By Matthew Davis
While Champlin Park and Osseo rank No. 3 and No. 4 respectively in boys basketball, a Rebels loss came as shocker considering how long they had been rolling.
Sixteen-straight wins ended for the Rebels on Osseo’s home floor in a Thursday, Jan. 30 clash. The Orioles won the battle 83-74. Almost a shocking, they held the Rebels to their lowest point total of the season since Dec. 13. The Rebels average 84.8 points per game.
Their game started off as a see-saw contest with the Orioles consistently holding a small lead. A 17-6 run by the Orioles put the Rebels in a 46-33 halftime hole.
It went further downhill for the Rebels as the Orioles raced out to a 66-41 lead almost midway through the second half. The Rebels finally caught fire with a 15-0 run, cutting the lead to 66-56.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, another big run did not come as the Orioles held on. Orioles leading scorer Wheeler Baker finished with 25 points.
Only three Rebels hit double figures instead of their typical five or six players in double figures. Brennan Witt had a team-high 24 points for the Rebels, and Ian Smith scored 12. Jeremy Johnson and JT Gibson each had 11.
The Rebels had a close game with the Orioles the first time around, a 68-65 win on Dec. 13. It was one of only two times the Rebels have failed to crack the 70-point mark.
The Rebels lost for the first time since their 106-103 loss to No. 1-ranked Hopkins back on Nov. 30 in the Tip-Off Classic. All but two wins for the Rebels since then have been by double digits.
Despite the Jan. 30 loss to the Orioles, the Rebels (17-2, 12-1 Northwest Suburban) still have the lead in the conference race. However, the Rebels may need to run the table to preserve a No. 1 seed for Section 5 4A. The Orioles are 4-1 in the section and 16-3 overall while the Rebels hold a slim edge at 6-1 in section play and a 17-2 overall mark.
A postponement for the Rebels’ Tuesday, Jan. 28 game with Centennial meant that the Rebels went almost a full week without a game before the loss to the Orioles. The Centennial game will be made up on Thursday, Feb. 20.
The Rebels had made a big impression about a week earlier when they won by 19 in No. 7 Robbinsdale Armstrong’s gym, 95-76, on Jan. 24. Up next for the Rebels, the will see mostly the bottom half of the NWSC during the regular season’s final month.
They will take on Coon Rapids (1-18, 0-134 NWSC) at home on Friday at 7 p.m. The Rebels will then host Blaine (9-11, 6-9 NWSC) on Tuesday, Feb. 11.