OSAGE | Mike Brahn is pleased to head into Winter Break with a 7-2 record, considering the question marks that surrounded the Green Devils entering the season. With only two seniors on the roster, Osage’s boys basketball team was deemed inexperienced. Coach Brahn was unsure of where certain players would fit into the rotation, and he didn’t have a great idea of how his players’ strengths would mesh when the season began.
“To be 7-2 right now is a pretty good feeling,” Brahn said. “We know there’s a lot of work left to be done. We’re right back in the heart of that conference schedule coming out of break again, start over for that second time around, so we just gotta be ready to go.”
Six seniors from last year’s team are gone, leaving Brett Bobinet and Jake Brougher as the lone seniors this season. The Green Devils won 14 games in 2017-18, and they’re already halfway to that mark with 11 games to go in the regular season.
Bobinet’s emergence as a leader has keyed the Green Devils’ success, which was evidenced in his 18-point performance during Friday’s 56-40 victory against Rockford.
Bobinet and junior Jonah Bluhm are averaging 13.6 and 13.9 points per game, respectively, to lead the team.
“At first, we were kinda iffy with our team chemistry, and now you can just really tell we’re moving the ball well in transition,” Bobinet said. “You can really tell these past few games we’re coming together as a team … Being a senior, the young guys are starting to step it up. Playing together really well, and our team chemistry has shown quite a bit in these past few games.”
A record-breaking season as Osage’s quarterback this fall showed Bobinet how to be a leader, and he said that confidence and leadership has translated from the football field to the basketball court. After playing wide receiver as a junior, Bobinet excelled as the team’s signal-caller, tossing 31 touchdowns and racking up 2,864 yards through the air.
“When the time came to step up, he did that in football,” Brahn said. “And I think that football success has led to a lot of basketball success, a lot of confidence for him personally, and a lot of confidence as a team.”
Brahn also praised the ability of his team’s defense, which has held opponents to 40 points or fewer in six of Osage’s nine games. That, combined with the Green Devils’ newfound composure in tight games, is giving Brahn confidence with the second half of the season looming.
“That’s one of those things,” Brahn said. “Without of a lot of experience coming back, you’re not necessarily in those games at a varsity level, to be in a close game with Newman down the stretch, Saint Ansgar down the stretch, West Fork down the stretch … Those experiences are what we’re gonna build off of and learn off of in the second half to be ready for the postseason."
An eight-point advantage in the third quarter gave West Fork enough of a cushion against the Green Devils, as the Warhawks ended Osage's six-game winning streak Tuesday, Dec. 18.
The final score was West Fork 46, Osage, 45.
Elijah Bluhm had 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and a block for Osage. All of his makes came from beyond the arc. Brett Bobinet also reached double figures, scoring 10 points, grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists.
Osage (7-2) travels to Northwood-Kensett (0-8) on Friday, Jan. 4 to start 2019.