by Bob San
SUN PRESS Newspapers
“This is a feeling we are not used to.”
That statement by Osseo boys’ basketball coach Tim Theisen best summed up his team’s feeling after the Orioles lost to Shakopee 54-51 in the state quarterfinal game at Target Center March 12. The loss meant Osseo was one and done in the Big Show.
Theisen and the Orioles are accustomed to advancing deep into the tournament. In 2001, Osseo won the state title. The Orioles placed second in 2003 and 2009, took third in 2011 and won state again in 2012. One has to go back to 2002 when an Osseo boys’ team lost out in the state quarterfinal round.
But the Orioles could not overcome a scrappy Shakopee team and their own miscues in this year’s quarterfinal game. Other than a couple runs, they never seemed in sync for most of the game and played catch-up ball from the get go.
Shakopee took a 31-25 lead into the second half and widened it to 41-33 at 12:18. At this point, Osseo finally got untracked and went on a 10-0 run. Wheeler Baker scored two buckets, Ian Theisen scored on a tip-in, Baker sank a three and Elliott Kane drained another three to put Osseo up 43-41 with 9:04 left.
“Our kids are resilience,” Coach Theisen said. “They had their backs against the wall and they came out and played so hard. We came out and played Osseo style tough defense and turned it up in the second half.”
The teams would battle back and forth as the lead would change hands nine times in the final minutes. The Orioles had chances to widen the lead when Shakopee deliberately foul instead of letting Osseo stall out the clock.
“We have a pretty good stall offense that looks to attack and still gets open shots,” Coach Theisen said. “They fouled us and put us on the line. That’s what we wanted. Kids dream about that — make free throws with the game winding down in the state tournament. Unfortunately we didn’t do a very good job. We had the opportunities but missed two front ends of one-and-one that could have extended the lead for us. It could have put a little bit of a cushion there but unfortunately the ball didn’t bounce our way.”
The Orioles still had chances to win with a defensive stop or a last-second shot. Ian Theisen had given Osseo a 51-50 lead with 59 seconds left but Shakopee got the ball inside to Evan Hagen for a short turnaround jumper to make it 52-51 with 42 seconds left. The Orioles turned the ball over with 11 seconds left but got it back when Shakopee missed the front end of a one-and-one. But Osseo could not cash in when a three by Baker with 4 seconds left did not fall.
“We took the lead but we just didn’t make the plays down the stretch,” Coach Theisen said. “Credit Shakopee. They played very hard and did a great job with that zone. They mixed it up well, they are long and lanky. We found gaps and we attacked them but we didn’t shoot well. I think their length disrupted our shots. In this game we played hard but may be we didn’t play as smart as we could have.”
Ian Theisen ended his brilliant high school career with 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks. Baker added 14 points and Kane had nine.
While the loss was devastating, Theisen said his team should be proud of what it had accomplished during this very trying season. The Orioles lost senior captain Matt Miedtke for the season with a knee injury and lost senior captain and all-time leading scorer Ian Theisen for two months with an ankle injury. Led by Baker, Jordan Dembley, Connor Kittleson, Giovanni Pastrano, Jamar Roberson, Josh Riley-Phillis, Allan Anderson and Kane, the Orioles hung together and made it back to the state tournament.
“You can’t take away how hard our kids played all year,” Theisen said. “We told the kids that this loss does not define our season. What we have accomplished throughout this year was impressive with the setbacks we dealt with.”
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