The Osbourn boys basketball players say they want to experience the thrill of cradling a championship trophy, and the team that already has surpassed its win total of last season will get that opportunity tonight if it can knock off Osbourn Park in the final round of the Kiwanis Holiday Basketball Classic at Osbourn.
Osbourn (6-1) has trounced its first two opponents in the round robin event, beating Seton, 72-39, Monday and North Stafford, 80-56, last night. And even though tonight's 9 o'clock game against the Yellow Jackets (5-2) will not count toward the Cardinal District standings, the Eagles believe the symbolic magnitude of a victory would rival a district win in importance.
"We want the trophy really, really bad," said Osbourn senior guard Joel D'Antignac, who had eight points and three steals in the win over North Stafford.
"Emotionally, it's big," said senior guard John Horton, who scored 17 points last night and also had six rebounds and five assists.
With the six-team round robin format, there is not Kiwanis tournament championship. The champion will be determined by record. Osbourn and Marshall were the only unbeaten teams left after yesterday. If both teams win today--Marshall plays Seton at 7 p.m.--Osbourn would take home the trophy because it will sport a greater differential between points scored and points allowed. Marshall's two wins have been 53-48 over Hylton and 53-47 over Osbourn Park.
Second-year Osbourn coach Mike Dufrene found last night's victory perhaps the most pleasing of any during his short tenure at his alma mater.
"I told the kids I'm proud of them because this is the first time in my career I was able to put a team together that takes an opponent and beats them consistently like they should," Dufrene said. "I'm not taking anything away from the teams we've been playing in this tournament, but the way we're playing right now, we should go out there and try to dominate a game."
The Eagles did that last night, storming to a 15-3 lead with just three minutes gone, in part by forcing four turnovers. During that short stretch, both Horton and D'Antignac found steady senior Joe Lane inside for baskets. Lane played his typical game and then some, scoring 24 points and snaring nine rebounds. He sank 10 of 12 free throw attempts.
North Stafford committed 24 turnovers and shot 17 of 47.
Osbourn went without a field goal from 1 minute 20 seconds of the first quarter to 3:01 of the second but connected on 8 of 10 foul shots during that span to retain a comfortable lead of seven points or more.
D'Antignac and Horton were on the bench with two fouls for most of that time. The duo returned to play much of the second half, but the extended rest could make them even more effective against Osbourn Park.
"This is where we talked about being going into the third night," Dufrene said. "This is where we expected to be."
CAPTION: Arthur White can't stop Joel D'Antignac of Osbourn (6-1), which plays Osbourn Park in Kiwanis Classic's final round.