“It was all for him”
Imagine if Miah Ostrowski hit that 3-point shot at the end of overtime.
Disney might be calling him for the movie rights.
As it is, the only thing missing was the storybook ending as Ostrowski turned in a memorable performance in the Hawaii basketball team’s 89-84 double-overtime loss to nationally-ranked Utah State on Saturday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
The 5-foot-9 junior point guard had career-highs of 15 points, six assists (against just one turnover) and three steals. The Punahou School graduate had the crowd of more than 8,000 in a frenzy, as he helped rally the Warriors from a 12-point deficit in the second half.
That Ostrowski had a combined total of 12 points, five assists and three steals in his previous eight games as a Warrior is beside the point. Or that he has been on the Hawaii basketball team for less than six weeks – he joined the day after completing his season with the Hawaii football team. Or that he has not played organized basketball for the last three seasons to concentrate on football.
The main backdrop to the story was the death of his father just four days earlier.
Kui Ostrowski played a major role in his oldest son’s life. He coached Miah in youth leagues, and later played together with him in adult recreational leagues.
Miah did not miss a single minute of practice preparation during the week leading to the Utah State game. He said it is what his father would have wanted.
“My dad, he would have been real excited to come to the game,” Miah said. “I just knew that he was going to be there, whether here or up there. So I just prayed before the game and prayed that he would be there with me. He just gave me all the confidence in the world, and I felt real confident out there.”
Ostrowski, who did not play in Hawaii’s previous game against Utah State, shot 5 of 7 from the field and 5 of 8 on free throws. He frustrated the Aggies with his quick dribble-drives to the basket.
Ostrowski had a chance to hit a game-winner at the end of the first overtime, but his long 3-pointer bounced off the back of the rim.
Not that it made him any less of a hero for the night. Dozens of family members, friends and fans surrounded Ostrowski in the stands of the Sheriff Center after the game, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation as he made his way back to the locker room.
“I felt like he would be real proud of me tonight with the effort I put out there,” Miah said. “It was all for him.”
Photos by Brandon Flores/www.brandonfloresphotography