For the second time this season, Josh Wilson’s Fort Osage High School boys basketball team is going to a tournament championship game.
The Indians won their division in the William Jewell Holiday Classic and hope to do the same thing at 2:30 p.m. Saturday when they meet Oak Grove (a 55-54 winner over Grain Valley, please see related story) in the title game of the 21st annual Sonic Showdown.
The Indians got off to a big first-period lead against Marshall Thursday night and never looked back in claiming an 80-63 victory.
“Everyone talks about offense, but our defense is why we won tonight,” said Ty Baker, who led the Indians with 23 points and played a solid game at each end of the court. “When we held them to seven points in the second period and took that big lead into the half we knew we had a great chance to win if we worked hard and didn’t let them back in the game, and that’s what we did.”
The Indians led 17-11 after one quarter, thanks in part to Baker’s eight points, and extended the margin to 37-18 by halftime.
“We use words like ‘solid,’ and ‘lock down,’ to describe the type of basketball I want our team to play,” Indians coach Josh Wilson said after his team improved to 13-3. “I challenged our guys because I was not happy the way we played the other night. Tonight, we played Fort Osage Indians basketball. People will talk about Ty’s 23 points, but Cahleel (Smith) did an outstanding job defending their top scorer (Jace Lance, who finished with 14 points) and Darren (Horning) and Jared (Larson) and Triston (Turner) all did things to contribute to the win.
“Games like this are how you get into the championship game of a tournament. The guys just worked hard and played a solid game.”
The Indians spread the scoring around as Horning finished with 15, Smith with 14 and Larson with 10.
“We don’t care who scores or gets the headlines,” Baker said. “We just want to play as a team and get wins. This has really been a fun season and we can’t wait to see what happens Saturday.
“That’s a great Oak Grove team. They have the big center (Trey Bryant) and some good outside shooters. We’re going to have to do a good job defensively on (Bryant) and pressure them all night.
“Our speed and outside shooting are going to be important. It should be a great game.”