The Osakis boys basketball team does not have much margin for error through the final games of the regular season as it pertains to section seeding in the 6AA field.
The section is loaded at the top with four teams falling right in line through the state rankings on Minnesota-scores.net. Eden Valley-Watkins (21-1, No. 10 ranked in Class AA), Osakis (21-2, No. 11), Albany (15-6, No. 12) and Melrose (18-6, No. 13) headline a section that has eight programs with at least 14 wins.
“Once the tournament comes, it’s going to be a battle,” Osakis senior forward Kobie Lara said. “There’s a ton of good teams in our section, and it should be a good one.”
That’s why every win matters right now, and Osakis made sure to take care of business in an 81-49 win over fellow 6AA foe Holdingford (10-12) on Tuesday in the Silverstreaks’ final home game of the regular season.
“It was our defense from the get-go,” Osakis head coach Matt Hoelscher said. “Our defense created our offense. We were able to turn them over, and then we just got out and ran. Kobie was aggressive attacking the rim. Daniel (Savageau) and Bauer (Klimek) hitting some shots, and we attacked on back screens. We just put the pedal to the floor right away.”
The Silverstreaks did it without senior guard Luke Imdieke, who was home sick. Klimek stepped into the starting lineup in Imdieke’s absence and scored 16 points and dished out five assists.
Klimek was one of four players in double figures for Osakis. Lara shot 9-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-3 from three, on his way to 24 points, 12 rebounds and four steals.
“A lot of it begins with Kobie in our zone (defense),” Hoelscher said. “If he’s active, then we get steals and we get run-outs. He’s out running the floor and he finished well around the basket. We had such unselfish passing too...All around, it was a very unselfish game. It was fun tonight, especially without having Luke (Imdieke) there.”
Savageau had 17 points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals. Luke Staloch was Osakis’ fourth scorer in double figures with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
That kind of balance is the blueprint the Silverstreaks want to follow in order to go deep into the playoffs.
“We can’t rely on Daniel trying to drop 28 or 30,” Hoelscher said. “If we can get four guys in double digits and assists from multiple guys, that’s how we have to play. When we face better teams who have lockdown defense, it’s going to take a guy like Kobie to hit some threes like he did tonight. Staloch to get some threes or put-backs. (Carter) Grove, Bauer, Luke attacking the rim and Carter Rost doing what he does. It was great to see everyone do a part of that tonight.”
The Silverstreaks will have a good argument of getting the No. 1 seed if they can win their final three road games at Upsala, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.
“We kind of pay attention to it, but we just play our best and hope for the best,” Lara said.
Osakis handed Eden Valley-Watkins its only loss of the season in the season opener and also beat Melrose on the Dutchmen’s home court on Dec. 19. Albany owns a head-to-head win over Osakis from the Granite City Classic on Dec. 28, but that came without Savageau in the lineup for the Silverstreaks after he suffered a minor injury the day before.
“Bottom line, you got to beat everybody,” Hoelscher said. “You can look at it and say, ‘Jeez, do we really want to play Melrose? Do we want to play Annandale? Albany?’ It’s a crapshoot, so we just want to make sure we put ourselves in a position where we have a good chance at winning. It’s going to go down to the wire. Obviously, a top four seed is nice, but we’ll just play whoever shows up.”
Hoelscher likes the way his guys are playing right now, while saying there is room to improve with things like consistent focus on defense for 36 minutes.
The Silverstreaks have proven themselves as one of the contenders in the Section 6AA field. Now it will take playing their best basketball down the stretch to get the job done.
“Just staying disciplined on the defensive end all the time,” Hoelscher said. “Offensively, it’s running our stuff and taking the best shot available. When we do that, we like our chances against anybody.”
OSAKIS 55 26 - 81
HOLDINGFORD 23 26 - 49
OSAKIS TOTALS - FG - 32-66; Three-point FG - 10-29; FT - 7-15; Assists - 24; Rebounds - 38; Steals - 17; Turnovers - 11
OSAKIS - Kobie Lara - 24 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals; Carter Grove - 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal; Luke Staloch - 14 points, 2 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals; Bauer Klimek - 16 points, 5 assists, 1 block, 1 rebound, 3 steals; Tyson Lien - 2 points; Carter Rost - 4 points, 1 assist, 3 rebounds, 2 steals; Waylon Muenzhuber - 1 assist, 1 steal; Daniel Savageau - 17 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals; Carter Watnaas - 2 points, 3 rebounds; Brady Mages - 2 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds
HOLDINGFORD SCORING - Aaron Welle - 7; Blake Niemeyer - 14; Gerod Voller - 2; Kyle Gill - 2; Blake Panek - 4; Braden Bomgaars - 6; Jake Ethen - 10; Christian Willoughby - 1