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Osage vs. Saint Ansgar girls bball

Osage sophomores Ellie Bobinet (center) and Danielle Johnson (22) have stepped up in the absence of three four-year starters who graduated after last season. The duo is combining to score 17.4 points per game after averaging 6.8 as freshmen.

The Green Devils’ girls basketball team was tasked with replacing a trio of four-year starters this season. The squad has responded well, which has led to a perfect record for Osage through its first three games of the season.

The latest victory was a 50-48 thriller against Saint Ansgar on Tuesday. The Green Devils led 38-28 entering the fourth quarter, but Saint Ansgar (2-1) stormed back and kept the intensity at a high level until the final buzzer.

Osage (3-0) held an eight-point lead late until a series of Saint Ansgar buckets shrunk the deficit. Jadyn Anderson, who finished with 13 points, drilled a three-pointer far beyond the arc to make the score 50-48 with only a few seconds remaining. Anderson then stole the ensuing inbounds pass, and coach Scott Cakerice called a timeout with 0.9 seconds left, leading to a final possession that Osage’s defense was able to thwart, preventing the Saints from getting a shot off as the buzzer sounded.

“We got caught up a little bit in the emotions of the game,” Osage coach Chad Erickson said. “This is always a big game for both teams, and I think we were a little over-excited to play and didn’t execute the best tonight, but a win’s a win.”

Five players scored at least seven points for Osage, led by Danielle Johnson’s 13. Sidney Brandau pitched in 10, and Mia Knudsen, Rylie Olson and Ellie Bobinet pitched in seven apiece.

Two of those players, Johnson and Bobinet, are sophomores. They’re among the players who have stepped up early in wake of the departures of Gabby Schwarting, Brenna Jacobs and Madi Johnson, who averaged a combined 25.1 points per game last season.

Bobinet averaged one point per game as a freshman last year, scoring 13 points all season. Johnson averaged 5.8.

This season, Bobinet is averaging 6.7 points per game, and Johnson is averaging 10.7. Junior Sydney Brandau has also increased her average from 3 to 8.7. Throw in Rylie Olson’s team-leading 11.3 points per game and you have a productive, consistent group of players that have meshed well early in the year.

Erickson sat down with his players as they discussed individual and team goals in the preseason. With multiple players asked to assume larger roles, Erickson knew he’d see growth.

“We expected this,” Erickson said. “We have some kids that have played a lot, and we have a few kids, this is really their first time starting and playing huge minutes, so their roles have changed a little. I think as the year goes on and they get more comfortable, we’ll just keep getting better and better.”

Photos: Osage girls basketball vs. Saint Ansgar

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Reach Sports Reporter Luke A. Garza at 641-421-0540 or follow him on Twitter @LukeAGarza

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