OSCEOLA, NE — Despite a late surge, the Osceola Bulldogs were able to pull away from the Friend Bulldogs in a win in the D2-4 district finals.

Osceola won the contest 64-45 in a contest that was close in the first half before Osceola separated itself and held off a brief surge from Friend. 

Friend and Osceola battled back and forth in the first quarter that ended with Osceola on top 13-11. 

The home team expanded its lead to 21-13 with about three minutes left until halftime. Friend roared back with a 9-0 run to take a 22-21 lead. The advantage was brief however as Brayden Santos hit a three to put Osceola on top 24-22 at the break. 

Osceola started the third quarter on a 9-0 run of its own to push the lead to double digits. It'd stay that way as the home team led 39-28 after three. 

In the fourth quarter a three-pointer put Friend down 14 points. The visiting Bulldogs then gave one final push embarking on a 12-2 run to cut the Osceola lead down to four points at 44-40. 

Osceola took the punch and pulled away late though. Things got out of reach after a loose ball foul and following technical foul on Friend's Breckan Schluter resulted in him fouling out of the game and gave Osceola four straight free throws. They converted all of them and hit a bucket on its next possession for a 6-0 run to blow its lead back out to double digits. 

Free throws down the stretch for Osceola combined with Schluter — Friend's leading scorer — sitting on the bench the final few minutes allowed the home team to pull away for the win. Osceola hit 14-17 free throws in the fourth quarter.

2023 will be Osceola's third consecutive trip to the state tournament. Friend continues to wait for its first trip to Lincoln since 2004. 


Osceola - 
Kale Gustafson, 24
Isaiah Zelasney, 22
Kelby Neujahr, 8
Kolton Neujahr, 3
Brayden Santos, 3
Hudson Prosoki, 2
Matt Demers, 2

Friend - 
Breckan Schluter, 20
Mason Vossler, 10
Spencer Eberspacher, 7
Lorenzo Vespignani, 4
Chase Svehla, 4


Osceola  13  11  15  25  -  64

Friend     11   11   6   17  -  45