ONALASKA — In what is a longtime rivalry between schools separated by just five miles, Holmen High School’s boys basketball team threw a scare at powerful Onalaska, hitting eight 3-pointers in the first half Friday night.
It didn’t matter.
Onalaska, ranked sixth in Division 2 by the Associated Press, used a strong second half from senior Noah Skifton to cruise past the Vikings 68-55 in a WIAA Division 2 regional semifinal at Charles Deeth Fieldhouse. Onalaska (19-3) will host Rice Lake in a regional final at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“In the second half, we did a better job of closing down on their shooters,” Onalaska coach Craig Kowal said. “I think we wore them down a little bit. Noah had a great second half. He is so quick off the dribble he was able to drive and get inside.”
Skifton, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, scored 15 of his game-high 25 points in the second half as the Hilltoppers outscored Holmen by 11. Skifton buried three 3-pointers on the night and was 6-for-6 from the line.
Skifton had plenty of help, too, as the sophomore duo of Tyrell Stutley (16 points) and Carson Arenz (13) also reached double-digits. Freshman Sam Kick added 10 points for Onalaska, which was 19-for-29 from the free-throw line compared to 10 of 17 for Holmen.
“We were solid and doing what we needed to do,” Kowal said. “We’re moving on and that’s all we want to do.”
Craig Newsome Jr. led Holmen (10-14) with 17 points, while Sawyer Phillips added 11.