Osseo-Fairchild Girls Basketball blazes way to 8-0 record, No. 5 ranking
It's a nice thought, that off in the distance of the 2021-22 prep girls basketball season that Osseo-Fairchild has a chance to play for the school's first-ever state tournament bid on its home floor.
Osseo-Fairchild Middle/Senior High School will be the site of a WIAA Division 4 sectional tournament title game on March 5, 2022 and a great venue to do so.. The Thunder will would certainly love to play in this ballgame in front of their home fans.
But they have to get there first.
Yet the Thunder so far this season are playing like they certainly belong in this game, compiling an 8-0 so far and No. 5 state ranking in D-4.
O-F has won three games in a week's time from Dec. 14-21. One these was important West Cloverbelt Conference contest vs. No. 5 ranked in Division 5 Chippewa Falls McDonell back on the 16 at the sectional championship site by a 45-38 margin.
OFHS led 25-17 at halftime and held the lead for much of the second half. However, when the Thunder's leading scorer Brooke McCune (14.2 ppg.) went out with four fouls at 10:10 of the second half and the Macks were in the bonus with the foul count 7-0 against O-F, the Thunder were facing a moment of peril.
Yet there was nothing to fear as fellow OFHS senior Mariah Steinke came off the bench and scored eight points while the Macks (5-1 overall) shot a miserable 11-for-23 from the foul line (O-F, as it turned out, went 20-for-26 at the charity stripe). The home team kept their poise, held the lead and came away with the win.
Steinke commented on how potent the Thunder's deep line-up can be, especially foul trouble situations.
"It's a weapon we have, players can come into the game and pick-up the slack right away," Steinke said. "Every one of us know we can come into a ballgame and get it done."
The situation was similar to the one the Thunder experienced just 72 hours before in Ellsworth where, despite foul trouble, O-F held onto its first half lead of 29-17 against the Panthers (5-3 overall) and downed them 50-44.
"It didn't change anything" O-F head coach Tera Simpson said. "Our reserves can fill-in and play the same aggressive defense and attack on offense. It's the biggest strength we have."
It also leads to balanced scoring. Despite the foul trouble McCune still finished as O-F's leading scorer along with Eleice Dahl at 10 points each to go with nine from Katie Skoug, Steinke's eight and Taylor Gunderson's six points. Destiny Baughman led McDonell and all scorers with 13 points.
"The points our players on the bench score when they're out there as just as many as the starting five." Simpson said.
Osseo-Fairchild tacked on another win Monday, Dec. 20 at Thorp by a 70-29 score. The Thunder aren't exactly going to rest either before the New Year as they have two contests scheduled: at Elk Mound (6-1 overall) on Tuesday, Dec. 28 and at home vs. Altoona (5-5 overall) on Dec. 30, both 7 p.m. tip times.