Tigers take first loss, fall to Ponca in the semifinals

The Osmond Tigers took their first loss of the season, falling to Ponca in the semifinals of conference play after defeating Emerson-Hubbard and Allen in the first two rounds.

Osmond vs. Emerson-Hubbard

OSMOND — The Osmond boys began conference tournament play as the No. 2 seed, hosting the No. 15 seed Emerson-Hubbard Pirates on Monday, Feb. 3. The Tigers bested the Pirates 10 days earlier by a score of 85-27 and this game would play out in a similar fashion with Osmond winning by 50-plus once again.

Four Tigers found their way into double-digit scoring, including Keaton Timmerman (18), Graysen Schultze (15), Justus Maertins (12), and Ryan Schmit (11). Senior guard Aaron Chishiba scored an efficient seven points and added an astonishing eight assists, helping to fuel the four leading scorers for Osmond.

Osmond vs. Allen

WALTHILL — Quarterfinal action would send the Tigers to Walthill on Thursday, Feb. 6, to face off against a tough 12-2 Allen team. Osmond would jump all over the No. 7 seed Eagles in the first quarter, playing harassing defense and using the extra few feet of a full-length court to fire passes up court in transition for fast-break Tiger layups.

It seemed Osmond was soon to get another blowout victory, until Allen fired back in the second quarter. The Eagles sank a trio of threes in the quarter, two of which by sophomore Nate Oswald.

The Eagles didn’t stop at the offensive end. They were playing physical defense as well, making it difficult to pass in the paint, forcing the Tigers to take contest shots in the paint or hit three-pointers. Osmond had a difficult time doing either throughout the second and into the third quarter as Allen would outscore Osmond 24-15 in the middle 16 minutes of the contest.

Heading into the fourth quarter, the Tigers had already been hit with three offensive fouls, had several key players with dangerous foul trouble, and were having difficulty knocking down outside shots.

None of that appeared to faze this veteran group of basketball players. They locked in on defense, once again holding the Eagles to 10 points. All five starters scored for Osmond in the quarter as they took patient possessions, quality shots and earned trips to the free throw line.

In the fourth, the Tigers would convert 10 of its 15 attempts at the foul line. Timmerman went fourfor-four and added two buckets. Schultze added six points and Maertins, five, to help lead Osmond to victory in the final quarter.

As he’s seemingly done all season in the Tigers' biggest games, Keaton tallied another double-double, adding 12 rebounds to his 20 points. Schultze played a balanced game, scoring eight and dishing out five assists.

Osmond improved to 18-0 on the season, and notched its 15th win of the season while holding the opponent to 40 points or less. This is a new Osmond record!

Osmond vs. Ponca

ALLEN — The semifinal match pinned the Tigers up against Ponca. The Indians came into the game rated in Class C2, with a 16-2 record. Both teams were feeling things out in the first quarter going back and forth as Ponca would end up claiming a two-point lead at the end of quarter No. 1.

Throughout the next two quarters, the Tigers would realize that in their 19th game, they had finally met their match. The white and blue poured

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