Osborne girls, Ellis boys take third place at MCL
By CONOR NICHOLL
The Osborne High School girls' basketball team has evolved throughout coach Brad Roadhouse's two years in the program. Last season, the Bulldogs finished 7-14, allowed 49 points per contest and played almost all of the year without Jessica Princ.
She averaged 16.6 points per game in five contests before she suffered a significant injury with five minutes left in the last practice before holiday break.
This winter, Osborne returned its top seven scorers, including a healthy Princ. The Bulldogs have started 8-2, including a 44-31 victory against Norton in the third-place game of the Mid-Continent League tournament on Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
"They've developed as far as a team," Roadhouse said. "Our attitudes going in are tremendous this year, as far as a team concept. I think that's really been a lot of our improvement, just understanding how to be a team."
Osborne, with a six-player rotation, has scored just 47.4 points a contest, but has allowed 38.7. Only twice, both times to Ellis, ranked No. 7 in Class 2A, have the Bulldogs allowed more than 50 points in a game. Norton took fourth and dropped to 6-5. On Jan. 4, Osborne defeated Norton, 51-36, and played a box-and-one against Bluejay senior point Tawni Griffey.
"Intense," Princ said of the box-and-one. "Very intense. It's hard for the person on (Griffey), because you've just got to be quick."
Osborne ran the same defense Saturday and, mainly by senior Rachel St. Clair, held Griffey to just 10 points, still Norton's high. Griffey had 21 in the semifinal loss to Smith Center.
"I thought Rachel did a heck of a job on her," Roadhouse said. "...That was the happiest I have been in a long time, because that's what's it's going to take."
Princ has led the team with 15.6 points per contest, including 17. Junior Caitlyn Miller also added 17 in a contest the Bulldogs led 4-3 after the first quarter and 20-11 at halftime.
"I am just glad to be back," Princ said.
Ellis boys take third
Ellis boys' Coach Chris Rorabaugh said the Ellis High School boys' basketball team "had a heart-to-heart" after a 22-point loss in the MCL tournament semifinals to Phillipsburg on Friday.
On Saturday, Ellis bounced back in a dominating way and defeated Smith Center, 80-52, in the third place game.
"It was nice just to play good basketball," Rorabaugh said.
Ellis had a 21-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and 37-13 advantage midway through the second quarter. The contest had a running clock late. Senior Cole Pfeifer led Ellis with 23 points, many coming on layups after steals. Ellis moved to 8-5, while Smith Center dropped to 6-5.