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Hilltoppers Sports

Hilltoppers fight hard but lose to Aquinas

Varsity vs Aquinas HS on 1/16/2009
Posted Sunday, January 18, 2009 by Jake Merrill
La Crosse Tribune Article

Was it the most important rebound in Evan Pederson’s high school basketball career? Without question, he said.

Was it the fastest Aquinas High School boys basketball coach Rick Schneider had ever seen Pederson chase down a ball? Hard to say.

Schneider said he’s never seen Pederson do anything in slow motion. But then again, fear has

a way of giving even high-energy guys like Pederson a little extra kick.

You could excuse Pederson if his heart still was racing a bit Friday night after Aquinas’ 49-44 MVC win over Onalaska in front of a Reinhart Athletic Complex crowd estimated at 1,000. It was a crowd that included former Aquinas standout and current Iowa State player Scott Christopherson.

There was genuine fear in the sophomore guard’s belly when he saw Onalaska freshman forward Scott Arenz taking a wide-open 3-pointer — one that would have tied the game at 47 — from the left corner.

There was only one thought racing through Pederson’s mind — namely, grab the ball — as he chased down the rebound. And then, all Pederson wanted to do after being fouled was knock down both his free-throw attempts, which he did with 3.7 seconds left, and send the Blugolds (8-1, 4-1) home winners.

“It was pretty hectic at the end. I just knew that I had to get to the ball as fast as I could,” said Pederson, who reached his season average in rebounds (three) and scored 10 points.

“To get that last rebound was a big step for us. Lately we’ve had trouble finishing games in the second half. To seal this game with a rebound and free throws is good for us.”

Schneider agreed.

“The team that comes up with loose balls is going to win. I want our guys getting after them,” Schneider said. “The guys played hard, and that’s all I can ask.”

AQUINAS 49, ONALASKA 44

Onalaska 13 7 14 10 — 44

Aquinas 10 13 11 15 — 49

ONALASKA (4-7, 2-3): Adams 6, Liu 2, Klos 9, Price 18, Arenz 4, Socha 5.

AQUINAS (8-1, 4-1): Pederson 10, Hanson 13, Favre 7, Whitehead 14, Balduzzi 3, Hebel 2.

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