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UW-River Falls head coach Jeff Berkhoff, right, presents senior Jake Voeltz with the game ball after the Falcons defeated UW-Platteville 69-60 in a WIAC semifinal game Thursday night at Karges Center. Voeltz was honored for scoring his 1,000th career point in the Falcons' final game of the regular season last Saturday at Platteville. He scored 20 points in Thursday night's win to bring his career total to 1,025.
UW-River Falls head coach Jeff Berkhoff, right, presents senior Jake Voeltz with the game ball after the Falcons defeated UW-Platteville 69-60 in a WIAC semifinal game Thursday night at Karges Center. Voeltz was honored for scoring his 1,000th career point in the Falcons' final game of the regular season last Saturday at Platteville. He scored 20 points in Thursday night's win to bring his career total to 1,025.

Falcons headed to WIAC title game

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Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

The UW-River Falls men's basketball team advanced to the WIAC Tournament Championship game for the first time in school history by defeating UW-Platteville, 69-60, in a semifinal game Thursday night at Karges Center.

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Falcon seniors Jontae Koonkaew and Jake Voeltz, playing for the final time in front of the Karges faithful, carried the team on their backs in the second half as UW-RF hit the 20-win mark for the first time since 2004.

Koonkaew scored 20 of his team-high 23 points in the second half while Voeltz finished with 20 points, 14 after intermission.

The Falcons will travel to UW-Stevens Point Saturday at 3 p.m. for the WIAC final and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Platteville hit six three-pointers in the opening ten minutes of the game and led 22-7 before the Falcons cut the gap to 29-25 at the break.

The Falcons tied the score twice early in the second half but didn't take the lead for good until the 8:39 mark on a jumper by Voeltz.

UW-RF's lead grew to seven, 63-56, with 3:36 remaining but Platteville scored four straight points to cut the gap to 63-60 with 2:24 left. The Falcons shut out the Pioneers the rest of the way while getting a layup from Aaron Anderson and four free throws from Koonkaew in the final minute to make the final 69-60.

The Falcons, ranked No. 22 in this week's D3hoops.com poll, improved to 20-6. UW-Stevens Point, the defending NCAA Division III champions, will play in their fifth consecutive WIAC title game. The Pointers, 23-3, have won 29 of their last 30 home games and are currently ranked fourth in the nation.

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Pierce County Herald 715-273-4335 customer support
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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