Injuries create time for Osseo to forge depth

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 11, 2014 - 9:54 PM

Reserves improved with more playing time, and now rugged Ian Theisen is back.


Osseo center Ian Theisen missed most of the season because of a stress fracture in his left foot — which, oddly, worked out well. Injuries to Theisen and Matt Miedtke gave other players more experience, and Theisen’s return for the playoffs helped Osseo reach the Class 4A tournament.


CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Gritty senior forward Matt Miedtke was lost for the season because of a knee injury after only six games. Star center Ian Theisen, a 6-9 Division I recruit, went out because of a stress fracture in his left foot not long after.

Turns out, losing two of its best players might have been the best thing to happen to the Osseo basketball team.

“No, we didn’t plan it that way,” said coach Tim Theisen (no relation to Ian), laughing. “But the injuries have been the biggest turning point for this team.”

Talent was never in question for fourth-seeded Osseo, which will face No. 5 Shakopee in the Class 4A quarterfinals at noon Wednesday at Target Center. The biggest issue was getting players from various backgrounds, many of whom had little playing time together, to realize their potential in a relatively short time.

There was Ian Theisen, an eye-opening combination of size and strength with remarkably soft hands; Wheeler Baker, a slashing 6-2 guard who is equally adept at defense as he is at scoring; Miedtke, the prototypical under-the-radar glue guy; Connor Kittleson, lean and athletic; Giovanni Pastrano, in only his second year in Minnesota after moving from Puerto Rico; and newcomers in guards Jordan Dembley and Elliot Kane.

The pieces were there, but, like any puzzle, it took a while to get them to fit together.

“I’ll be honest with you, early in the season the chemistry wasn’t great,” Baker said. “But it takes time. It’s all about time and building relationships.”

Saddled with a schedule designed to build callouses along with the losses of two of its best players, Osseo traversed a season of character- building highs and lows, including an 11-game winning streak followed by a four-game losing streak.

All the time, Coach Theisen said, he could see things coming together.

“With Matt and Ian out, we had some guys getting playing time and gaining experience,” he said. “You can see how much it’s helped us now.”

Ian Theisen returned just in time for the playoffs, adding inside presence and senior leadership. He said he could tell how much better his team was when he came back.

“As weird as it sounds, having me and Matt out was a good thing,” the South Dakota State recruit said. “It gave big minutes to some of the other guys, and you could see the difference that made.”

Coach Theisen had some other tricks in his bag as well. He swapped out Kane for Pastrano in the starting lineup, opting for Pastrano’s athleticism and rebounding and counting on Kane to provide points off the bench.

“Gio is still learning to play offense, but he’s smart and he gives us defense and rebounding,” Coach Theisen said. “And Elliot? Well, he’s instant offense.”

The Orioles are still far from a finished product — they trailed by double digits in the first halves of their section semifinal and championship games before rallying to win — but it’s clear the momentum has swung in their favor.

“It’s all about perseverance,” Baker said. “When you have injuries and lose games, it’s an opportunity to reflect on what went wrong. Now, we’re much better as a unit. We believe in ourselves. And when we play like we’re capable of playing, we can beat anybody.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


St. Louis 2
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Atlanta 2
Miami 7 FINAL
Washington 11
Detroit 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 6 FINAL
Baltimore 5
NY Yankees 7 FINAL
Houston 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Boston 3
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 2
Cincinnati 8 FINAL
LA Angels 6
Chicago Cubs 7 FINAL
Kansas City 0
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
San Francisco 11
Chicago WSox 4 FINAL
Cleveland 1
Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Oakland 7
Seattle 5 FINAL
San Diego 8
Texas 5 FINAL
Los Angeles 10
Colorado 11 FINAL
Arizona 10
Arizona 1 FINAL
Colorado 2
Houston 99 FINAL
Washington 91
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Brooklyn 107
Minnesota 88 FINAL
New Orleans 110
Philadelphia 86 FINAL
Cleveland 87
Detroit 102 FINAL
Miami 109
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Boston 106
Dallas 99 FINAL
Indiana 104
Memphis 89 FINAL
San Antonio 103
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Phoenix 97
Washington 5 FINAL
NY Rangers 2
Calgary 5 FINAL
Nashville 2
Boston 2 FINAL(OT)
Carolina 1
Detroit 4 FINAL
NY Islanders 5
Florida 4 FINAL
Ottawa 2
Anaheim 2 FINAL
New Jersey 1
Chicago 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
San Jose 2 FINAL(SO)
Pittsburgh 3
Michigan State 76 FINAL
Louisville 70
Gonzaga 52 FINAL
Duke 66
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Toronto FC 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
(7) Florida State 74 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 80
Villanova 70 FINAL
West Virginia 75
Michigan 69 FINAL
Southern Miss 60
Temple 69 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 57
Siena 50 FINAL
Louisiana 52
St Marys-CA 66 FINAL
(5) Baylor 68 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77


question of the day

Poll: Will Major League Soccer be successful in Minnesota?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters