Before they were Hilltoppers: Onalaska Dad on former team - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Before they were Hilltoppers: Onalaska Dad on former team

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MADISON, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Coaching a basketball team into the state tournament is no small feat.
 
Neither is coaching them all the way up until high school.
 
One Onalaska dad has known some Hilltoppers on the court since they were eight years old.

Every dad tries to cheer as loudly as he can for his son, like Joe Rihn, who's son, Clint, is a starting guard for the Hilltoppers.

"It's been this way since he was a little kid," Rihn said. "We've played football, basketball, baseball, everything together. It's been a blast."

Rihn may have one son on the court. But he feels like a father to seven of the players.

"I coached these guys since the third grade, and it's such a privilege to be here to see these guys on the floor," Rihn said.

Rihn created and coached a basketball team that later became an official part of the Onalaska Royals Program.

Seven of his players played for the Hilltoppers Friday. And in Rihn's eyes, that's a slam dunk.

"It means the world. I mean I followed them all through their lives. They're like my kids. It means a lot, I'm very proud," he said.

Rihn's son is now a senior on the Hilltoppers, being recruited in La Crosse. Rihn's hoping he continues to play.

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