STANBERRY, Mo. — Platte Valley junior Memphis Bliley played as well defensively on Thursday as any opponent against Mound City star Tony Osburn according to Osburn’s father and coach Ryan Osburn.
Unfortunately for Bliley and Platte Valley, you can play great defense on the Division-I signee and Tony Osburn can still put up 40 points and lead his team to a 71-51 win in the Stanberry Invitational semifinals.
“He is going to make shots,” Bliley said. “He is a good player. He is going to make shots, so I was just told to keep my head and keep playing defense.”
Mound City (15-0) is ranked No. 2 in Class 1 after a state runner-up finish last season and Tony Osburn is committed to play at the University of Nebraska-Omaha next season.
While the Panther star’s offensive stats are gaudy, it was Mound City’s defense which proved tough to handle early. The Panthers knew that in order to slow down the red-hot Platte Valley offense, they’d need to contain Matt Jermain.
“We really, really had to guard Matt Jermain to begin with because he is a phenomenal player,” Ryan Osburn said. ‘I said that we can’t let him have one uncontested dribble and I thought, for most part, we did what I asked there.”
Ryan Osburn was able to match up other players on Jermain and Bliley and allow Tony Osburn more freedom to help try to create turnovers.
“I can’t say enough about the guys who were guarding their main scorers, Brendan Tubbs and Will Young especially right there, and Keaton Zembles, William Heck Trevor Tubbs and William Rother — they just did exactly what they were supposed to do,” Ryan Osburn said. “Then Tony can roam a little bit and if he gets the ball in transition, that is where we want the ball.”
Turnovers plagued Platte Valley early as Mound City took command with a 16-3 lead and Osburn capped the run with a 3-point play.
“We got to cut down on our turnovers,” Platte Valley junior Wyatt Miller said.
Platte Valley (9-4) fought back with a 11-4 spurt which extended into the second quarter and pulled within 20-14.
“We battled back, and we moved the ball really well as a team,” Bliley said.
A steal led to a Panther run-out, and Osburn provided the fans from Mound City with something to cheer about as he finished an alley-oop. Jermain answered the splashy play on the other end by driving the lane and pump-faking twice to get two defenders to jump by him before finishing a layup through contact for a 3-point play.
Five points is as close as Platte Valley got as Osburn got back-to-back steals and scores before Young got his own and fed Trevor Tubbs for the layup.
“We had it down to five points in the second quarter and had 3-straight turnovers that led to layups on the other end,” Platte Valley coach Tim Jermain said. “It is hard enough to stop them against our set defense, we certainly can’t stop them with transition defense when we don’t really have anybody back and they are shooting uncontested layups.”
A Bliley 3-pointer drew Platte Valley to within six, but again, Osburn answered and Mound City took a 32-24 lead into halftime. An Osburn steal and layup gave Mound City a 36-24 lead early in the third quarter and the teams traded baskets until the quarter ended with Mound City up 50-37.
Osburn put the game away in the fourth quarter with relentless attacks of the basket. He scored the first 10 points of the quarter and the lead grew to 20 where it finished at.
“He actually said to me, I am not going to shoot anymore 3’s,” Ryan Osburn said. “Platte Valley has always guarded him the best of anybody. He knew he was going to get guarded and I said just get to the basket. That was more his idea than mine.”
In addition to Osburn’s 40, Young had 12 and Brendan Tubbs had 10. They will play Stanberry on Saturday for the tournament championship at 1:30 p.m.
Platte Valley was led by Bliley with 20 points and Miller with 10. Platte Valley will play Worth County at 10:30 a.m., on Saturday for third place in the tournament.
“Memphis played a good game all around,” Tim Jermain said. “He did a really good job attacking the basket on the offensive end. We talked about it before the game, you are not going to stop Tony — he is too good of an offensive player, he is going to score some.”