Boys' basketball: Osakis searching for answers
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
The Osakis boys were left hoping a few days away from the game would help them regroup.
The Silverstreaks had an opportunity to carry some momentum into their Christmas break last Thursday. They had a 1-4 team down by three at the half on their home court only to watch Bertha-Hewitt outscore them by 15 points in the final 18 minutes. That carried the Bears to a 57-45 win and left Osakis still searching for that elusive first win.
“It’s just one of those things where we don’t have a lot of experience,” head coach Matt Hoelscher said. “It’s going to happen in these games right away, getting nervous, turning the ball over, not looking for shots. Hopefully this Christmas break will do us some good, and we can come back more confident.”
The Silverstreaks positioned themselves to give Hoelscher the first win of his coaching career through the first half. Doug Zimmel had 10 points during that stretch as he and Drew Fearing both had two threes to help their team to a 25-22 lead at the break.
That offense went missing in the second half. Osakis scored just two points through the first eight minutes after the break as the Bears took a 35-27 lead. They never relinquished that behind 19 points from Michael Grewe and 13 from Preston Riewer.
“I think we got a little tentative,” Hoelscher said of the second half. “That’s kind of been our thing this year. When things are close, we’re kind of in a game, we just find a way to turn the ball over, not get back defensively, just doing uncharacteristic things right now that are kind of hurting us.”
Hoelscher wanted to see his team clean up a lot of those little things to give them a chance when the offense isn’t clicking. The Bears played a lot of zone defense that Osakis struggled to shoot them out of in the second half. The Silverstreaks didn’t get many good looks as Bertha-Hewitt took control.
“Some of these unforced turnovers that we have, the lane-line to lane-line kind of stuff and just not reading the defense very well, that’s been our biggest issue right now,” Hoelscher said. “Rebounding has been, too…it just boils down to an attitude. That’s what rebounding is. You’ve got to want the basketball, and we’re not there yet. We drill it every day and hopefully it will just instill in the guys after Christmas,.”
Osakis also struggled without one of its senior leaders on the court for much of the second half. Zimmel was forced to the bench with his fourth foul early in the second half when he was called for an offensive foul.
Zimmel scored just two points from the free throw line in the second half. His 12 points led the team on a night when Osakis shot 40 percent from the field. Kilar Zimmel added 11 points and Fearing finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Osakis can’t afford to have one of its best shooters on the bench for extended periods of time. The Silverstreaks have averaged less than 42 points per game through the current six-game losing streak. That’s the lowest of any team in the Prairie Conference.
Osakis will open up its schedule after the break with Battle Lake (5-2) on December 29 and Upsala (5-0) on January 3. The Silverstreaks will then battle a 3-4 St. John’s Prep team before taking on 6-1 Browerville and welcoming in defending Class A state champion Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (8-0) on January 14.
“It doesn’t get any easier for us,” Hoelscher said. “We’ve got Battle Lake and Upsala coming up. Every game is a grind for us, and we’ve just got to find a way to keep ourselves in it to the end.”
OSAKIS 25 20 – 45
B-H 22 35 – 57
OSAKIS TOTALS – FG – 17-42; Three-point FG – 7-16; Free throws – 4-9; Assists – 7; Rebounds – 22; Steals – 11; Turnovers – 9
OSAKIS – Lane Berberich – 3 points, 2 assists, 2 steals; K. Zimmel – 11 points, 1 assist, 6 rebounds, 1 steal; Hunter Scherr – 8 points, 1 assist, 3 rebounds, 1 steal; Brandon Giesler – 1 point; Fearing – 10 points, 1 assist, 7 rebounds, 4 steals; John Piekarski – 1 rebound; D. Zimmel – 12 points, 2 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal
B-H SCORING – Riewer – 13; Travis Eckel – 4; Riley Boehland – 5; Jordan Frethem – 8; Grewe – 19; Michael Bloch – 6; Michael Mousseau – 2