• Determined Indians end Bears' season, advance to district final

  • Fort Osage made sure the clock struck midnight on coach John Vickers’ Cinderella boys basketball team Thursday night.

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  • Fort Osage made sure the clock struck midnight on coach John Vickers’ Cinderella boys basketball team Thursday night.
    A determined Fort Osage squad made sure its season didn’t come to an end with a 67-44 rout of the Bears in a Class 5 District 15 semifinal at Liberty High School.
    The Bears, who overcame an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to down Noland Road rival Truman 49-47 in the opening round of district play, couldn’t find the same magic Thursday night as a balanced Fort Osage squad rolled into tonight’s 8 p.m. title game against the host Blue Jays, a 51-39 winner over Winnetonka.
    “That is as balanced and disciplined a team as I have seen in 24 years of coaching,” said Vickers, whose overachieving squad finished with a 13-11 record. “Who do you guard? They all know their roles and Josh (Wilson) has them playing really well right now.
    “They are going to be a handful for whoever they play. They are a class act and I want to wish them the best. I just wish we would have given them a little more to handle tonight. We picked a bad time to play one of our worst games of the year – but Fort had a lot to do with how we played. They take care of business on both ends of the court.”
    Fort Osage senior center Zach Adams started the game with a monster jam that rocked the rafters and got the overflow Indian crowd into the game from the opening tip.
    “Nice way to start a game, huh?” quipped Indians coach Josh Wilson, whose 20-4 team has won 11 in a row. “Our guys were fired up, and when Zach threw that ball down, we all knew we were ready to go.”
    With Adams dominating inside, D’Vante Mosby providing cool leadership and Austin Regier and freshman Skylar Thompson hitting from the outside, the No. 2-seeded Indians were hitting on all cylinders.
    “It felt so good to start the game with that dunk,” said Adams, who finished with 14 points. We looked at Chrisman – a team and program we really respect – as us last year. They were the underdog and they came into tonight’s game off that big win against Truman.
    “We were facing the pressure, not them. That’s how we were last year when we surprised everyone and won a district championship. We weren’t going to let that happen to us this year. We came focused and ready to play. This was a big win and it sets us up for tomorrow’s championship game against (Liberty).”
    The Indians led 14-8 after one period and 26-14 at halftime, but Wilson’s squad used a 24-point third quarter explosion to blow the Bears out.
    “Words can’t explain how special this is,” said Thompson, who hit two 3-pointers and finished with 10 points. “This is a great group of guys. We’re all just teammates – it’s not like all the seniors and me being a freshman. I’m going to miss the seniors after this season and we want to make this season go as far as it possibly can because we don’t want this to end. We’re having too much fun.”
    Page 2 of 2 - No one is having more fun than Mosby, one of four seniors who remembers those five-win seasons his freshman and sophomore years.
    “If I could use one word to sum up this season it would be fun,” said Mosby, the last Indian to enter the post-game locker room because he remained on the court to straighten the folding chairs on the bench so they would be ready for the next game.
    “This team is so strong – we play as a team, we’re friends, we know our roles. Someone is really going to have to play a great game to beat us. We won district last year and that’s our goal this week. We want to go all the way to state, but we have to take it one game at a time.”
    The Indians lost a 60-58 thriller to the No. 1-seeded Blue Jays early this season in their lone matchup.
    “Oh, we’ll use that game as motivation,” said Wilson, as he dodged a line of Liberty cheerleaders who were going through a pre-game routine before the start of the Liberty-Winnetonka game. “This team feels like it needs to take care of some unfinished business, and you can see how much they care for each other.
    “They know what they have to do to win. We’re having a lot of success, and this program hasn’t had a lot of success in the past, and they’re handling it real well.”
    Nathan Iloilo came off the bench to post 14 points for the Indians.
    Chrisman’s Eli Alvis led all scorers with 15 points.

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