Eau Claire Regis wasn’t going to lose due to a lack of effort.

The Ramblers turned up the juice defensively and it led to a 53-48 win over Chippewa Falls McDonell in a Cloverbelt Conference game Thursday night at the Greenhouse.

In a battle of old rivals, the Ramblers held the Macks to just five first half field goals and 16 points. And when McDonell rallied within three in the second half, Regis always had the answer.

“I thought we showed some real toughness,” Regis coach Bryant Brenner said. “We’re a much more aggressive team than we were earlier in the season. “

Regis, scoring a seventh win in the last eight games, forced the Macks into 21 turnovers while giving it back only 10 times in the physical struggle.

“We knew coming in that they would apply the pressure,” said McDonell coach Adam Schilling, a former Regis player and assistant coach. “We just made too many mistakes.”

The key to victory was the always aggressive play of Cade Osborn, who scored 16 of his game-high total of 19 points in the second half besides shadowing McDonell ace Cory Hoglund defensively the entire game.

“It was good to see two of the better defensive players in the conference going head-to-head,” Schilling said in reference to Osborn and Hoglund.

Hoglund had to work hard for everything he got, but still hit four 3-pointers and wound up with 17 points to lead the Macks.

With the Macks converting only two of their first 15 field shots, Regis got out to leads of 11-2 and 18-5 but McDonell fought back late and when Hoglund hit on a seemingly impossible 3-pointer while falling to the floor at mid-court at the buzzer, the Rambler lead was just four at 20-16.

Regis hit the first three baskets of the second half and the lead went to nine. But the Macks closed within three a 28-25 and later at 37-34.

A 3-point basket by Jaebin Bourget kept the Macks alive at 46-42 with 3:27 to go but Osborn stepped to the line for two key free throws and the Ramblers pulled away.

“Playing from behind from early in the game made it tough,” Schilling said. “We got close but that kind of wore on us.”

Brenner felt that was one of the keys to the victory.

“Give McDonell credit, they’re an excellent ball club,” he said. “But that was huge getting off to that fast start.”

He was proud of his team for not folding when McDonell turned up the heat and credited Osborn in particular.

“It was a team victory but we couldn’t have done it without Cade,” he said. “He just willed us to victory. His motor doesn’t stop.”

The Ramblers got all their scoring from four players as Osborn was backed up by Abe Rocksvold with 15, Branton Paulsrud 11 and JP Wolterstorff 8. Osborn also grabbed eight rebounds.

For the Macks, who hit 10 of 27 from 3-point land, Hoglund’s main support came from Charlie Bleskachek with nine and Bohaty with 8. Hoglund led all rebounders with 11 and Eion Kressin had 10.

The win moved the Ramblers (8-2, 4-2) a game ahead of the Macks (6-5, 3-3) in the title chase following unbeaten Osseo-Fairchild.

REGIS 53, McDONELL 48

McDonell — FGM-FGA FTM-FTA TP: Cory Hoglund 5-12 3-4 17, JD Bohaty 3-10 0-0 8, Charlie Bleskachek 3-6 1-2 9, Eion Kressin 2-6 0-0 4, Jaebin Bourget 1-5 2-2 5, Efe Selvitopu 2-5 0-3 5, Kendren Gullo 0-1 0-0 0, Trent Witkowski 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-48 6-11 48.

Regis – Branton Paulsrud 5-17 0-1 11, Abe Rocksvold 7-14 0-0 15, Cade Osborn 5-8 9-12 19, JP Woltersdorff 4-8 0-1 8, Hayden Reinders 0-3 0-1 0, JT Koestler 0-0 0-0 0, Will Jordahl 0-0 0-0 0, Aaron Haselwander 0-0 0-0 0, Mitch Merkel 0-0 0-0 0, Joe Edge 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-51 9-15 53.

Halftime: Regis 20-16. 3-Point shots: McDonell 10-27 (Hoglund 4-9, Bohaty 2-9, Selvitopu 1-1, Bourget 1-5, Witkowski 0-2), Regis 2-17 (Rocksvold 1-5, Paulsrud 1-8, JP Woltersdorff 0-3, Reinders 0-1). Rebounds: McDonell 37 (Hoglund 11, Kressin 10), Regis 34 (Osborn 8, JP Woltersdorff 6, Rocksvold 5). Totals fouls: McDonell 13, Regis 12. Turnovers: McDonell 21, Regis 10. Officials: Tyler Nelson, Chuck Morning, Jared Fern. Records: McDonell 6-5, 3-3, Regis 8-2, 4-2.