ONALASKA — The Aquinas High School boys basketball team encountered foul trouble and a tough night of shooting, but that didn’t stop it from moving to the top of the MVC.
The Blugolds played without center Parker Weber more than they wanted and had more trouble scoring than they wanted, but they still recorded a 41-28 win over Onalaska at Charles Deeth Fieldhouse on Thursday.
Weber, a 6-foot-8 Minnesota State-Moorhead recruit, picked up early fouls, but teammate Reggie Rabb was there to keep Aquinas (8-2, 3-0) afloat against the Hilltoppers’ familiar 2-3 zone.
Rabb scored eight of his 13 points late in the second quarter to help the Blugolds claim a 21-11 halftime lead and kept the game tempo where Aquinas wanted it.
“I think the most important thing (Reggie) did was allow us to pick the tempo of the game up,” said Aquinas coach Rick Schneider, whose team leads second-place Central (8-1, 2-0) by a half-game. “He did that by pushing the ball up (the floor).
“When they tried to pressure, he was able to break the pressure on his own and push it up, and I felt like his defense also picked the tempo of the game up, and that was to our advantage.”
But most of the possessions were long ones.
The Blugolds started to find a rhythm in the second
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half and scored the first seven points of the third quarter to take control.
Onalaska (3-5, 1-3) only made two third-quarter shots, and one of them beat the quarter-ending buzzer.
Freshmen Noah Frederickson, Tyler Hughes and Jalen Zubich scored 18 of the Hilltoppers’ points.
“We thought we could really keep their interior game in check, and it was a bonus that we got Weber in foul trouble,” Onalaska coach Craig Kowal said. “We just didn’t do a very good job offensively taking advantage of it. We’ve just got to learn from each game and try and improve.”
The Blugolds had to sit Weber a second time when he picked up his fourth foul early in the fourth quarter. The Hilltoppers responded with an 8-3 run to get within 12 with five minutes remaining.
But the Blugolds showed their experience and put the game away with defense — they forced 14 turnovers — and a pair of thunderous Weber dunks when he re-entered to put the finishing touches on the low-scoring win.
“We’ve got a lot to do, so we’re not satisfied,” Rabb said. “I think a little bit of it is we haven’t had a game for two weeks, so we were trying to brush the rust off, so we’ve got to get back at it.”
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