Osseo (WQOW) — After a close loss last year to Melrose-Mindoro in the regional final, the Osseo-Fairchild boys basketball team carried a chip on their shoulder entering this season. And even with the targets on their backs, the Thunder have been dominant from the opening game.
So far this season they are 12-1 overall, which has earned them a spot at number nine in the division four rankings. What’s even more impressive is they’re a perfect 8-0 in the Cloverbelt-West, winning their conference games by an average 19.5 points. This group is very experienced returning their top four scorers from last season, but they also know that they’re not the same team.
“I think the most growth we made was our mindset we brought,” says senior guard Caden Boettcher. “Last year we were a little immature in big pressure situations and stuff like that, but this year we’ve really matured. Just being able to know the situation of the game and how to handle it.”
“They’ve identified what they do well, and they’ve gotten better at it over the year and last couple years,” head coach Tim Popple says. “And that’s where I see their biggest progress, is that they just accept what their roles are, they do it really well, they’re glad for their teammates when they accel at their roles and that’s how you make a winning team.”
Offensively they’ve used a balanced attack this season, with four players averaging double figures. That includes reigning conference player of the year Logan Mulhern, who leads the Cloverbelt-West in scoring at 28.1 points/game. It’s their ability to create turnovers defensively though that leads to easy transition buckets, and this fast-paced style of play is leading to the Thunder’s success.
“When we get ball pressure teams don’t know what to do, they shut down,” Mulhern says. “You know when we have guys flying, we get layups, fast-break layups and we go on runs, and that’s how we win games.”
“Up-tempo, getting shots, getting good shots, working it down low with our big guys,” adds Boettcher. “And just being able to play ball.”
“As a group, you know that’s their strength, and so they’ve just started to stretch their wings a little bit and assert themselves in conference play and in non-conference play,” says Popple. “They know that’s what we should be doing, and it’s turning out pretty good for them so far.”
Osseo-Fairchild returns to the court on Thursday night, they’ll host Eau Claire Regis at 7:30 p.m. in a big conference battle.