Ian Theisen had been there before. Big stage, close game, a lot on the line. So when Osseo needed a calming influence — not to mention a big body — it looked to its star center.
Theisen, as he has so frequently, came through.
He scored 23 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked six shots as the Orioles rallied from a 17-point first-half deficit to defeat Champlin Park 72-67 in overtime Friday in the Class 4A, Section 5 championship game at Rogers High School.
“There’s a reason he’s one of the top centers in the state,” said Osseo coach Tim Theisen, Ian’s uncle. “He brings composure to the team and he doesn’t panic.”
Ian Theisen always will be remembered for hitting the state championship-winning basket for the Orioles in 2012. So when top-seeded Champlin Park ran its way to a 17-point first-half lead, it was Theisen who steadied his team.
“We just had to play Osseo defense,” Theisen said. “I transferred from Champlin Park, and I wasn’t going to go out losing to them.”
Much of the Orioles’ turnaround — they outscored Champlin Park 33-21 in the second half — was due to the play of guard tandem Wheeler Baker and Jordan Dembley. Not so much on the scoresheet as in the heads of the Champlin Park guards.
“It really was a tale of two halves,” Tim Theisen said. “In the first half, we gave them easy access to the lane. In the second half, we kept them out of there and that can be directly attributed to our tough guard play.”
After trailing for nearly the entire game, Osseo took its first lead, 60-59, with less than three minutes left on a Baker free throw. Champlin Park tied it with a free throw and the game went to overtime tied 60-60.
Osseo took control by scoring the first five points on a drive by Baker and three-pointer by Elliot Kane.