Osage City’s ‘Fortitude’ nets dad, son, team title trophy

The OCHS varsity boys basketball team hoists the state championship trophy after their win against Sabetha Saturday. Photo by Andrew Whitaker, The Hutchinson News.

By Brad Hallier, The Hutchinson News

HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Duncan Fort may never again shake more hands, hug more people or sign more autographs than he did Saturday evening at the Sports Arena.

But, hey, when you score 27 points and grab nine rebounds in leading your school to a state championship, is it that surprising?

“It’s crazy,” Fort said after Osage City won 56-49 against Sabetha in the Class 3A state championship game. “It’s crazy to think about winning this. Everyone has been working their whole lives to win this.”

What made the title even sweeter for Fort, a senior forward, is his dad – Dennis Fort – is the Indians’ coach.

Not only did the Forts get to hoist a state-championship trophy, but they did so in their final game together.

“Since I was 2 or 3, he’s been working my butt off,” said Duncan, who will play next season at Emporia State. “It’s a special deal between him and I. We’ve been through a lot together in the last 15 years.”

As the Indians received their first-place trophy, Dennis stood alone, watching his son and the other three seniors – Ryan Haskins, Kaleb Irvin and Joe Schemm – loft the trophy and pose for pictures. The emotions were raw as Dennis looked on, memories of coaching the group for more than a decade abundant.

“It’s unbelievably emotional,” Dennis Fort said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to win with your son out there. I have one biological kid (on the team), but I feel like I have 12 kids out there.”

Osage City was making its second straight trip to the 3A state tournament, but last year’s journey ended quickly with a first-round exit. This year lasted longer and ended better for Osage City.

“Coming into this year, we knew we had a good team, but it wasn’t like we said we were going to win it all,” Duncan Fort said. “We worked hard, set a goal and we worked hard to achieve it.”

The Quick Hit

Osage City 56, Sabetha 49

Key Stat: After a rugged start in which Osage City made just one field goal in the first 4:22, the Indians heated up and finished at 52.9 percent (18 of 34). Not bad in the biggest game of the year.

Turning Point: Osage City big man Duncan Fort tried to throw down a dunk with 3:32 left in the game. He got fouled, and even though the ball didn’t go in right away Wayne Selden style, the ball still somehow maneuvered its way into the basket. Fort added a free throw, and the Indians’ lead was suddenly nine points.

Player of the Game: Duncan Fort, and this is not debatable. Twenty-seven points. Nine rebounds. Two assists. Two blocked shots. One steal. He won’t soon forget this game.

He said it: “That’s been our MO all year long, to get Duncan the ball and let him work.” – Osage City coach Dennis Fort.

Final Count: Sabetha ends its season state runner-up and 24-2, while Osage City finishes 25-1.

Box Score
Osage City 56, Sabetha 49

  • Sabetha (24-2): Meyer 0-0 0-0 0, Montgomery 5-8 0-0 12, Cox 0-0 0-0 0, Frey 4-15 3-6 14, Gruber 0-0 0-0 0, Kirwan 4-10 3-4 11, Strahm 0-1 2-2 2, Keehn 4-11 0-0 8, Renyer 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 18-46 8-12 49
  • Osage City (25-1): Haskins 3-9 4-6 11, Irvin 1-3 1-2 4, Fort 10-17 7-8 27, Cooley 1-1 0-1 3, Wilkins 3-4 3-4 11, Swindale 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-34 15-21 56
  • Sabetha: 13;7;14;15;–;49
  • Osage City: 15;15;10;16;–;56
  • 3-point goals: Sabetha 5-15 (Frey 3-10, Montgomery 2-3, Kirwan 0-2). Osage City 5-14 (Wilkins 2-2, Cooley 1-1, Irvin 1-2, Haskins 1-7, Fort 0-2).
  • Rebounds: Sabetha 22 (Keehn 7), Osage City 27 (Fort 9).
  • Assists: Sabetha  10 (Keehn, Montgomery 3), Osage City 14 (Haskins 7).
  • Turnovers: Sabetha 5, Osage City 9.
  • Total fouls: Sabetha 21, Osage City 12. Fouled out: Keehn.

Originally published by The Hutchinson News and hutchnews.com. Reprinted with permission.

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