Tuesday night at Patriot, Osbourn Park used a 14-0 second half run to help secure a 56-44 win over their district rivals. The win was significant, as the Yellow Jackets’ victory avenged an early season loss to the Pioneers and put Osbourn Park in prime position to secure a regular season Cedar Run District crown.
Osbourn Park coach Chrissy Kelly didn’t mince words when asked about her team’s last game against Patriot, a 46-41 loss.
“I cost them the first game,” said Kelly, who recently won her 300th career high school contest. “I failed them the very first game. That’s where I learned this is a new group and it’s going to be a process. I failed them…but today, they didn’t fail me.”
Osbourn Park is a talented bunch which returned many core pieces from the team that fell to Madison in the state final last March. But, it is also a team with five freshmen on the roster. So there definitely has been a learning curve.
It took a while for Kelly’s team to get rolling Tuesday night. The Pioneers did a nice job of getting junior Ella Negron looks at the basket early, and the game was knotted up at 11 late in the first quarter. The visitors did score the last four points of the first quarter, and went on to lead 26-20 at the half.
That’s when defense sealed the game for Osbourn Park. The Yellow Jackets came out of the break energized, completely discombobulating Patriot with their defensive pressure. Seniors Alana Powell and Kori Cole were particularly devastating, garnering steals and either passing up the court or going coast-to-coast. After Powell got a steal and passed up to Cole for a lay-up, it was suddenly 37-20 Osbourn Park with 4:54 left in the third.
Patriot called a timeout and got its act together, but Osbourn Park would still score the next three points to make it 40-20 and cap a 14-0 run out of halftime. The game was effectively sealed.
Powell and Cole finished with 16 points apiece to lead the way for the Yellow Jackets (7-1, 14-3). Keyarah Rainey was effective off the bench in much the same way Powell and Cole were, on both offense and defense (five steals). The talented freshman finished with 10 points, while sophomore post Alexandra Brown added eight. On the evening, the visitors were able to get to the free throw line 28 times to Patriot’s 16.
Patriot (5-2, 11-5) was led by Negron’s 16 points on the evening, with 12 of those coming in the first half. Senior stars Sydnee Smith and Addisyn Banks (13 points, 10 rebounds) came on strong in the fourth quarter, as the Pioneers outscored Osburn Park 16-9.
Patriot may get another crack at Osbourn Park in the playoffs, but as of now the Pioneers stand tied with Gainesville a game and a half behind the Yellow Jackets in the Cedar Run. Coach Kelly likes where her team is at, but knows there’s still a ton of work to do for Osbourn Park to duplicate or better last year’s postseason run.
“This is a new team that is growing into themselves. I’m still learning about them and they’re still learning to play for me….when my juniors become seniors their role becomes very different…it’s really hard. I think that’s where we’re at…it’s a process.”
all stats are unofficial
|Threes: Upperman 0-1, Negron 0-1, Bilal 0-1, Smith 0-2, Banks 0-2|
|Threes: Powell 1-1, Yann 0-1, Darfur 0-1, West 0-2|