Osseo dealt first loss by Lakeville North 60-56 in state semifinals
By Bruce Strand
Osseo, the lone unbeaten team (boy or girl) in the state heading into semifinals, was stymied by Lakeville North 60-56 in the semifinals at the state basketball tournament Thursday evening.
Nathan Reuevers notched 17 points and Carter Brooks, Calven Pesola and Nick Fossey 12 each for the Panthers (26-5), who earned their third state finals appearance in five years. Allan Anderson had 19 for Osseo (29-1) with nobody else getting more than eight.
Unable to get their 84-points-per game offense going against the much taller and polished Panthers, the Orioles trailed all the way until they took a brief 52-51 lead on Anderson’s jumper with 5:00 left. They had a chance to expand that when Demario Armstrong made a steal and headed for a layup but Lakeville’s 6-foot-8 Nathen Reuever hustled up the court behind him and blocked the shot, and Lakeville North quickly regained the lead and momentum.
The Panthers led 58-53 with 19 seconds left but Osseo wasn’t done. Anderson drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key with :13 left, and Osseo scuttled Lakeville North’s inbounds play, forcing a tie-up to get the ball back, trailing 58-56.
But the Panthers’ defense still wouldn’t yield. After the ball went out of bounds with six seconds left off Lakeville, Osseo inbounded for the second time, and Lakeville North guard Nick Fossey soared to intercept a pass to Armstrong above the key.
The frustrated Armstrong wrapped his arms around Fossey, who canned two free shots with 4 seconds left to wrap it up. Fossey made six of six in the last 47 seconds. “My arms were like noodles,” Fossey joked, admitting he was nervous even though he looked calm.
Lakeville North coach John Oxton said Osseo put far more defensive pressure on his team than anyone all year, forcing them to abandon their offense and make his players improvise.
“Twenty one turnovers? That’s way more than we get. We average maybe 11, and we had 12 by halftime. Just nine in the second half, so I guess we improved!”
Osseo coach Tim Theissen said Lakeville North’s height “maybe scared us a little” and lamented that the Orioles were not able to get the ball inside like usual.
Osseo played without Zach Theisen, sophomore guard averaging 13 points and a good leader (also the state champ football team’s quarterback) except for a brief appearance in which he scored one basket. Theisen missed sectionals with an ankle injury in the last regular season game. Coach Theisen, Zach’s dad, said the Orioles missed his scoring especially 3-point shooting but added that teammates did a good job picking up for him.
Oxton said he’s “very proud” to reach three state finals in five years.
“Not many teams in the state can say that. We kind of fly under the radar; people don’t talk about Lakeville North that much.”
People talk a lot more about Hopkins and Apple Valley, who dueled in the second semifinal Thursday for the right to face Lakeville North in the 4A finals on Saturday evening.