Osage refused to get down after a terrible start. That's why the Green Devils are moving on to the Class 2A semifinals.
Fourth-seeded Osage bounced back after falling behind 10-0 and beat West Branch 50-43 for its ninth straight victory after suffering a 34-point loss to Dike-New Hartford on Feb. 1. The Green Devils got back into the game with an 11-0 run spanning halftime and responded with another big burst after West Branch rattled off eight straight points to take a 37-35 lead into the fourth quarter.
Sidney Brandau sparked the decisive fourth-quarter run and finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. Dani Johnson added 13 points and eight rebounds and Melanie Bye scored nine. Rylan Druecker led West Branch with 14 points and Mackenzie Heise scored nine.
Brandau, a 6-foot senior, got two buckets inside and hit a 3-pointer as part of 9-0 run that put Osage ahead to stay at 44-37 with a little more than 3 minutes remaining. Johnson then finished it off for the Green Devils, following up her own miss for a basket, stealing the ball and driving for a layup and sinking two free throws for the final points.
Osage trailed 13-2 at one point and finished the first quarter 2-for-13 from the field with eight turnovers. But the Green Devils kept at it and now get a shot at top-seeded and unbeaten Cascade at 10 a.m. Friday. The Green Devils, now 23-2, earned their state tournament berth this year after the three previous seasons ended with a loss in the regional finals.
West Branch, in the tournament for the third time, finished with a 21-4 record.