P-E-M's succumbs to Osseo, barely

Even Kirk Thompson had to admit it, and his team lost.

"That was a great game to be a part of," the Plainview-Elgin-Millville boys basketball coach said.

This came Thursday night at a packed Mayo Civic Auditorium, after his team played a near-perfect first half, but then couldn't hang on in falling to Osseo 64-60 in the Rotary/US Bank Holiday Classic.

The game was the dream matchup that most figured this tournament would culminate in. It paired No. 1 state Class AA ranked P-E-M against No. 3 Class AAAA ranked Osseo.

Adding to the intrigue was it matched the big city — Minneapolis suburb Osseo — against the small town — the rural combination of Plainview, Elgin and Millville.


In the end, nobody left emotionally crushed, as the game lived up to its hype. It also helped that this wasn't the end of the season for the loser. This was an early-season holiday tournament contest, with loads of games still to be played.

"I'm hoping we learn from this," said Thompson, whose team built a 10-point halftime lead, but then succumbed to Osseo's increasingly tough defense and superior depth.

"Our kids are upset. But this was a great game to be a part of."

As for Osseo, it came away elated, and knowing that it had taken another step toward proving itself.

"We showed a lot of will and determination," said lightning-quick Osseo point guard Terez VanPelt. "We proved tonight that we are a good team."

It was VanPelt who finally got Osseo all the way over the hump. That came with just 1:28 left in regulation, when the senior hit both ends of a one-and-one free-throw chance.

That made it 61-60, giving the Orioles their first lead since midway through the first half.

After P-E-M failed to convert on an opportunity in close to the basket, VanPelt made things even more comfortable for his team. He did it with two more made free throws with 25 seconds left.


P-E-M, which entered the game unbeaten (8-0), then turned to its star, 6-foot-4 senior Cole Olstad. But Olstad, who finished with 34 points, missed a three-point try with 11 seconds left, and the Bulldogs also missed on a rebound attempt.

Osseo had its win, salted away finally with one more made free throw.

Osseo coach Tim Theisen knew how his team got it. No doubt, it was with its defense.

"We're not to used to being down by 10 at halftime," Theisen said. "But after that, we got back into it by making sure (P-E-M) worked for everything they got on offense."

The Orioles used one crucial stretch to turn their fortunes around. Beginning with just over 12 minutes left, they went on an 8-0 scoring run which featured a three-pointer by substitute Ross Miller, a basket and free throw by Joey Sonnenfeld and two more free throws by Sonnenfeld.

P-E-M made another run headed by Olstad, but Osseo bounced back by getting physical inside, banging its way behind 6-9 freshman Ian Theisen and the 6-5 Sonnenfeld.

The Orioles were led by Sonnenfeld's 16 points. VanPelt had 14 and Miller chipped in with three big three-pointers for nine points.

Besides Olstad's 34 points, P-E-M's only other double-figure scorer was point guard Cory Speer with 12.

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