – 2 rebounds; Be. Sadlemyer – 16 points, 3 blocks, 7 rebounds, 2 steals; Madi Forsell – 4 points, 5 assists, 9 rebounds; Johanna Boogaard – 1 rebound
MELROSE SCORING – Emily Tschida – 2; Tayler Reller – 10; Gabi Sawyer – 6; Justine Revermann – 2; Sheila Peopping – 2