The Osakis boys basketball team has put away every opponent so far this season, but there have been times when the Silverstreaks are left wanting more.
Whether that is a slow start or fine-tuning things on either end of the court, coaches can find things to improve on. That will always be the case, but the Silverstreaks felt pretty good about the way they took care of business in an 88-57 win over Battle Lake on Tuesday night.
“I feel like tonight was a big statement for us because with us being an undefeated team, it feels like we haven’t really been playing like it lately,” senior forward Brandon Boogaard said. “Tonight was kind of a game for us to show we’re undefeated, this is why we’re undefeated and just prove why we are where we are.”
The Silverstreaks are 18-0 because they play to their strengths most nights. They do not have a typical big man who alters a game with size, so they do everything they can to get out and run.
That’s how they played against Battle Lake. The Battlers (5-11) stuck around for the first few minutes before Osakis erupted to grab a 46-23 lead at the half.
“They’re a team that likes to run too,” Boogaard said. “For us, it was kind of just who’s going to do it better. We kind of had that competitive edge to go out and do it better. Also, we don’t have that 6’6,” 200-pound guy like other teams around us do. We know we have the speed and that we have to go out and run and execute. That’s what we do.”
The Silverstreaks shot 57 percent (32-56) overall. They scored in transition and by moving the ball and getting dribble penetration from their guards that led to easy buckets around the rim in the half-court game. Osakis also knocked down 11-of-21 threes.
Six of those triples came from junior guard Daniel Savageau. He was his usual self with 22 points to go with seven steals, but he had plenty of help. Boogaard had a full line of 19 points, four assists and three rebounds, while Luke Imdieke had 12 points and seven assists and Kobie Lara added 10 points, as well.
“Games like this are hopefully building confidence for our players,” Osakis head coach Matt Hoelscher said. “Not just our starters, but our guys who come off the bench. I thought we got great minutes from a lot of guys tonight.”
That depth will be key if Osakis is going to get deep into the Section 8AA Tournament. They are the only unbeaten team in the section, but Perham (17-1) currently sits in front of them in the subsection in QRF rank through Minnesota-scores.net.
Boogaard said the team really doesn’t talk about being undefeated right now. They know there are areas to improve on in order to accomplish their ultimate goals.
“We definitely need to tighten some things up on defense,” Boogaard said. “For example tonight, they had way too many points in transition. We got to get some rotation stuff tightened up, but once we tighten that up, we’re going to be a dangerous team.”
Osakis has one more game this week at 1-15 Staples-Motley before three games next week. Part of that stretch includes a home contest against 14-4 Melrose. The Dutchmen have won six straight, including a 73-65 win over BOLD (17-1) on Jan. 31.
That’s a game Boogaard said players have circled on the calendar as a good measuring stick to see where they stand. Hoelscher spent time coaching under Melrose head coach Ryan Dusha and is still looking for that first win as a head coach against his former team.
“We play Melrose next week?” Hoelscher asked with a smile. “Yeah, it’s fun for me being as close to coach Dusha as I am, working there for six years under him. They’re always going to play well, and we’re anticipating a packed house. It will be fun.”
Hoelscher views the entirety of next week as a great test for his guys. Osakis is at Royalton (13-5, 7-1 Prairie) on Tuesday before Melrose on Thursday. The Silverstreaks then go to Long Prairie (5-11) on Friday night.
It’s been so far, so good for Osakis. If the Silverstreaks are still unbeaten after next week, they’ll have earned it.
“Three tough games in one week, and that’s going to be a huge test for us,” Hoelscher said. “I’m excited to see what our guys can do.”
OSAKIS 46 42 - 88
BATTLE LAKE 23 34 - 57
OSAKIS TOTALS - FG - 32-56; Three-point FG - 11-21; FT - 13-18; Assists - 21; Blocks - 2; Rebounds - 26; Steals - 11; Turnovers - 16
OSAKIS - Jacob Backes - 5 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds; Johnny Lara - 5 points, 1 assist, 2 rebounds; Luke Imdieke - 12 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal; Kobie Lara - 10 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds, 1 steal; Carter Grove - 5 points, 2 rebounds; Luke Staloch - 1 block, 4 rebounds; Bauer Klimek - 2 points, 1 assist; Owen Rajdl - 2 points; Carter Rost - 4 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal; Daniel Savageau - 22 points, 1 assist, 2 rebounds, 7 steals; Brandon Boogaard - 19 points, 4 assists, 1 block, 3 rebounds; Brady Mages - 2 points, 2 rebounds
BATTLE LAKE SCORING - Triley Leabo - 11; Brennan Amundson - 24; Brady VanErp - 5; Brady Scholten - 2; Eli Carlson - 2; Nick VanErp - 13