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Basketball: Osakis fights off late Holdingford rally in 69-59 victory

Osakis earns its 20th victory of the season with 69-59 win over Holdingford.

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Osakis senior Hayleigh Niehoff drives to the hoop in a game against Holdingford on Feb. 25, 2022. Niehoff had 10 points in a 69-59 Osakis win.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

The Osakis girls basketball team led by as much as 13 points in the second half against the Holdingford Huskers. But with 1:46 left in the game, that lead dwindled to just four at 61-57.

Osakis made some baskets down the stretch to push its lead back to 10 and win 69-59.

“We made plays at the end,” Osakis head coach Pat Kalpin said. “Kiley [Kranz] made that shot late in the game where Tessa [Stanek] was out on the high post area and made that bounce pass to Kiley that put us back up seven, I think. That one was huge. We were struggling and we got passive. We made some tough turnovers, but we weathered the storm and beat a really good basketball team.”

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Osakis junior Kiley Kranz goes for a reverse layup in a game against Holdingford on Feb. 25, 2022. Kranz had nine points in a 69-59 Osakis win.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

The Silverstreaks moved to 5-0 in Section 6AA play and 20-5 overall with Friday’s win. They beat a Huskers squad (16-8, 7-3 Section 6AA) that is ranked fourth in Section 6AA in the QRF on Minnesota-scores.net. The Silverstreaks are one spot behind the Huskers in the Section 6AA QRF standings.

Osakis has two wins against a top-six team in Section 6AA, with the other being a 74-51 drubbing over Kimball Area.

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The Silverstreaks ran into some foul trouble against the Huskers, specifically in the first half. Three of those fouls got called on senior Mara VanNyhuis, who is one of the key contributors for the Silverstreaks.

“Those are things you can't prepare for,” Kalpin said. “We just put the next girl in and hoped they would step up.”

The Silverstreaks had trailed for a significant amount of the first half, but they took the lead with big baskets towards the end of the first half and never looked back. They led 34-28 at halftime.

Osakis got its lead up past double-digits multiple times in the second half.

“I would say we picked up our defense,” senior Hayleigh Niehoff said about the start of the second half. “We were also really fast and moved the ball quickly (on offense). We didn't hold on to it like we were in the first half because they were coming at us and trapping us.”

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Osakis senior Hayleigh Niehoff defending Holdingford's Maddy Mitchell in a game on Feb. 25, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Osakis had a balanced offense throughout, as it had four double-digit scorers.

Senior Alexis Johanson led all scorers with 18, while VanNyhuis had 12. Stanek and Niehoff also scored in double figures, with Stanek finishing with 12 and Niehoff with 10. Kranz finished with nine points.

“I thought that every girl that came in and played, played really well and did some really good things for us,” Kalpin said. “They really contributed to this win.”

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The 69 points is the Silverstreaks' second-highest scoring output this season.

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Osakis junior Madi Collins gets fouled on a shot in a game against Holdingford on Feb. 25, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

With the win on Friday, Osakis has crossed the 20-win threshold for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

“From a coaching standpoint, it's very rewarding. These girls have put a lot of time and effort into our program,” Kalpin said. “A lot of girls at other programs do too. They put the time in, they’ve done what’s asked of them in the offseason and now they’re reaping the benefits of it. It’s fun having a group like this.”

This season has been especially rewarding for the seniors. Lexi Spychalla, Lexi Klimek, Stanek, Johanson, Niehoff and VanNyhuis are the Osakis’ seniors this season.

“These seniors are such a great group. I can’t say enough good things about them,” Kalpin said. “It's fun to see them have success. It's fun to be part of that because it's them doing it, but as a coaching staff, the best part is watching those kids celebrate big wins and enjoy this time together.”

Niehoff said this season is the best one she’s been a part of. Osakis is now on a 10-game winning streak and has won six of those 10 by double digits.

“I'd say just keep up our energy,” Niehoff said in regards to keeping the momentum going. “We always seem to have a lot of good energy.”

The Silverstreaks have another opportunity for a big Section 6AA win on Saturday as Sauk Centre comes to town.

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Sauk Centre (18-7) is undefeated in section play (8-0) and is the third-highest rated team in the section. Tip-off for Osakis’ regular season finale is at 5 p.m.

Holdingford - 28 31 - 59

Osakis - 34 35 - 69

HOLDINGFORD SCORING - Allison Barthel, 3; Lauren Soltis, 8; Olivia Opatz, 7; Maddy Mitchell, 15; Makenna Hohbein, 16; Addy Pilarski, 10

OSAKIS SCORING - Tessa Stanek, 12; Mara VanNyhuis, 13; Alexis Johanson, 18; Lexi Klimek, 2; Hayleigh Niehoff, 10; Carlee Muenzbauer, 5; Kiley Kranz, 9

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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