Jonah Bluhm persistently waited for his chance to make a game-changing play. In a tight contest against rival Saint Ansgar, the Green Devils were looking to claim their first home victory of the season.
Despite gathering a handful of steals throughout, Bluhm was continually denied of a final opportunity as the clock dwindled. A timeout negated one, and a foul negated another. However, with about 30 seconds remaining, Bluhm snagged his sixth steal before galloping to the other end of the court for an uncontested, game-sealing layup in a 41-38 victory.
“Finally, finally I get a wide-open one,” Bluhm said. “There’s no calls, I can just go take it. That’s my shot, and it went in.”
Bluhm’s game-high 19 points propelled the Green Devils to their first home victory of the season Tuesday. Saint Ansgar had a strong fan presence, and the intensity of the boys game mirrored that of the girls game, which Osage also won.
Turnovers hindered the Green Devils early, but they gained composure late. After committing 19 turnovers during the first three quarters, Osage (2-1) had only two in the fourth.
The came could be categorized as a defensive struggle, as each team played tough, swarming defense. Osage had difficulties with the Saints’ zone early, hitting only seven shots in the first half. Four of those came from beyond the arc.
“A little bit of that is the function of the zone,” Osage coach Mike Brahn said. “We’re not blessed with 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5 guys inside to really bang and attack down low. We still like to get the ball inside and work it through in there. We had been getting pretty good looks on ball reversal and inside-out stuff … We need to knock more of them down; we didn’t shoot a very good percentage tonight.”
Saint Ansgar’s Erik Gerdts had no such struggles shooting the ball, as he had 15 points, including a trio of three-pointers late in the second half. One of them was from the left corner, which he miraculously banked off the glass and through the net.
Brett Bobinet added 12 points for the Green Devils, scoring 10 of the team's 21 first-half points. Ethan Kirchgatter had 10 for Saint Ansgar (1-1).
Each of Osage’s home games have been decided by three points, and each was full of intensity, priming the Green Devils for similar experiences later in the season.
“Individually, it feels great,” Bluhm said. “As a team, even better. We really needed this one. It’s a big win, and it’ll come down to these types of games. We pulled through and we won. We needed this one.”