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AQUINAS GIRLS 38, ONALASKA 33

High school basketball: La Crosse Aquinas girls shock Onalaska

ONALASKA — The Aquinas High School girls basketball team’s 71st consecutive victory against an MVC opponent was the sweetest of all.

That’s because of the reality that a 15-point second-half presented, the reality of Onalaska’s defensive game plan and the reality that the Blugolds had to play Friday night without junior point guard Macy Donarski due to a concussion.

The Hilltoppers seemed to have Aquinas right where they wanted it. But that’s when the Blugolds started doing Blugold things.

Aquinas scored 22 of the final 24 points to get out of a scoring slump that lasted most of the game and handed Onalaska a very unlikely 38-33 loss on John Shelton Court at the Charles Deeth Fieldhouse.

“Wow, this was remarkable,” Aquinas coach Dave Donarski said. “I’m so proud of those girls and can’t imagine how they got through all of that.

“We struggled so much offensively, but they kept fighting and fought like crazy. This is one of the best wins we’ve ever had, including (WIAA) state title wins.”

Without Macy Donarski on the court, the Hilltoppers locked sophomore Anna Skemp to Aquinas senior Jacy Weisbrod and made it tough for a short-handed team to rely consistently on its top scorer.

But Weisbrod was there to hit a huge 3-pointer that tied the game at 36 with 3 minutes, 34 seconds left and a free throw to give Aquinas (10-2) its first lead about a minute later.

Onalaska (5-8, 1-4) scored two points after taking a 31-16 lead with 10:32 left.

“It’s a tough one,” Onalaska coach Shane Schmeling said. “I’m pretty proud of the kids for playing as well as they did for as long as they did. We executed defensively great for about 28 minutes and had just a few breakdowns (late) where we lost track of their personnel and how we wanted to guards their kids.

“Shea Bahr made some big plays for them, and Jacy obviously hit a huge 3.”

Weisbrod, who entered the game with a 25-point scoring average, was held to nine as Skemp chased her up and down the floor. But she contributed in other ways with 12 rebounds and five steals as Bahr took over the bulk of the offensive load.

Bahr, who scored a combined 13 points in the past two games, scored 16 against Onalaska and made 7 of 9 free throws to help keep alive a conference winning streak that began with a 67-39 victory over Logan on Dec. 15, 2015.

“We tried everything we could, and then Shea started making plays going to the rim,” said Dave Donarski, whose team has beaten Onalaska 13 times in a row. “That started to free other kids up, and Danica (Silcox) hit a couple of buckets, Maddie Murphy hits a 3.

“This was such a big team win. What I love is that it sets us up for the postseason in that we’re understanding that we can win with different kids when we struggle with something.”

Murphy, a sophomore, matched Weisbrod’s two 3-pointers and she made her second one to get the Blugolds within 36-33. Weisbrod’s tying 3 was a couple of steps behind the 3-point line.

“That was a 25-footer that she shot over two kids,” Dave Donarski said of Weisbrod’s tying shot. “I applaud her confidence even though she was frustrated because we struggled to get her the ball in scoring positions.

“That’s on us more than her. Then she did other things for us. If there was a big rebound, she was the one to get it.”

The Hilltoppers were led by senior Emma Breidenbach’s 10 points. Sophomore Sidney Fillbach added eight before the team went cold down the stretch.

“They’re disappointed,” Schmeling said of his players. “I wasn’t disappointed in our missed shots, it was more the defensive breakdowns we had in key situations where we weren’t mentally tough enough to do what were able to do most of the game.

“We just lost our composure a little bit on the defensive end.”

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