It appeared for a stretch that the Aquinas High School boys basketball team had survived a cold streak that began Friday’s nonconference game against Sauk Prairie.
The Blugolds chipped and chipped away at the Eagles’ lead before halftime and seemed to be in a nice groove heading into halftime.
But Sauk Prairie stormed out of the gates in the second half, and eventually Aquinas just couldn’t keep up. The Eagles built their lead up and took the game 72-52 in front of an estimated crowd of 250 people at the Reinhart Athletic Center.
Sauk Prairie (4-3) started red hot from the field and jumped all over the Blugolds from the opening tip, taking a 14-2 lead before Aquinas coach Brad Reinhart took a time out.
But when Aquinas’ 6-foot-6 senior center Randy Jacobson checked in off the bench, things started to turn around. Jacobson’s size deterred the Eagles from driving to the basket, but they were able to hit five of their seven 3-pointers in the opening 18 minutes. Still, what Jacobson brought on the offensive end seemed to stabilize Aquinas.
He made a basket during his first possession on the floor, and forced the Eagles to sink down onto him. That opened things up for the Blugolds’ guards, namely senior Conley Malone. The pair got things going offensively and helped Aquinas (4-3) get the deficit down to 32-26 at halftime.
After the opening minutes of the second half, Aquinas still trailed by six, but the formula for Sauk Prairie to take control came in the form of senior guard Spencer Kostroski. Even with the speedy Malone guarding him, Kostroski was able to drive into the lane and either get layups or drop it off to a teammate. Kostroski scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half as Sauk Prairie took over.
With just less than seven minutes remaining, the Eagles had a 20-point lead.
Jacobson and Malone led Aquinas with 16 points apiece. Jacobson had eight rebounds, two blocks, and made all eight of his free throws.
Eagles senior Elijah Jorgenson scored a game-high 24 points, including three first-half 3-pointers.