Jan 24: Aquinas vs Onalaska

Aquinas' Kayla Bahr drives to the basket around Onalaska's Kenzie Miller earlier this season.

The Onalaska High School girls basketball team was able to overcome an atrocious start, but another lapse in the second half was too much against the state’s top-ranked Division 4 team.

The Hilltoppers tied a game they once trailed by 13 points early in the second half, but Aquinas picked up its game to turn the tide and keep sole possession of first place in the MVC with a 69-56 victory Thursday night at the Reinhart Athletic Complex.

Juniors Lexi Donarski scored 25 points, and teammate Kayla Bahr added 22 as the Blugolds (17-0, 8-0) won their 45th consecutive game in front of about 800 people.

Second-place Onalaska (10-4, 6-2) gave up the first 13 points before getting things going and tightening things up late in the first half.

Lauren Arenz made a 3-pointer to tie the game at 30 with 16 minutes, 45 seconds remaining, but the Blugolds scored 17 of the next 19 points to pull away.

“Sometimes you expend so much energy coming back, it’s hard to keep it going,” Onalaska coach Shane Schmeling said. “They made that second run because they are a good team, and we couldn’t answer.”

Donarski scored 14 points in the first half, and Bahr had 19 in the second. After a Taylor Theusch basket broke the 30-30 tie, Bahr drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner.

Then she scored on a shot from the baseline and followed it up with another 3-pointer. By the time Donarski made a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 10:47 left, Aquinas had a 47-32 lead.

Kenzie Miller had 18 points to lead the Hilltoppers, who also received 14 from Arenz and 11 from Olivia Gamoke.

Miller scored nine points in the first half and helped bring Onalaska back from its initial deficit.

Dave Donarski mug


“You definitely wonder when they are going to start scoring,” Aquinas coach Dave Donarski said of his reaction to the 13-0 lead. “They are too good of a team. I think that’s a team that has five college basketball players (starting), and it’s going to be hard to end a game with them that fast even though we had the good start.”

The Blugolds looked like they would bury the Hilltoppers off the opening tip.

It took Aquinas five minutes to build a 13-0 lead, and Lexi Donarski had nine of those points, capping the run with a 3-pointer off a pass from Zoey Koblitz.

It took the Hilltoppers until the 12:01 mark to score, and Arenz got that basket in the lane. The points followed Onalaska’s stretch of 10 straight possessions with a turnover.

Miller and Arenz scored the last two baskets of the first half to get the Hilltoppers within 30-25.

“Our defensive intensity just wasn’t there,” Lexi Donarski said. “They also started making shots.

But when we let up, they were able to move the ball better and were getting straight lines to the basket, which is never acceptable for us.”

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Todd Sommerfeldt can be reached at Todd.Sommerfeldt@lee.net or via Twitter @SommerfeldtLAX