MADISON, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Hopes for a back-to-back Division 2 titles for the Onalaska Hilltoppers were dashed on the free throw line at the Kohl Center Friday afternoon with an overtime loss to Pulaski 46-42.
The Red Raiders and Hilltoppers started out slow, with Pulaski holding a 6-4 lead a the end of the first quarter. Scoring picked up in the second quarter with a 9-3 run by Onalaska, but two three point buckets by Pulaski's leading scorer Cody Wichmann erased the lead. The Hilltoppers entered halftime down 19-18.
In the third quarter, it was Pulaski's turn for a run when they jumped out to a 30-21 lead. Onalaska's defense stepped up and shut them down for the last minute of the third quarter and two minutes into the fourth. All the while the Hilltoppers, led by Matt Thomas' 25 points, kept chipping away at the gap until he hit a jumper to tie game at 33 with 1:21 left in regulation. That was the score as the teams went into overtime.
Thomas scored 8 of Onalaska's 9 points in the overtime, six of which were free throws. But the Red Raiders Jordan Stiede, who had 13, hit a three pointer to start the scoring in overtime to give them a lead Onalaska could never overcome. They went 8 for 11 on free throws to stay out in front the entire period. The Hilltoppers got within three but weren't able to finish closing the gap.
Clint Rihn added six for Onalaska, with Dustin Gordon adding five.
Onalaska finishes the season at 24-3.
Pulaski will meet Wisconsin Lutheran for the Divsion 2 crown Saturday at 6:35 p.m. That game can be see on WXOW or on wxow.com
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