It came down to the final quarter.
School of the Osage took on Eugene for its Courtwarming game Friday night and in a contest where neither side led by more than eight points, it was the final eight minutes that determined the outcome. Unfortunately for the Indians, some untimely turnovers and a consistent Eagle offense led to a 69-60 defeat.
“With their pressure, it is one of those deals where they are not going to trap you every possession, but they are going to wear you down and it took a toll on us,” Osage coach Aaron Shockley said of Eugene’s full-court press that played a role in causing 18 Indian turnovers and seven alone in the fourth quarter. “We were kind of winded and made some costly turnovers at the en that sunk us a little bit.”
Osage entered the final frame trailing Eugene by just four points. However, the Indians went cold on the offensive end and the Eagles took advantage with a 9-2 run to build an 11-point lead with just three minutes left. It also did not help matters that Eugene junior Tre Kempker proved to be a tough man to stop as he finished the night with a game-high 33 points.
Kempker used his 6-foot-3 frame to consistently attack the basket and force officials to either call a blocking or charging foul unless he went uncontested. The junior had four fouls with just under four minutes left, but did not foul out until there was 52 seconds left. Meanwhile, he gave a couple of Indians foul trouble at the same time.
“He is a really good player,” Shockley noted. “We did the best we could with the players we had. We put Logan Havner on him and he did a great job defensively. Tre is a great player, made good plays and I think 33 was his total and 28 of it was from the left block. We just could not get our help side (defense) over there fast enough.”
Osage senior Trey Rassenfoss led the Indians with 16 points, senior Dalton Depeé added 13, senior Parker Jett knocked down eight, junior Andrew Bryant chipped in seven and the senior Havner put in six. Shockley commended the effort of his players, but noted that there is no time to dwell and it is imperative the team tries to be better than they were the day before.
“We talked the past couple of days that we have to have our best day every day the next time,” the coach said. “We are working on getting better and we play Lebanon on Monday. We know they are a really good team and we just have to work on us and be the best Osage can be. Until we get there, we are not going to stop working so that is our goal.”
Osage (3-9, 0-1 Tri-County Conference) will enter the 88th annual Eldon Tournament as the eighth seed against top-seeded Lebanon on Monday at 6 p.m.