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Girls basketball: Osakis makes a section statement

Osakis’ Mackenzie Staloch looks for an open teammate during the second half against Sauk Centre. Staloch had a team-high 20 points against the Mainstreeters behind five three-pointers. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

If the rest of the Section 6AA field was still wondering where the Osakis girls fall in the pecking order of section contenders, they might have gotten some answers last Friday night.

The Silverstreaks (16-2) made a statement that they can compete with anyone in the field by not only beating a section favorite and fourth-ranked Sauk Centre (12-4) in a 76-75 overtime game. But they did so without two key contributors that are expected back soon.

Osakis’ all-time leading scorer Annalise Savageau was out with a neck injury that she suffered against Staples-Motley last Monday. The Silverstreaks lost that game 60-50 but bounced back to beat Swanville 63-34 three days later.

Sophomore post Brittney Sadlemyer was also still sidelined with a concussion against the Mainstreeters on Friday. That, coupled with the fact that the Silverstreaks fell behind by 17 points after almost 11 minutes had run off the clock, made an Osakis win look unlikely early on.

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 in dramatic fashion.

“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.”

Sauk Centre’s Julie Bushard hit a three with about 20 seconds left in overtime 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.

She was fouled and calmly stepped to the line and drained two free throws that proved to be the difference with 9.4 seconds left.

“I just tried to not think about all the pressure that was on and just think of it as another free throw,” Sorenson said.

Fellow senior Madi Forsell added 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.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Alexa Hoffarth,” Kalpin said. “She’s one we put a lot of weight on her shoulders. She went through growing pains in this game, but she grew up big time tonight.”

Hoffarth and Staloch 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.”

Osakis got contributions from all over the court. 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.

The Silverstreaks came out of the halftime break and quickly grabbed a 40-38 lead on a bucket and a free throw by Hoffarth. They led by as many as eight in the second half, but Sauk Centre wouldn’t go away down the stretch.

The Mainstreeters trailed by two in the closing seconds, 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.”


OSAKIS 32 36 8 – 76

SAUK CENTRE 35 33 7 – 75

OSAKIS TOTALS – FG – 24-52; Three-point FG – 9-18; FT – 19-30; Assists – 16; Blocks – 3; Rebounds – 33; Steals – 3; Turnovers – 25

OSAKIS – Hoffarth – 12 points, 3 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 steal; Staloch – 20 points, 1 assist, 5 rebounds, 1 steal; Abby Stroup – 1 assist; Hannah Szech – 1 assist, 1 rebound; Sorenson – 14 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds; Spychalla – 5 points, 1 rebound; Forsell – 11 points, 5 assists, 1 block, 9 rebounds, 1 steal; Boogaard – 7 points, 2 blocks, 5 rebounds; Kaelke – 7 points, 3 rebounds

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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