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Osage girls basketball finds rhythm in win over Versailles

Michael Losch
Lake Sun Leader
Osage senior Sara Wolf launches a 3-pointer over a Versailles defender on Thursday, February 4, in Osage Beach. Wolf knocked down seven of them on her way to 29 points to lead all scorers.

On several occasions Thursday night at School of the Osage, senior Sara Wolf could be heard saying, ‘Nice pass,’ after knocking down 3-pointers. 

She just happened to knock down seven of them in the game to tie a program record and the Indians comfortably secured a 60-25 win over Versailles in Tri-County Conference action. 

“Our passing and ball movement was there and knowing they did have a ‘big’ (post player), our ‘bigs’ adjusted to that and that really helped us offensively,” Wolf said after leading all scorers with 29 points on the evening. 

The passing certainly was crisp as the Indians worked against the zone defense of Versailles, quickly zipping the ball around in the half court to find the open shooter. Osage coach Scott Rowland pointed out that sometimes the ball may have even moved too fast for the opposing defense to react, but there is not too much to complain about if shooters are hitting the open shots. 

“We got the ball inside and kicked it out and whether we score inside or not- and they can score a little bit, Lauren (Bartlett) and Alisa (Boswell)- but it has to go in there so the other team has to react a little bit,” Rowland noted. “I thought they assed the ball well, we passed it around the permit well and they knocked down shots.”

In addition to tying the program’s single-game record for 3-pointers in a game, a record she now shares with former player Rachel Reis, Wolf was already the program’s leader for career 3-pointers and she is currently at 187. She also previously passed 1,000 career points and is currently fifth all-time in program history. 

But others did their part, too. 

Junior Reese Good finished with nine points and Boswell added eight points of her own. That also goes for the defensive end where the Indians forced double-digit turnovers, thanks in part to a full-court zone press. 

“Our press was definitely there tonight,” Wolf said. “Against any team, we are going to have to keep up that intensity in our press and get back and play solid defense, which then transitions into an efficient offense. Hopefully, we’ll keep that up.”

Versailles was led by sophomore Kierra O’Rourke who scored nine points for the Tigers and fellow sophomore Madison Foley put up seven points of her own. The Tigers were playing their third game of the week and currently have a short bench with limited subs due to some injuries. 

“She is doing a good job with them and it is tough because I think this was their third game and they are down several players,” Rowland said of Versailles coach Tempary Gunter who is in her first season leading the program. “That is tough to play that many games and travel on Thursday night.” 

Versailles (4-16, 0-4 Tri-County Conference) will be hosting California (10-5) on Monday at 6 p.m. 

"We are just going to keep taking it day by day. We struggled to run our press break and our offense got stagnant, that hurt us," Versailles coach Tempary Gunter said. "We tried to make a few adjustments defensively that did not quite work like we hoped so definitely some things to work on moving forward."

For Osage (9-9, 1-2 Tri-County Conference) the win certainly helped the program with district playoff implications and it was a step back in the right direction after a tough day against unbeaten state-ranked Union in the Laker Shootout at Camdenton last weekend. 

“There are probably a lot of evenly-matched teams,” Rowland said of the upcoming postseason district tournament. “As we move forward, we are hoping to get Liberty (Gamm) back, which will make a difference for us. We have the brutal part of our schedule coming up.” 

Up next for the Indians is a game against Southern Boone (10-3) on Monday at 5 p.m. Four of the remaining five teams left in the regular season have winning records and three of those teams have lost three games or less all season. 

“You know, they are not bad,” Rowland said sarcastically, “but it is going to be tough. We just have to get ourselves mentally ready after that to play in districts and have a chance to play for a district title. I think this group has a chance to get to that championship game and we just have to go out and do it.”

Michael Losch is the Sports Editor at the Lake Sun. He can be reached at mlosch@lakesunonline.com or 573-346-2132