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Basketball: Osakis opens Section 6AA playoffs with 58-42 win over Rush City

A strong first half gives Osakis win over Rush City.

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Osakis' Kiley Kranz shoots a floater in a playoff game against Rush City on Match 3, 2022. Kranz had 8 points in a 58-42 Osakis win.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

OSAKIS- The Osakis girls basketball team started its postseason on the right foot, taking care of the Rush City Tigers 58-42 on Thursday.

Osakis (21-6) is the No. 4 seed and Rush City (11-13) was the No. 13 seed in the Section 6AA playoffs. The Silverstreaks earned the win by controlling the first half and never giving the lead back.

“Once we settled down, I thought we moved the ball well offensively,” Osakis head coach Pat Kalpin said. “I thought we were impatient early in the game, having one pass and trying to shoot tough shots. Once we got in the groove a little bit, we took care of the ball. We got some steals and transition baskets.”

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Osakis' Alexis Johanson attempts a layup in a playoff game against Rush City on March 3, 2022. Johanson scored a team-high 19 points in a 58-42 win.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Senior Alexis Johanson led the Silverstreaks in scoring with 19 points. Fellow senior Hayleigh Niehoff joined Johanson in double figures with 12 points.

Osakis went into halftime with a 34-17 lead and stretched it to 52-29 with 6:08 remaining in the game. The Silverstreaks earned the 16-point victory on Thursday despite committing 22 fouls.

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“The intensity was there, but we got into it too much foul trouble,” Kalpin said. “It kind of took us out of our game a little bit. You got to give (Rush City) credit because they were aggressive, taking the ball to the hoop and we get out of position a little bit. That’s when you get those fouls.”

Rush City shot 29 free throws and made 16, while Osakis shot 22 and made 18.

Thursday’s win is what Kalpin described as a team win.

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Osakis' Tessa Stanek loads up for a three-pointer in a playoff game against Rush City on March 3, 2022. Stanek scored 6 points in a 58-42 Osakis win.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

“You need the team to work hard to make things happen and they certainly did that,” Kalpin said. “They’ve been doing that all year long.”

The Silverstreaks got the win on Thursday, even with one of its seniors, Mara VanNyhuis going down with a right ankle injury early in the first half.

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Mara VanNyhuis

“We had to play a little bit different, with Mara going down,” Kalpin said. “We're used to her being in there. So we had to rotate a little bit differently, plus the foul trouble we had. We had to kind of mix and match and use some combinations we really haven't seen yet this year.”

The moment that VanNyhuis went down with the injury was a turning point as her teammates rallied around her and began to break away from Rush City.

“We realized we're missing one of our biggest and best assets,” Johanson said. “We all really stepped up.”

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The Osakis bench scored nine points against Rush City.

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Osakis freshman Taylor Dirkes shoots a jumper in a playoff game against Rush City on March 3, 2022. Dirkes finished with 2 points in a 58-42 Osakis win.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Kalpin said having good minutes for bench players will be key come Saturday’s playoff game and further on if Osakis wins this weekend.

“It’ll be big and it has been all year for us,” Kalpin said. “We certainly don't expect it to be any different on Saturday."

VanNyhuis’ status for Saturday’s playoff game is currently unknown.

Osakis is set to face the Kimball Area Cubs in the quarterfinals of the Section 6AA playoffs.

Kimball Area (20-7) is the No. 5 seed in the section and defeated No. 12 seed St. Cloud Cathedral 67-52 on Thursday.

The Silverstreaks and Cubs played each other on Feb. 8, with the Silverstreaks winning 74-51 on their home floor. The Silverstreaks scored a season-high against the Cubs and did so with 15 made three-pointers.

This time, Kalpin expects the Cubs to try to take away the three-point shot.

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“I would guess that they're going to get out on us a little bit more and not allow us to get the open shots in the way they did the first time,” Kalpin said. "We shot really well. But sometimes, you're not going to shoot that well either. So you got to find other ways to score. They're a really good basketball team, they’re coached well and we know each other pretty well since we just played here not too long ago. So we'll just get ourselves prepared for what we think we might see and then go from there.”

Johanson said beating Kimball Area a second time and advancing further into the playoffs is all about having self-confidence.

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Osakis' Alexis Johanson guards an in bound pass in a playoff game against Rush City on March 3, 2022. Osakis won 58-42.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

“We shot the lights out [against Kimball] and we just got to trust that we can do it and believe in ourselves,” Johanson said.

Tip-off between Osakis and Kimball Area is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

The winner of the Kimball and Osakis game would face either eighth-seeded Milaca (16-11) or top-seed Albany (20-5) on March 9.

All remaining Section 6AA playoff games are taking place at St. John’s University.

Rush City - 17 25 - 42

Osakis - 34 24 - 58

RUSH CITY SCORING - Katelyn Buehring, 1; Kayla Diedrich, 5; Ella Wood, 2; Tayla Lenzen, 4; Brooke Hahn, 3; Alexis Ertz, 20; Meghan Dick, 5; Veronica Hemming, 2

OSAKIS SCORING - Tessa Stanek, 6; Lexi Spychalla, 3 ; Mara VanNyhuis, 4; Alexis Johanson, 19; Lexi Klimek, 2; Hayleigh Niehoff, 12; Taylor Dirkes, 2; Madi Collins, 2; Kiley Kranz, 8

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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