Coming into Osseo boys basketball’s Section 5AAAA semifinals on March 23 against top-ranked Champlin Park, they were feeling confident. Not only had they won three games in a row, including a road win against Spring Lake Park in the quarterfinals, but the two games before the winning streak, they had taken these Rebels to the brink.
Even though the match ups didn’t go the Orioles’ way, they only lost to Champlin Park by a combined seven points in two games.
Familiarity can serve as a benefit for the visiting Orioles, and they displayed a good level of that in the first half. Osseo’s defense held the high-powered Rebels to a mere 17 first-half points while scoring 27 of their own and grabbing a 10 point halftime lead. But a team the caliber of Champlin Park usually has a response when punched in the mouth, and the Rebels flipped a switch in the second half.
This time it was Osseo’s offense that was stifled, scoring only 15 second-half points. Champlin Park’s Joshua Strong and Francis Nwaokorie led the offense with 18 and 17 points in the game respectively, and the Rebels buoyed their undefeated season with a 54-42 comeback win.
Orioles junior guard Donald Ferguson had a team-high 11 points.