The Osage Indians boys basketball team opened their play in the Tri-County Conference Tournament with a 64-50 win over the Hallsville Indians Tuesday, Nov. 30.  

The Indians began the first quarter by briefly trading baskets with the Indians before dominating on offense and defense. Hallsville quickly found themselves victim to the Osage defensive pressure, trapped in their own end of the court and having considerable trouble getting the ball out. Osage benefitted from Hallsville’s forced passes by getting steals and scoring off of the turnovers in short order. The fast pace that Osage played on offense kept their opponent on their heels, having to negotiate between trying to get back in time to defend and then moving back up-court on offense after Osage scored. Osage got points in all variety of ways, scoring on fast break chances, their ball movement confusing Hallsville’s defense and quickly finding the open man to score inside, drawing shooting fouls and making the subsequent free throws, or going four-of-seven on three-point shots in the first quarter. By the end of the first quarter, Osage had established a 20-9 lead over Hallsville. 

The second quarter saw Hallsville make the expected adjustments against Osage, including doing a better job of getting out of their defensive traps and tightening their own defense against Osage’s fast paced offense. Consequently, Osage’s shooting percentage slipped in the quarter, falling to just 25 percent including only making two out of the 11 three-point shots they attempted. Although Osage saw a dip in their shooting percentage, especially in three-point shooting, they still outscored their opponent in the quarter and ended the half up 34-22. 

The third quarter was the best of the game for Hallsville, as they improved upon their efforts in the second and succeeded in shutting down Osage for most of the quarter. Osage started out slowing down their pace of play due to Hallsville doing a better job of preventing them from getting fast break chances, but still put up an additional six points in the first few minutes of the half while keeping Hallsville quiet. Hallsville soon managed to start getting players open to get around Osage’s press and began getting points as they got the ball behind their defense. Hallsville also focused on keeping Osage from getting any points inside, forcing them to take more outside shots all of which the missed in the last minutes before the end of the quarter. Despite their difficulty on offense, the Osage defense was still strong and they ended up only allowing 11 points to their opponent in the third quarter. 

Osage returned to form in the fourth quarter, once again forcing Hallsville turnovers and pushing the pace of the game. Hallsville hung around for most of the fourth quarter and managed to stay within around five points of Osage until there was about a minute left in the game. With time running out and down by six, Hallsville made riskier passes and tougher shots in an attempt to force overtime. But Osage was up to the task and came up with key rebounds and steals late in the game, and by scoring off those turnovers and second chances they finally pulled away to seal the game for good. Outscoring Hallsville 24-17 in the fourth quarter, Osage won the game by the final score of 64-50. 

With their win, Osage is now 2-0 this season, pending the results of their second game in the Tri-County Conference Tournament against Blair Oaks Thursday, Dec. 2. The Indians will next play in their final game of the conference tournament Saturday, Dec. 4, in Boonville. 

The Lake Sun