Osceola's height isn't an obstacle for Tiger boys basketballThere have been rumblings all season.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
There have been rumblings all season.
“Wait until the New Richmond boys have to face Osceola’s twin towers. Then their lack of height will be exploited.”
The doubters were proven wrong, as New Richmond’s boys improved to 12-0 for the 2010-11 season with a 46-33 win over Osceola last Tuesday.
For a quarter it appeared the Tigers were letting the long reach of Osceola’s Lincoln Howard and Kyle Bussewitz have an effect. Howard is listed at 6-6 and Bussewitz at 6-5. The Tigers tallest starters are listed at 6-2.
The Tigers only scored nine points in the first quarter as they figured out what to do against Osceola’s zone defense. It’s one of the first times all season that an opponent used primarily zone defenses against the Tigers.
It might not have been a rousing offensive start, but the defensive performance by the Tigers was lights out from beginning to end. The Tigers limited Osceola to four points in the first quarter and nine points in the first half.
In the second quarter the Tigers figured out that quick passes could get the ball to open spots on the floor before the Osceola players could react. The Tigers went on an 11-1 run early in the second quarter to lead 20-7 and they weren’t seriously threatened again. The Tigers led 26-9 at halftime.
The Chieftains never had much chance to catch up because the Tigers held Osceola to 26 shots in the game. The Tigers had nearly twice as many shots, finishing with 48.
The Tiger defense had 17 takeaways during the game. When Osceola dumped the ball into either of its post players, the Tigers doubled down effectively. Dalton Sabby was most effective in this, stealing the ball seven times during the game.
The defense against Osceola’s post players was supremely effective. Howard finished the game with four points and Bussewitz with three points. Justice Harvieux and Cody Taubman took on Osceola’s big men and excelled at denying the entry pass.
“We took away their biggest strength,” Tiger coach Rick Montreal said. “We haven’t faced a lot of formidable post players and they have two of them.”
Osceola’s height advantage didn’t translate into a rebounding advantage either. All five Tigers crashed the boards hard, giving Osceola very few second chances on offense. Taubman, who got a bloodied nose during his battles with the taller Osceola players, led the Tigers with five rebounds.
Riley Kannel led the Tigers with 22 points, in what was otherwise a balanced scoring attack. The Tigers finished with 13 assists and five turnovers, their best assist-turnover ratio this season.
The Tigers start the second half of their Middle Border Conference schedule this Friday when they host Somerset in the Tigers’ Parents Night game. The Tigers don’t play again until Thursday, Feb. 3, when they play at Baldwin-Woodville. There are indications that the Blackhawks could have all-state football player Jake Keefer back for that game following knee surgery.