Thursday night's WIAA Division 2 boys basketball sectional semifinal between Rice Lake and Onalaska at UW-Stout's Johnson Fieldhouse is sold out. No surprise as the game features the top two teams in D-2 and collectively some of the top talent in the state. The Big Rivers champion Warriors say they are looking forward to being the underdog.
Kevin Orr/Rice Lake Coach:
"You know we had a great season, played a very good Logan team, Holmen team and now we have the opportunity to play the number-one team in the state. And we're going to come out and give it our best shot. We're going to play hard and have a good week of practice and we'll see what happens."
Alex Cuskey/Rice Lake Senior Guard:
"We're working really hard, feel good about how we're playing right now, we know that they're an outstanding team, and we have to bring our "A" game to win."
The match-up in Menomonie will feature two of the top players in the state, the Warriors' Wally Ellenson who is heading to Minnesota next year, while the Hilltoppers feature 6-foot 3-inch guard Matt Thomas. According to ESPN's national recruiting, Thomas is regarded as the fourth best player in the state and is receiving several scholarship offers including Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Marquette. Rice Lake coach Kevin Orr says his team's defense must be a collective effort.
Kevin Orr: "Hey, when you're playing against the number-one ranked team in the state, it's going to come down to who can eliminate the other team from going on huge runs and I think defensively the team that makes the most stops is going to win."