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Wadena-DC opens Section 8AA playoffs with Osakis

The Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines face an uphill battle when they open the Section 8AA boys basketball playoffs on March 7 in Osakis. The Wolverines (8-18) open against the No. 2 seeded, Osakis Silverstreaks (25-1), in the first round of the playoffs.

The two teams are familiar with each other as the Silverstreaks defeated the Wolverines 67-48 during the regular season.

“We have gotten to see them a couple of times this year. We have scouted them a couple of times. They have some really athletic kids. They have one stand out kid that we have to make sure we know where he is at, at all times. Everyone else meshes and gels together. They play great team basketball,” Wadena-Deer Creek head coach Kevin Tumberg said. “We are going to have to take care of the ball on offense and on defense we can’t give them any open and easy looks. We have to slow them down, they want to get up and create a lot of turnovers and make us play fast. If we can slow them down a bit, that will play to our favor.”

In their previous match up, the Wolverines trailed by four at the half and were down by about five points late in the second half but Osakis closed strong with a big run.

Daniel Savageau led the way with 21 points. Kobie Lara added 12 points, while Luke Imdieke and Brandon Boogaard finished with seven each.

Tumberg said it’s nice for the team to pick up a win heading into the playoffs.

“Not only to get a win, but a big win that should do nothing but boost our confidence and get us excited going into Osakis,” Tumberg said. “The first time we played them, they were 7-0 already but we were right there. We were down five or six points with five minutes left in the game, but they took it away from us there. To know that we played with them for half and a half of a half, gives us confidence as well.”

Tumberg said the Wolverines need to play with poise and take care of the basketball. Turnovers plagued the Wolverines at times during the season. Tumberg said valuing the basketball will be huge.

“We went through a stretch where we were averaging 20 turnovers a game,” Tumberg said. “Lately, we have been playing a lot better and keeping that to the mid-to-low teens and that will be huge. If we turn the ball over like we have in the past games or give up offensive rebounds like we have in past games, we are in trouble.”

Tumberg said they are excited for the playoffs and a lot of their players have gained valuable experience during the season.

Other first round contests feature Perham taking on Staples-Motley, while Roseau will take on Thief River Falls. East Grand Forks will host Crookston, while Barnesville will take on Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. Hawley will host Bagley, while Breckenridge takes on Park Rapids Area. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton will play host to Warroad.

The quarter finals are set for Concordia-Moorhead on March 9 with the first game taking place at 2:45 p.m. The semi finals will take place on March 11, with the Section 8AA Championship set for March 15.

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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