Fort Osage boys basketball coach Josh Wilson might want to show pregame videos to his players more often.

Fort Osage boys basketball coach Josh Wilson might want to show pregame videos to his players more often.

Wilson showed his players what he called “motivational videos” Thursday morning to prepare them for that night’s Class 5 District 14 semifinal with Winnetonka at William Chrisman High School. The videos included the end of the 1980s basketball film “Hoosiers.”

The Indians responded by pounding the Griffins 77-54 to advance to the final against the Kearney-Liberty winner at 7:15 p.m. tonight at Chrisman. It’s only the third time in school history Fort has advanced to a district title game and the first time since 2008.

“They were ready to go,” Wilson said. “It was awesome.”

Fort Osage junior Austin Regier and sophomore Nathan Iloilo agreed the videos got them ready to play.

“During school, I was just really focused and constantly thinking about the game,” said Regier, who led Fort Osage with 24 points and was among three Indians in double figures. “And I think that really translated as far as just keeping us motivated and knowing what we were playing for.”

For Iloilo, seeing the “Hoosiers” segment cool because he hadn’t heard of the film, he said. As with Regier, he found himself thinking about the upcoming game during school.

“(Wilson) told us to stay focused in our classes, but it was kind of hard because we (were) just so pumped up,” said Iloilo, who contributed 13 points.

The loss avenged two recent losses to the Griffins. Winnetonka hammered the Indians 61-42 Jan. 20 at Fort Osage and won 75-68 in double overtime Feb. 10 on its home court.

“You always want to go out there and beat somebody that has beaten you already,” Regier said. “And they pretty much embarrassed us on our home court, and we definitely remembered that.”

Griffins assistant coach Rob James, who fielded questions on head coach Derek Howard’s behalf, noticed some differences between the Fort Osage team Winnetonka had just played and the one it had thumped weeks earlier.

“The big difference was their execution on the offensive end,” James said. “They got the shots they wanted. And they – on the other end of the court – kept us from getting the shots we wanted.”
Regier noticed another difference: intensity level.

“We just wanted to come out more intense,” he said. “That first game at home, we didn’t come out with much intensity at all. And I think in this game, we made a really big point of emphasis for everybody to come out and play hard.”

Sparked by their intensity, the Indians led 18-9 after one quarter. Regier contributed 10 points during the quarter, including a buzzer-beating 3-point goal.

The banked-in bucket started a 15-0 run that went deep into the second quarter. Iloilo contributed five points to the spree and went on to lead Fort Osage for the quarter with nine points.

“I haven’t really been playing all that much recently,” Iloilo said. “And so, when I got out there, I kind of had a fire under me.”

The Indians then outscored the Griffins 43-38 the second half to improve to 13-13 and end Winnetonka’s season at 17-9.

“We’ve been waiting to play like that,” Wilson said. “Four quarters, not a quarter off.”