By Matthew Davis
Champlin Park already had a good start to the boys basketball season, and this past week just made it better.
“I think the results come as you continue to build your confidence and get better and work towards your team goals,” Rebels coach Mark Tuchscherer said.
They defeated two top-five Class 4A ranked teams in Osseo and Eden Prairie as they moved to 6-1 overall on the season. The Rebels, ranked No. 7, started strong against the No. 2-ranked Osseo Orioles with a 39-30 first half on Friday, Dec. 13.
“Osseo is a tough team,” Tuchscherer said. “They have size, length, ball handlers, and athletic shooters.”
Brennan Witt had a team-high 19 points, and Marty Hill posted 12. Ian Smith and Jeremy Johnson each both scored 10 for the Rebels.
They managed to hold off the Orioles during the second half and despite strong performance by Ian Theisen with 30 points for the game. The Rebels edged the Orioles, 68-65 in the end and handed them their first loss of the season.
“Our team really stuck to the game plan and executed down the stretch,” Tuchscherer said. “When you play a team like Osseo, there are going to be runs for both teams. We were able to hold off their run just enough and execute down the stretch for a big win at home Friday night.”
The momentum of the Rebels win carried over the next day to their game with No. 5-ranked Eden Prairie in the Tip Off Classic at Minnetonka High School. The Rebels jumped out the gate with a 42-20 first half and went on to win 81-65 over the once-unbeaten Eagles (2-1).
“Osseo was a victory that gave us a lot of confidence and I think we were able to show that on Saturday afternoon vs. Eden Prairie as well,” Tuchscherer said.
Hill had a team-high 20 points, and JT Gibson scored 16. Johnson and Witt scored 15 and 14 points respectively.
“Eden Prairie is a big and strong team with some athletic guard play as well,” Tuchscherer said. “We were able to get up and down the floor and make it our type of game. I think our team play on both ends of the floor and ability to move and share the ball really showed up on Saturday and was as good as it’s been this season.”
The Rebels also moved in to sole possession of first place in the Northwest Suburban Conference with their win over the Orioles at 4-0 in league play. The big week actually began for the Rebels with an 89-72 win at Centennial in NWSC play on Tuesday, Dec. 10. Johnson and Witt each led the Rebels in scoring with 19 points, and Gibson put up 16. Hill had a solid game rebounding with eight boards.
Though the notched a series of big wins, the Rebels know well that there’s plenty of hoops ahead. They have Coon Rapids (0-6, 0-5 NWSC) on Tuesday and Elk River (5-1, 3-1 NWSC) on Thursday in league play.
“We take the season one game at a time and look to improve each and every day as a team and individually,” Tuchscherer said.