Five Seniors Share Basketball MVP Award
With a well-balanced, athletic group of seniors, Owatonna boys' basketball had its best season in a number of years. On Monday night, coach Josh Williams announced that the team Most Valuable Player Award would be shared by all five. Abe Havelka, Andrew Jackson, Dalton Kubista, Nolan Malo and Alex Raichle were each presented with a souvenir basketball at the team's award banquet at Trinity Lutheran Church. Williams announced that all five are likely to play a sport in college, though a couple of the players are undecided on their final plans.
Raichle and junior Jason Williamson won "The Glove" defensive award. Malo was named most improved. Junior Jake Miller was voted the winner of the Blue Collar Award. Jackson took home the Coaches Award. OHS went 21-7 overall and 18-4 for a third place finish in the Big Nine Conference. The Huskies won a home playoff game to advance to the Section 1AAAA semifinals at Mayo Civic Center, where they lost to Rochester JM.
Season highlights included a win at Austin and an exciting overtime loss at home to the Packers. OHS swept top-five ranked Mankato East, a state tournament team. The Huskies had a 14-game winning streak. They played tough against state runner-up Apple Valley in a December home game. The Huskies outscored their opponents 73-57, outrebounded them 37-29 and forced about 20 turnovers per game.
Statistical award winners included junior Jared Fett with his 64.3% field goal shooting and junior Steven Eckard at 38.8% on three-pointers. Kubista was the top free throw shooter at 72.7%. Malo led the team in rebounds with 192. Raichle and Williamson each had 73 assists. Williamson led the team with 69 steals. Kubista ended his career at No. 6 on the all-time points list for OHS boys' basketball with 1,083 points.
The Huskies were the section academic championships. Malo and Kubista earned All-State academic recognition and Big Nine Scholar Athlete awards. Malo will play in the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association all-star series April 6 in St. Cloud and April 7 at Macalester College. Jackson, Kubista, Malo and Raichle were named All-Big Nine Conference, while Williamson was an honorable mention selection.
Other letter winners for the varsity included juniors Ryan Haberman, Jack Hanson, Brayden Larson and Tyler Sackett, sophomores Carson DeKam, Sol Havelka and Isaac Oppegard, freshman Nolan Burmeister and eighth-grader Evan Dushek.
Owatonna's junior varsity compiled a 23-3 record, winning the Big Nine title and the Federated Insurance Tournament. Eight different players led the team in scoring. Each averaged six points per game or more, but none averaged double figures. The Huskies' b-squad went 19-5 and ended the season on a seven-game winning streak. OHS beat every Big Nine team in the second round.