MASON CITY | The first game is all about shaking off the rust, and for the first half of Tuesday's game between Osage and Newman, there was a lot of rust.
But Osage still dominated the court behind senior Drew Olson, who reached double-digits in the first quarter, totaling 17 points in the first half. The Green Devils would win their season-opener, 66-51.
“Drew, he’s just consistent for us all the time,” head coach Mike Brahn said. “He’s been the same way the last four years. Once he got a couple shots to fall and saw the ball go through the rim it was really go-time for him.”
Olson was everywhere, driving to the basket to sneak a layup from directly underneath the net, or getting a breakaway steal and launching it to senior Lucas Schwamman downcourt for the dunk.
A 30-18 halftime lead didn’t make the Green Devils complacent, though.
When Osage came out of the locker room, something clicked with senior Nathan Bushbaum, who started to share the reigns with Olson as one of the prominent forces on the court.
Bushbaum sprinted the length of the court with ease, lining the perimeter from all angles for a team-high four 3-pointers.
At first glance, Bushbaum could be underestimated as the shortest player on the court, but to do that would be a mistake. The Knights figured that out the hard way as Bushbaum slipped between players and snuck in layups between the branches of hands that towered above him.
“Nate’s a hustle guy for us, all about effort, he doesn’t know he’s that short.” Brahn said.
Bushbaum shrugged off his 16-point performance. Using his speed to his advantage is something he has learned over time.
“I grew up with three older brothers, always the youngest,” Bushbaum aid. “I was a little squirrelly, had to get around and handle with the big boys. And I guess that’s how it translated when I got older, I’m still kind of the short guy out there just working hard trying to help my team up.”
Olson felt the acceleration of the second half with Bushbaum’s increased contribution.
“Nate found his confidence in the second half,” Olson said. “And when Nate’s playing well, we’re playing well.”
Schwamman completed the senior trio of double-digits, racking up 10 points. That second half showed just a hint of what Osage wants to be, and Bushbaum is excited for more.
“Just growing up with Drew and having Lucas move to Osage, coming to high school and playing with my older brother. I think just the winter is something special,” Bushbaum said. “And we’re really good and it’s fun to come to practice every day with the guys. It’s been a blast all four years and this year we can make some noise.”