Boys basketball: Hoelscher assesses his team at 5-2
Osakis boys basketball coach Matt Hoelscher is in the position right now of having a somewhat inexperienced roster that is finding ways to take lessons from wins more than losses.
The Silverstreaks are 5-2 right now after taking some momentum into this holiday break with a 74-65 victory over West Central Area (3-3) on Dec. 22. It was the second straight win for Osakis after also taking care of Royalton in a conference game on Dec. 19.
"I thought that was our best win so far this season," Hoelscher said on Dec. 29 of beating the Knights. "Not to discredit the Royalton win, but West Central has some guys. They have (Brady) Sabolik and (Logan) Paulson. We don't match up well with Paulson. He got his points, but I thought we got defensive stops when we needed to. We just shot really, really well that game, so our offense is clicking and our defense came together more the second half."
Paulson led the Knights with 27 points and 10 rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting. Sabolik added 13 points, seven assists and four steals.
The Knights out-rebounded the Silverstreaks 36-32 and shot 47 percent to 45 percent for Osakis. But the Silverstreaks converted at the free-throw line (16-24) and hit more threes (10-25) to secure the win.
Junior guard Jonathan Lara led Osakis from three with a 5-of-6 night on his way to 21 points. He hit four straight triples at one point to help push Osakis ahead.
Sophomore guard Daniel Savageau continued his big season with 26 points to go with 11 rebounds. Teams are starting to expect big performances like that out of Savageau, so getting nights from players around him like Lara had against the Knights will continue to be crucial for the Silverstreaks going forward.
"Consistency is going to be the big thing with all of our guys," Hoelscher said. "Luke (Imdieke) has had some big games for us. Josh (Peterka) came up big one game. Reid (DeWenter) shot well one of those games, and then Johnny. We just need to see more of that from multiple guys. A lot of it has to do with teams keying in on Daniel, so there are going to be other opportunities for guys to make shots."
One area where Hoelscher wants to see this team continue to improve is on defense. It is on that end of the floor where he says the Silverstreaks have felt the effects of losing guys like Zach Weir, John Boogaard and Jacob Jones to graduation last year.
"That's striving to be our goal to fix over Christmas Break is not relying on our offense and making threes and scoring 60, 70 points a game," Hoelscher said. "We have to do a better job on the defensive end. We need to find our identity on the defensive end."
Jones was especially known for filling up the stat sheet with steals and deflections with his length and athleticism.
"And he anticipates well," Hoelscher said. "We have guys a lot like that. It's just the anticipation piece isn't there yet. Just kind of overall, seeing what is the offensive team trying to do here? Not get caught just guarding our guy, but playing team defense. That's something we're trying to build on so we can be a good defensive team."
Coaches would much prefer finding things to fix with their teams amid wins, and Osakis has been in that position much of this year. The Silverstreaks are about where Hoelscher thought they could be at this point, and he is still learning more about this group as it gets set to test itself at Parkers Prairie on Jan. 5 and then against Minnewaska at the Target Center in Minneapolis at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 6.
"I am happy (with where we're at)," Hoelscher said. "We're still trying to figure out our lineup. When we can full court press and when we have to pull the defense back a little bit. When can we get out in transition and when do we have to play some half-court offense. Right now, it's just some chemistry things. Here over Christmas Break, we got a nice week and a half to kind of mix and match and gel some guys together."
OSAKIS 41 33 - 74
WCA 40 25 - 65
TOTALS - OSAKIS - FG - 24-53; Three-point FG - 10-25; FT - 16-24; Assists - 8; Blocks - 2; Rebounds - 32; Steals - 7; Turnovers - 12; WCA - FG - 25-53; Three-point FG - 7-22; FT - 8-14; Rebounds - 36; Turnovers - 13
WCA - Logan Paulson - 27 points, 10 rebounds; Brady Sabolik - 13 points, 7 assists, 4 steals; Dawson Staples - 8 points, 6 rebounds; Nathan Kaye - 7 points; Logan Nadgwick - 6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists; Colton Wutzke - 2 points, 2 rebounds; Jack Van Kempen - 2 points, 3 rebounds
OSAKIS - Luke Imdieke - 8 points, 2 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal; Jonathan Lara - 21 points, 2 assists, 1 block, 4 rebounds; Riley Werven - 6 points, 1 rebound; Daniel Savageau - 26 points, 3 assists, 11 rebounds, 2 steals; Josh Peterka - 6 points, 7 rebounds; Philip Mathews - 1 assist, 1 rebound; Kobie Lara - 1 point, 1 rebound, 2 steals; Brandon Boogaard - 2 rebounds; Reid DeWenter - 6 points, 1 rebound