by Bob SAn
SUN PRESS Newspapers
In past seasons, it’s almost a given that Osseo will play in the section boys’ basketball championship game for a chance to go to the state tournament. But because of the strength of the section and injuries to two key players, Osseo coach Tim Theisen sees a much more challenging task ahead for his team this year.
“Our team can go all the way to the section final or we can get beat in the early rounds,” Theisen said.
Osseo, seeded second, hosts No. 7 Wayzata Thursday, Feb. 27. The winner advances to play No. 3 Maple Grove or No. 5 Centennial Tuesday, March 4, at Rogers. The section final is Friday, March 7, at 7 p.m. at Rogers.
Northwest Suburban Conference champion Champlin Park is the No. 1 seed.
The Orioles, 18-7 overall, have endured a tough season injury-wise. They lost senior forward Matt Miedtke for the season early and then five-year senior center Ian Theisen went down with a stressed fracture in his ankle around Christmas. Even without those two, the Orioles went on an 11-game winning streak with senior guard Wheeler Baker leading the way. However, they suffered four straight close losses before winning their final three regular season games.
Theisen feels his team needs to elevate its level of play in order to survive the wide open section tournament.
“We struggled down the stretch and lost five games, all by three points or less,” Theisen said. “It showed that we are an average team when we don’t play together as a team and don’t play with purpose and passion. We will have to be more efficient on offense, maximize our possessions and take better shots and we will have to pick it up a notch on defense.”
The Orioles showed they are capable of winning the section because they split with Champlin Park during the regular season.
Coach Theisen reported that Ian Theisen had scheduled to have his ankle checked Tuesday, Feb. 25. If the doctor gives the okay, he might be able to play some. But coach Theisen stressed that he will not be rushed back into action.
“We’d love to have Ian back but we don’t want to rush it,” Theisen said.
Tbeisen added that if Ian gets the okay he will work to get into game shape. The best case scenario is Ian will play 4 or 5 minutes in earlier round games.
“And we hope to have him back for the section final if we get there,” Theisen said.
Contact Bob San at [email protected]