by Bob San
SUN PRESS Newspapers
The best way Osseo girls’ basketball coach John Rieser can summarize his team’s regular season play is up and down.
The very young Orioles have struggled at times because of their inexperience but they also have shown great competitiveness in their one-point loss to Centennial, their big win over Park Center and a memorable first half when they took a 12-point lead at Hopkins. As the Section 5 Tournament opens this week, Rieser hope the Orioles will find the up form.
“We have been up and down this year, playing well in some games and then letting other games get away from us,” Rieser said. “I think that is because we are really young — with only two seniors on the roster. Ayo Porte and Madi Malone (senior captains) have been playing really well.”
Porte leads the team in scoring and rebounding and Malone has been shooting the ball well from three-point range. The younger players have also shown talent. Sophomores Kiara Russell and Arianna Jones continue to play hard. Russell is consistently among the top scores on the team and Jones continues to play excellent defense, while running the offense. Freshman Azaria Reed is also playing well in the post. Off the bench Catera Etheridge has been a solid contributor starting several games when Russell was injured. Junior Courtney Calkins is also giving the team solid minutes and can be a deadly outside shooter. Junior forward Haley Swanson is starting to get back her form after missing most of January with an injury.
The Orioles, 12-8 in the conference and 14-12 overall, are seeded fourth in the Section 5 Tournament. They open against fifth-seeded Cooper Thursday, March 7. Osseo is the two-time defending section champ but No. 1 seed Centennial is the clear favorite. Champlin Park is second, Maple Grove third, Osseo fourth, Robbinsdale Cooper fifth, Mounds View sixth, Irondale seventh and Wayzata eighth.
“Our end of the year schedule is tough, but it should get us ready for post season play,” Rieser said. “Section 5AAAA is going to be just as tough as it always has been.”
Contact Bob San at firstname.lastname@example.org