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Osborne outlasts Centre in first round

3/13/2014

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

EMPORIA – The Osborne High School girls' basketball team shoots 70 percent on free throws and averages just 14 turnovers a contest. On Thursday, the Bulldogs finished just 13 of 24 (54 percent) from the foul line and had 19 turnovers. Senior forward Caitlyn Miller was bottled up in the first half and had just two points at the break.

Osborne never trailed, but never led comfortably en route to a 50-41 victory against Centre-Lost Springs in the first round of the Class 1A Division I state tournament Thursday at Emporia State University’s White Auditorium.

“Maybe we got our bad game out of the way,” coach Brad Roadhouse said.

No. 5 seed Osborne, in its first state tournament in the senior class’ careers, moved to 20-3. No. 4 seed Lost Springs ended the season at 20-4 and lost in the first round at state for the third consecutive year.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to play top-seeded Hoxie, 24-0 and on a 70-game winning streak, in the semifinals Friday. Start time is 6:30 p.m.

“We have nothing to lose against them,” senior forward Jessica Princ said.

“Task is going to be a little bit tougher,” Roadhouse added.

Princ delivered the second double-double and tied for the most rebounds of any player in the four first-round contests Thursday. She finished with 24 points on 9 of 16 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds.

“That’s the reason why we won tonight,” Roadhouse said. “I guarantee you that.”

Princ, Miller and senior point guard Baylee Wolters never came out of the game, and senior guard Taylor Noel played 31 minutes.

Miller eventually finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Noel had nine points and eight rebounds. Wolters had five assists as the Bulldogs played just six people. Osborne finished plus-15 on the glass.

“Caitlyn struggled a little bit tonight, Taylor struggled a little bit tonight,” Roadhouse said. “Baylee is going to distribute the ball more than anything. Jess stepped up tonight. A lot of hers were second-chance points, getting rebounds.”

Princ felt some nerves early, but then was “fine” once the game started.

“Very fun,” she said. “I love the atmosphere, it’s just great.”

Osborne scored the first five points as the Bulldogs missed its first seven shots, Centre its first six.

The Bulldogs held a 12-9 lead after the first quarter and 21-18 at halftime. Miller was 1 of 5 for two points at intermission as Centre continued to swarm Miller whenever she had the ball. Roadhouse said he “wasn’t expecting” that defense.

“A lot of teams focus on Caitlyn, me and Taylor a lot,” Princ said.

In the third quarter, Miller had five points in the first three and a half minutes, but Centre, paced by 13 points from junior Shelby Makovec, kept within striking distance.

Osborne gained separation late with Princ lobbed a pass to Miller in the half court offense for a basket.

About 90 seconds later, Wolters found Princ on a lob for a 43-36 lead with 2:03 left.

“Strength was running high-low,” Roadhouse said. “Finally did that. Caitlyn struggled a little bit tonight. We seemed a little slow at times, just things like that. We didn’t shoot the ball extremely well. You have got to give credit to them. They packed their defense in, and it made it difficult for us.”

Now, Osborne will have its wish that it’s talked about throughout the year: a chance at Hoxie.

“Let’s see what happens,” Roadhouse said. “Hopefully we can give them a ballgame. That’s all I can say. They didn’t play their best tonight either, I didn’t think.”

Osborne 50, Centre 41

Osborne (20-3)

Wolters 0-1 2-2 2, Jessica Princ 9-16 5-6 24, Noel 2-8 3-6 9, Pletcher 0-2 2-5 2, Caitlyn Miller 6-14 1-5 13, Engler 0-0 0-0 0. Totals – 17-41 13-24 50.

Centre-Lost Springs (20-4)

Svoboda 2-8 0-0 6, Shelby Makovec 4-17 3-5 13, A. Makovec 2-7 0-0 5, Deines 4-12 1-4 9, Simons 3-9 0-0 6, Kassebaum 0-0 0-0 0, Pankratz 0-1 0-0 0, Shields 1-3 0-0 2, Basore 0-3 0-0 0, Hill 0-0 0-0 0, K. Riffel 0-0 0-0 0, C. Riffel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals – 16-60 4-9 41.

Osborne 12 9 14 15 – 50

Centre 9 9 9 14 – 41

3-point goals – Osborne 3-9 (Wolters 0-1, Princ 1-3, Noel 2-5); Centre 5-15 (Svoboda 2-5, S. Makovec 2-5, A. Makovec 1-1, Deines 1-1, Simons 0-3). Technical fouls – none. Fouled out – Deines, Centre.

Rebounds – Osborne 46 (Princ 11); Centre 31 (Simons 7). Turnovers – Osborne 19, Centre 10.