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Girls basketball: Osakis shocks fourth-ranked Sauk Centre despite being shorthanded

Osakis freshman Alecia Kaelke shoots during the second half against Sauk Centre on Friday night. Kaelke didn't play in the first half but made the most of her minutes after the break with seven points to help her team secure a win. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

The Osakis girls basketball team could have easily folded after 11 minutes had run off the clock against fourth-ranked Sauk Centre on Friday night.

The Silverstreaks were already down two key players coming into the game with the school’s all-time leading scorer Annalise Savageau out with a neck injury and sophomore post Brittney Sadlemyer sidelined with a concussion. When they looked up at the scoreboard with a little more than seven minutes left in the first half, it read Sauk Centre 31, Osakis 14.

It looked like the Mainstreeters might run away with things at that point. Instead, The Silverstreaks went on an 11-0 run to get back into a game that they eventually won 76-75 in overtime.  

“I don’t know in my 17 years coaching if I’ve ever been more proud of a team,” head coach Pat Kalpin said. “Just because when you have two girls out like we had, it creates opportunities for girls and every kid that came in tonight contributed in a positive way. I don’t know how many girls I played, nine or 10. I thought every girl stepped up their game.”

In the end it was two seniors who helped finish things off in overtime. Sauk Centre’s Julie Bushard hit a three with about 20 seconds left that gave her team a 75-74 lead. After a timeout, Osakis junior Alexa Hoffarth drove through the lane and set up senior Brooke Sorenson under the basket.

Sorenson was fouled and calmly stepped to the line and drained two free throws that proved to be the difference with 9.4 seconds left. Sauk Centre had a chance, but a three attempt missed and a putback fell off the rim as the buzzer sounded on the Silverstreaks biggest win of the season.

“I just tried to not think about all the pressure that was on and just think of it as another free throw,” Sorenson said. “It felt good [right when it left the hand.]”

Fellow senior Madi Forsell also saved her best for overtime as she scored five of her team’s eight points in the extra session. It was part of a night when almost everybody that stepped on the court made an important play along the way.

None were bigger than the way Hoffarth and Mackenzie Staloch stepped up their games at the guard spots. Both girls knew they needed to be at their best with Savageau out, and they were up to the challenge. Staloch hit five threes and finished with a team-high 20 points. Hoffarth ran the point for most of the game. She set up her teammates and added 12 points herself.

“I know that we both during the day were trying to think of ways to step up and do something for our team more than we usually do,” Staloch said. “Annalise is a key part of our team and we both together tried to fill her spot, so it took two of us to replace her. It feels really good to finally start making my shots and doing something for my team.”

They were two of the four players in double figures for Osakis as Sorenson had 14 and Forsell finished with 11. Johanna Boogaard added seven and Taylor Spychalla had five. Freshman Alecia Kaelke also gave the Silverstreaks big minutes in the second half with seven points. They needed all of that as the Mainstreeters put three players in double figures. Madison Moritz had a game-high 25. Amanda Weir added 18 and Bushard finished with 14.

Osakis started its rally with that 11-0 run late in the first half, but it was a Staloch triple at the buzzer that sent her team into the break down by just three that really seemed to turn the tide. The Silverstreaks came out of the half and quickly grabbed a 40-38 lead on a bucket and a free throw by Hoffarth.

Their biggest lead came midway through the second half when Sauk Centre head coach Scott Bergman got a technical for saying too much to the referee after he thought a foul should have been called on Osakis. Forsell made the two free throws to give her team a 52-44 lead.

The Mainstreeters wouldn’t go away down the stretch. They trailed by two in the closing seconds of regulation, but a drive and layup by Ali Peterson tied the game at 68 apiece. They led twice in overtime before the Silverstreaks made the plays to secure a win on a night when they were shorthanded.

“I had complete confidence in them that everyone would step up and do what they needed to do so we could win tonight,” Sorenson said of her teammates. “It just shows how good we can be and where we’re at competing against other teams in our section.”

The loss was the second in as many nights for the Mainstreeters and dropped them to 12-4. They also lost on Thursday in overtime in a 74-72 game against Montevideo.

The win moved Osakis to 16-2 overall. Both Savageau and Sadlemyer are expected back soon. But without them tonight, the Silverstreaks upped their confidence and proved that they should be considered right there with Sauk Centre and others as a Section 6AA contender.

“They know it,” Kalpin said. “And you know it’s not going to be an easy game if we play them again. It happened last year. We beat them last year in the regular season and they beat us in the postseason, but a game like tonight should make them feel like they can beat anybody. I think that’s the biggest thing.”  

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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