Shooting woes hurt Osage boys basketball in district championship loss to Buffalo

Michael Losch
Lake Sun Leader
Osage junior Alton Drace goes up for a shot in the championship game of the Class 4 District 10 Tournament on Saturday, March 6, in Osage Beach. Drace and senior Quentin Britton led the Indians with 16 points each.

Sometimes, it can just be as simple as making baskets. 

After winning on a buzzer-beater in the semifinals of the Class 4 District 10 Tournament Thursday night, School of the Osage was back on home court to face Buffalo for the title on Saturday and the Indians found scoring a little more difficult to come by in a 71-57 loss to the Bison. 

The visitors held a slim 32-27 lead at halftime and a 12-2 run in the third quarter gave Buffalo the distance it needed as the lead stretched to as high as 17. That mountain proved to be a little too steep to climb as the Indians never shrunk the deficit by more than 12. 

“It seems very simplistic, but that is as close as you can get to the fact. They made shots when they needed to and we missed shots when we needed to, to keep ourselves in the ballgame,” said Osage coach Craig Engelbrecht who is in his first year with the Indians. “We had a stretch there where we had a couple of layup opportunities and went too soft at the basket and they blocked it. Next time down, they go in and run through us and get a 3-point play. 

“It was just the difference of physicality where they were going to get to the rim and finish and we were kind of hesitant. I think it is kind of that simple.” 

Osage certainly had the opportunities. The defense forced 23 Buffalo turnovers overall and 13 alone in the first half, but those did not always translate to points on the other end of the floor. After the Bison took a 6-5 lead in the first quarter, they never trailed again the rest of the way. 

“Our defense in the first half was really good. We created a lot of turnovers and opportunities for ourselves and didn’t always take advantage of it,” Engelbrecht said. “In the first half I thought we did a really good job of offensive rebounding and I don’t know if we lost our aggressiveness or they did a better job blocking out, but it seemed like in the second half they controlled the boards a lot better.” 

Osage senior Quentin Britton and junior Alton Drace led the Indians with 16 points each, senior Drew Elley put up seven, junior Brockton McLaughlin added six and junior Dalton Stoecklein finished with five points of his own as the team wrapped up the year at 10-15. It was an opportunity for the program to capture its first district title since 2004 and that was an encouraging fact for Engelbrecht in his first year with the team.

“Starting off early in June, going down to the track and doing conditioning and stuff, it has flown by from June to March,” the coach remarked. “This is our first year with that senior group and we just wish we would have had more time with them to grow and develop as players and people. They were just an outstanding building block for what we hope to accomplish here.

“Gong forward, I think we did some good things this year and got better as the year went along. I thought we competed a little bit better as the year went along and I could not be prouder of where we’re at as far as our growth throughout the year.” 

Now, it is time to take another step forward and the coach is hoping the experience of playing in a championship game will pay off for those who are returning.

“Maybe this is that year where they knock on the door and next year they can kick it in by getting some experience and knowing what it takes to win at this level,” Englebrecht noted. “It is going to take a lot of player development during the summer to improve their games. If they are willing to work at it, who knows what can happen.” 

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