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Hilltoppers Sports

Price Provides Late Spark

Varsity vs Holmen HS on 1/22/2009
Posted Monday, January 26, 2009 by Jake Merrill
La Crosse Tribune Article by Joel Baldinski

ONALASKA — There was little doubt Thursday night how seriously Michael Price takes his leadership role on the Onalaska High School boys basketball team.

Price, who is the only senior in the Hilltoppers’ starting lineup, grimaced after each of his missed shots and appeared displeased with himself for most of the game against Holmen.

But all’s well that ends well.

Price left the court with a celebratory shout and pump of his fist after Onalaska held off the Vikings 44-41 in an MVC game at Deeth Fieldhouse.

The 6-foot-4 forward had done his part by scoring seven of his game-high 13 points in the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t bring our ‘A’ game to start,” Price said. “We needed a spark at the end and as a senior, I tried to get us going.”

Both offenses took a long time to wake up. It wasn’t until midway through the third quarter that the teams started trading baskets instead of missed shots and turnovers.

A 7-0 run by the Hilltoppers (5-7, 3-3 MVC) gave them a 31-24 lead.

The Vikings (2-9, 0-5) clawed back. Junior guard Nick Smith, who leads Holmen with 15 points per game, was held scoreless through three quarters while being closely guarded by Tyler Adams, but came alive with seven points in the fourth quarter.

Holmen tied the game at 39 with 1 minute, 44 seconds left in the fourth on two free throws by Colin Luz.

Onalaska responded with a putback by Charles Martin-Stanley and hit three of six free throws in the final minute.

Trailing by three with 10 seconds left, Holmen tried to set up a shot but Adams deflected a pass by Smith, and Price grabbed the loose ball.

“We didn’t play our best and we still found a way to win a close game,” Hilltoppers coach Craig Kowal said. “Early in the season, we wouldn’t have done that.”

For Holmen, it was another in a series of tough losses this season.

“Points have been hard to come by for us,” Vikings coach Steve Blank said. “Onalaska played us smart and when they had that run in the third quarter, it was very tough for us to come back.”

MVC

ONALASKA 44, HOLMEN 41

Holmen 5 12 9 15 — 41

Onalaska 8 8 15 13 — 44

HOLMEN (2-9, 0-5): Smith 7, Kube 3, Candahl 11, Luz 9, Knutson 8, Luft 3.

ONALASKA (5-7, 3-3): Adams 4, Liu 5, Martin-Stanley 7, Klos 6, Price 13, Arenz 9.

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