Feb. 26—In a pivotal moment, Nolan Rowe came through for his team.
The Rice Lake senior stepped to the free throw line with his Warriors trailing second-seeded Medford 51-50 in Thursday’s Division 2 sectional semifinals.
When he stepped away from the line, the deficit had been flipped.
Rowe knocked down the game-winning free throws with 28.8 seconds left and the Raiders missed two attempts to take the lead as the Warriors held on 52-51.
Rice Lake, the No. 3 seed, will play at No. 1 Onalaska on Saturday for a spot at the state tournament.
Full statistics for Thursday’s win were not reported.
River Falls 48, Eau Claire North 36: In the Division 1 sectional semis, the Wildcats held off a rally to end the Huskies’ season.
Trailing by eight at halftime, North opened the second half on a 12-5 run to pull within one point of the lead at 29-28. But that was as close as the Huskies would get as the Wildcats pulled away from there.
Chad Kron scored 12 points for North to pass 1,000 for his career. Henry Wilkinson added seven points and 11 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Huskies, who end the season with a 14-8 record.
Zac Johnson scored 19 to lead River Falls. The top-seeded Wildcats will face No. 2 De Pere on Saturday seeking to go to state for the first time since 2005.
Royall 51, Immanuel Lutheran 47 (OT): The Lancers saw their potential game-tying 3-point attempt miss the mark in the final few seconds, completing the fourth-seeded Panthers’ upset in Division 5.
The defeat came despite the best efforts of Immanuel Lutheran’s Ryan Zimmerman, who accounted for a huge chunk of his team’s scoring with 35 points.
Tied at 38 at the end of regulation, Royall scored the first seven points of overtime to go ahead of the sectional’s No. 1 seed 45-38. But the Lancers responded to give themselves a chance. Zimmerman hit a 3-pointer to end the drought and later scored two more baskets as Immanuel Lutheran eventually cut the lead to 48-47.
Royall knocked down a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to three, and the Lancers came up empty in the final moments. Royall hit another free throw in the final second to complete the win.
“I give Royall credit, they played their game,” said longtime Immanuel Lutheran coach Tom Williams, who said he is stepping down following the season.
Immanuel Lutheran finishes the season with a 17-3 record.
Onalaska 67, Altoona 42: The top-ranked team in Division 2 was too much for the Rails to handle. Undefeated Onalaska held Altoona to 12 points in the first half.
The Rails began to heat up in the second half, coming out of the break with a 10-2 run. The deficit was just too large to overturn though, and the Hilltoppers moved on to the sectional finals.
Brayden Turk scored 20 points to lead the Rails in the season-ending defeat. He knocked down four 3-pointers. Anthony Giani added 11 points.
Altoona finishes the season at 16-8.
Blair-Taylor 61, Iola-Scandinavia 57: The Wildcats returned to the sectional finals for the second straight year by holding off the Thunderbirds.
They had to overcome a slow start to do so. Iola-Scandinavia ran out to a 21-11 lead to start the game before Blair-Taylor rallied.
Blair-Taylor held on to a slim lead late in the game thanks to its work at the free throw line. With the Wildcats ahead 58-57, Alec Reismann knocked down a pair of charity shots to make it a three-point game with 16 seconds left. Matt Waldera nabbed a steal on the ensuing possession, and Kyle Obieglo made another free throw to seal the win.
“Our kids played so hard against a very physical and very talented team,” Blair-Taylor coach Randy Storlie said in a message. “We just came out and kept playing even though we were down by 10 to start the game.”
Waldera scored 18 points and Tyler Thompson added 16 for Blair-Taylor. The second-seeded Wildcats will take on No. 1 Luther on Saturday afternoon for a Division 4 state tournament berth.
Blair-Taylor also reached the sectional finals last season, but the game was canceled due to the pandemic.
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