The Osakis girls basketball team has been a relatively young group over the last couple seasons, but that has led to a little bit more experience to build around heading into this winter.
The Silverstreaks took a step forward last winter, going from a five-win season in 2018-19 to an 11-16 mark in 2019-20. The Silverstreaks lost team MVP Madisen Johanson from last year’s team, but they return two other All-Prairie Conference players to help try to take another step in guards Alexis Johanson and Mara VanNyhuis.
“We have quite a few girls returning from our team last season,” head coach Pat Kalpin said. “Our expectations are to work hard, improve, play together and have fun. The beginning of seasons are always exciting because girls compete really hard. It's fun seeing that competitiveness, especially this year with the girls not having any competition for six weeks.”
Alexis Johanson led Osakis in three-point shooting (32.1%), steals (36) and points-per game (14.1) on her way to earning All-Section 6AA honors last winter.
Grace Oeltjen is another senior guard who is back after she was named honorable-mention all-conference with teammate Alexa Lien last season. Oeltjen was this team’s defensive player of the year when postseason honors were handed out.
“I think our biggest strength will be our depth and our overall team speed,” Kalpin said. “We have the ability to play a full-court game with the versatility of the players we have returning. We can be a really good defensive team that can get after teams in the full court.”
Kalpin said the biggest challenge early in the season will be evaluating where the girls are at physically with such a long layoff without team activities.
“I know that many of the girls have stayed active during the pause, but also know that some haven't done much during the pause,” Kalpin said. “I'm not as concerned as much about the skill as I am just getting back into good physical shape for basketball. I don't think it would be fair to the girls and team if our expectations were any different this year. We do know that the season will be a bit shorter, but we will approach this season just like any other.”
The Silverstreaks went through up-and-down stretches last season that included winning six of eight games midseason before dropping three straight to end the year. Osakis hopes to find more consistency with experienced players back playing in a tough Section 6AA field.
“We need to create lineups that strive to play together and support each other,” Kalpin said. “We know we have a ton of talent on this team, which is certainly important, but more importantly is using that ability they each have to create the best team possible. If the girls understand their own roles on this team and each other's role, then this team has the ability to reach its potential.”
2021 OSAKIS GIRLS BASKETBALL
SENIORS - Anna Wolf, Brooke Brieter, Grace Oeltjen, Julianna Collins, Kadyn Triebenbach
JUNIORS - Alexis Johanson, Alexis Klimek, Hayleigh Niehoff, Lexi Spychalla, Mara VanNyhuis, Tessa Stanek
SOPHOMORES - Kiley Kranz, Larissa Hoffarth, Madi Collins
FRESHMEN - Bria Hoffarth, Carlee Muenzhuber, Dariana Meyer, Hailey Walker, Kaiya Sandaker, Kianna Kendall, Lauren Anderson, Lydia McLaughlin, Madeline Anderson, Maggie Dirkes
OSAKIS GIRLS BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Jan. 15 vs. LPGE, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 21 at Upsala, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 25 at Maple Lake, 7:15 p.m.
Jan. 29 at Sauk Centre, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 2 at Browerville-EV, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 5 at Barnesville, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 9 vs. Browerville-EV, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 11 vs. Swanville, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 18 vs. Melrose Area, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 19 vs. Upsala, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 23 at Minnewaska, 7:15 p.m.
Feb. 25 at Swanville, 7:15 p.m.
March 2 at Benson, 7:15 p.m.
March 4 at LPGE, 7:15 p.m.
March 5 vs. Morris Area, 6 p.m.
March 8 vs. Little Falls, 7:15 p.m.
March 11 vs. Parkers Prairie, 7:15 p.m.
March 12 at Foley, 7:15 p.m.