Osseo boys look for payback in rematch with No. 1 Park Center

by Bob San

SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS

Osseo boys’ basketball coach Tim Theisen feels the Oriole team that will host No. 1 ranked Park Center Tuesday, Feb. 5 will be a much stronger squad than the one that lost to the Pirates 73-62 back on Dec. 18.

That win propelled the Pirates to the state’s top spot and they have stayed there since.

Junior guard Wheeler Baker is one of the new players who have contributed to Osseo’s fine season. (Photo courtesy of Rich Moll)

Junior guard Wheeler Baker is one of the new players who have contributed to Osseo’s fine season. (Photo courtesy of Rich Moll)

“Park Center clearly has shown they are one of the better teams early in the season and they dominated us the first time we played them,” Theisen said. “We have to get better in order to beat them but I truly feel that we will get better and we will give them a much better run the next time we play them.”

The reason for Theisen’s optimism is that many of the new players on varsity have gained experience and improved drastically since that last meeting with PC. The Orioles return just two regulars (guard Bridge Tusler and center Ian Theisen) out of their top 10 from last year’s state championship team so Theisen knew it would take some time for the new guys to adjust to varsity basketball.

“It’s a long journey,” Theisen said. “We have some inexperienced players playing big varsity minutes. We knew it wasn’t just going to be a bring it right back to the state tournament type of a team. It’s a team that has to learn how to play with each other and learn to trust each other on the court.”

Theisen feels the Orioles have developed into a very strong team. Tusler has been solid as usual and leads the state in assists at 8.2 per game. Theisen has lifted his overall game and is a force inside and outside. He is the team’s top scorer and rebounder and is one of the leaders in rebounds in the state. Players new to varsity Wheeler Baker, Rakeem Felder, Matt Miedtke, Malik Wilson, Harrison Lucas, Zach Bahl and Tyrin Vann have been solid and contributed every night. The Orioles are 10-1 in the conference and 12-2 overall. The other loss was to former No. 1 Apple Valley during the holiday tournament.

“We have definitely learned from the two losses and it will only help us in the end,” Theisen said. “There are still a number of things Osseo basketball needs to improve on as a team but we are going to be better.”

Osseo and Park Center may face each other a third time this season. Both teams are in Section 5 and are likely to get the top two seeds so they may meet in the section championship game.

 

Contact Bob San at sunpressnews@ecm-inc.com

 
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