Alcona, Mich. — The Oscoda Owls battled Johannesburg-Lewiston for the first time this season in the Division 3 – District 69 Final on Friday night. The Owls were on the hunt for their first title since 2000, and the Cardinals hoped to earn their first District championship since 1983.
Oscoda took off strong, behind sophomore Owen Franklin who knocked down two triples and then junior Gabe Kellstrom added another for the 9-2 lead. Franklin wanted one more triple in the first quarter and the Owls led the Cardinals 16-8. Pretty even match in the second, both teams dropped ten points and Oscoda led at halftime 26-18.
The Cardinals made a second half push starting with two 3-pointers in the third quarter, one each by Tanner Shimel and Sheldon Huff. Oscoda junior Brayden Mallak made three buckets and a free throw to keep the Owls on top at the end of the third 35-32. Cardinal senior post player Tyson Claeys added a triple in the fourth quarter, but Franklin gave full momentum to the Owls when he knocked down a 3-pointer and then next drive made a layup on a foul for three more points, giving Oscoda a six point lead. The Owls soared past the Cardinals 51-43 advancing to the Regional Semifinals.
“This is the greatest feeling in the world,” said Franklin. “We’ve been dreaming about this since we were in third grade playing little kids AAU ball, but it’s the greatest feeling in the world. I can’t even describe it.”
The last time the blue and white won a District title was in 2000. Oscoda Head Coach Seth Alda, as a freshman, played on that championship team.
“As a freshman on the team I didn’t contribute very much,” said Alda. “I tell them it was one of my favorite basketball memories, so to come out here and get another District title means a lot. I’m really happy for the kids.”
Up next, Oscoda (23-0) will take on Beal City (13-8) on Tuesday, March 5th at 7:30 p.m. in Houghton Lake.
Owen Franklin – 23
Brayden Mallak – 13
Gabe Kellstrom – 8
Gavin Lueck – 3
Devin Thomas – 2
Jacob Post – 2
Tyson Claeys – 15
Sheldon Huff – 9
Tanner Shimel – 7
Joey Chrencik – 6
Tyler Madej – 2
Gavin Weaver – 2
Carlos Gascho – 2