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Boys basketball: Pushed to overtime, Osakis survives the Panthers to move to 8-0

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Osakis' Johnny Lara (left), Kobie Lara (middle, facing) and Luke Imdieke (right) celebrate with Daniel Savageau after a behind-the-back pass from Savageau to Imdieke led to a bucket and a foul against Parkers Prairie on Friday night. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)2 / 6
Parkers Prairie junior guard Alex Koep floats to the basket for two of his 27 points in Osakis on Friday night. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)3 / 6
Osakis' Luke Imdieke and Parkers Prairie's Andrew Warren meet near the rim on a drive by Imdieke in the first half of Friday night's contest in Osakis. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)4 / 6
Osakis senior guard Johnny Lara gets to the basket for a layup during the first half of Friday's win over Parkers Prairie. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)5 / 6
Parkers Prairie junior center Josh Helling gets to the basket for two of his nine points on Friday. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)6 / 6

Fans are starting to view the Osakis boys basketball team as must-see entertainment this season. Parkers Prairie fans travel well, too.

The end result was a nearly packed gym in Osakis on Friday night that created quite an atmosphere in a matchup of talented area teams. Parkers Prairie came in with a 5-2 record, but it looked like Osakis might roll to 8-0 after jumping out to a double-digit lead. Instead, it took overtime before the Silverstreaks did get that win to stay perfect with a 75-67 victory.

“I think it was just perseverance,” Osakis head coach Matt Hoelscher said. “We were outsized down in the post, and their guards were really good. We maybe had a little deeper bench, which might have helped us down the stretch. Then we just got some key rebounds. We gutted it out.”

Osakis controlled the four-minute overtime session, outscoring the Panthers 11-3. It was a two-point game when senior guard Johnny Lara caught a pass on the right wing. He released it without hesitation for a three that proved to be one of the bigger shots of the contest as the Silverstreaks kept Parkers Prairie at an arm’s length from there.

“My teammates did a good job of trusting me, and I just had to execute. Take the shot.” Lara said. “My teammates trusted me, and I’m thankful for them. I was like, ‘It better go in.’”

Lara was a big part of Osakis getting off to a fast start. He had 14 points by the half, and the Silverstreaks seemed to be on their way to taking control. At one point, Daniel Savageau started a fastbreak and went behind his back with a pass to Luke Imdieke. Imdieke finished with a foul and free throw added to it that got the home crowd going.

Parkers Prairie, and junior guard Alex Koep in particular, never went away. The Panthers kept it within eight points by the break at 33-25. Then in the second half, Koep went to work. He finished with 27 points total, including 19 after halftime.

Koep was constantly in attack mode, getting to the basket and finishing around the rim. He hit just one three, but used his quickness to help the Panthers build a 60-54 lead with about four minutes left.

“He’s done that a few times, really sparked either comebacks or runs for us that have won us games or got us back into games,” Panthers head coach Mike Felt said. “He’s a very gifted player. He’ll be fun to watch this year and the next year, that’s for sure.”

Felt was proud of the way his guys played. Parkers Prairie was without one of its most experienced and best athletes in future North Dakota State University football player Travis Yohnke. Yohnke has a sprained ankle, and the Panthers are being cautious with him with so much season left.

“Even without Travis, I think we can impact teams defensively,” Felt said. “I think we’re very good and disciplined defensively. We work hard, and this might come back to help us out to have some other guys play some different roles and get comfortable doing things they might have not had to do with Travis in the lineup.”

The Panthers were 5-1 before back-to-back close losses now to Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and Osakis this week, but Felt said it’s a long season that should allow a relatively new-look group for Parkers Prairie to continue to gel together.

Osakis is trying to be at its best come tournament time, with the hope of making a long playoff run. Hoelscher huddled his guys together for a while after this one was over. He wanted to make sure they understood how important it is to play a full game if they are going to get where they want to go.

“You have to play the entire game for 36 minutes, and you saw tonight that we had our lead and kind of let our guard down,” Hoelscher said. “We took some bad shots, had some turnovers, gave up too many open threes and they used their posts and got some offensive boards and put-backs. Again, we get in those lulls for six, seven, eight minutes, and it hurts us. We were very fortunate to get out of here with a win against a good team like this.”

Hoelscher liked the way his guys played in the overtime. They made some adjustments defensively and kept Koep from getting to the basket.

Offensively, they made enough shots to secure the win. Savageau, J. Lara and Brandon Boogaard all finished in double figures with 21, 17 and 16 points, respectively.

“We had chances in those four minutes (of overtime), and we took care of those chances,” Hoelscher said.

Lara said if there is an area for this team to improve on, it’s on the defensive end. After dominating so many of their early games, the Silverstreaks have been pushed in single-digit wins in two of their last three contests.

There’s room for growth, but they are unbeaten and continuing to gain confidence with more than half the season left to be played.

“We can’t win these games without defense,” Lara said. “Going into the second half of the season, we’re confident. We trust each other, and we’re a team that is really ready for the second half of the season and to go far.”

OSAKIS                        33 31 11 - 75

PARKERS PRAIRIE         25 39 3 - 67

OSAKIS TOTALS - FG - 26-51; Three-point FG - 5-11; FT - 18-24; Assists - 12; Blocks - 1; Rebounds - 27; Steals - 6; Turnovers - 7

OSAKIS - Johnny Lara - 17 points, 3 assists, 1 block, 4 rebounds, 1 steal; Luke Imdieke - 8 points, 2 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals; Kobie Lara - 9 points, 9 rebounds; Carter Grove - 2 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal; Carter Rost - 2 points, 1 rebound; Daniel Savageau - 21 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal; Brandon Boogaard - 16 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal

PARKERS PRAIRIE SCORING - Alex Koep - 27; Noah Koep - 10; Eli Simonson - 6; Andrew Warren - 6; Josh Helling - 9; Preston Yohnke - 6; Riley Thoennes - 3

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.

(320) 763-1229