Dutchmen end 13-year postseason win drought

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 3/10/21

Entering the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 4, District 9 Boys Basketball Tournament, Owensville Dutchmen basketball was looking to end over a decade-long drought of …

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Dutchmen end 13-year postseason win drought


Entering the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 4, District 9 Boys Basketball Tournament, Owensville Dutchmen basketball was looking to end over a decade-long drought of a victory in postseason play.

Seeded fourth, Owensville earned the chance to host their first-round district game last Tuesday night against the fifth-seeded Salem Tigers.

Taking a 35-22 lead into halftime, the Dutchmen blitzed Salem 19-5 in the third quarter before going on to a 64-35 victory.

“To snap a 13-game postseason losing streak tonight is a good accomplishment for these guys,” Dutchmen head basketball coach Cullen VanLeer said.

Trailing 8-2 90 seconds into the game, Owensville went on a 7-2 run sparked by five points from Tyler Heidbrink pulling the Dutchmen to within one of Salem at 10-9 with 4:30 left in the opening quarter.

Down 12-9 seconds later, VanLeer’s Dutchmen closed the first quarter on yet another run.

Tied at 12-12 with 2:03 left, Derek Brandt hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 1:16 of the quarter capping a 9-2 run giving Owensville an 18-14 lead after eight minutes of district tournament basketball.

“Guys stepped up and hit shots when we needed them to tonight,” VanLeer said.

Leading 26-20 with 5:21 remaining in the first half, OHS closed the second quarter on a 9-2 run giving them a 35-22 halftime lead.

Landon Valley sparked that run with five points in a span of 30 seconds.

In addition to his key 3-pointers at the end of the first quarter, Brandt led the Dutchmen with 10 first-half points.

Salem big man Lucas Morrison led the Tigers with eight points in the opening half.

In the opening moments of the third quarter, it was the Brendan Decker show.

That’s because the Dutchmen junior guard scored the first eight points of the second half pushing Owensville’s lead to 21 by a score of 43-22 with 4:28 for the third quarter.

Holding Salem to five points over the final 3:52 of the third quarter, the Dutchmen added 11 points to their score giving them a 54-27 lead with eight minutes standing between them and their first postseason victory since 2008.

Able to empty his bench in the fourth quarter, VanLeer got Dutchmen seniors Zaid Epstein, Macen Blankenship, TC Fisher and Heidbrink minutes on the home court before the final buzzer sounded on Owensville’s 64-35 victory over Salem.

Scoring the first eight points of the second half, Decker finished with a game-high 15 points leading three Dutchmen in double figures.

Adding four points in the second half, Brandt finished close behind Decker with 14 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.

Coming off the bench, Valley was OHS’ third scorer in double digits finishing with 12 points.

Spending most of his night guarding Salem’s 6-9 post player (Lucas Morrison), Heidbrink finished with eight points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Bryce Payne put together a solid night finishing with six points, four assists, three rebounds and a steal.

Able to find the scoring column in the fourth quarter, Dutchmen sophomore Charlie Whelan scored Owensville’s final five points.

Hitting a key first-quarter free throw and adding a second-quarter 3-pointer, Epstein finished with four points, four assists, three steals and a rebound to round out the Dutchmen scoring against Salem.

Morrison led Salem’s Tigers with a team-high 11 points in addition to 10 rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists.

With the victory, Owensville snapped a 13-year postseason losing streak dating back to a 52-39 victory over St. James during the Class 4, District 4 Tournament at Union High School back in 2008.


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