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The Rhinelander High School boys' basketball team used a standout performance from their junior point Guard, Junior Howard to cruise past Lakeland 80-43 on Friday night. The Hodags’ had three players finish with double digits including Howard's career-high of 28 points in their Great Northern Conference opener at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium.
The Thunderbirds stuck around early in the first, but wouldn't last long with Howard responding. Gunnar Weitz of Lakeland connected on a three to put them up 5-2, but Howard answered with a triple of his own to score the Hodags' first seven points of the night.
About five minutes into the game, Weitz would hit a three-pointer to tie the game up 8-8. But that just fueled the Hodags, and Howard responded with a triple of his own which would be the start of an 9-0 run for Rhinelander. Senior Brad Quade had a drive and dish inside to junior Bryce Schickert who scored in the lane, senior Owen White scored inside, and fellow senior Brad Comer also scored in transition to put RHS ahead 17-8.
Comer scored back-to-back baskets including a three to give the Hodags' a 10-point advantage about halfway through the first-half. Rhinelander would continue the momentum and would push ahead 34-20 but Wetiz would hit a three at the buzzer to bring the Thunderbirds within 11-points at halftime.
Howard recorded 17 points alone in the first half to lead the way. While Weitz and Santana Barnard teamed up to keep Lakeland alive and would score all the Thunderbirds' first-half points. But the second half was a different story, and the Hodags' defense would hold Barnard and Wetiz to only two points in the second half.
Lakeland's lack of depth took its toll down the stretch. The Thunderbirds were without two top players; Connor Evenhouse and Michael Ouimette who are both out due to injuries. Which left former RHS Coach Rich Fortier with only two subs on his bench.
It didn't take long for the Hodags to set the tone in the second-half, when Howard reached 20-points after hitting a three in the first 20-seconds. Rhinelander used transition baskets from White and Comer to go ahead 41-27. Howard followed that up with a three-point play after being fouled on offensive rebound and putback on junior Brock Lieders' deep three attempt.
From there it opened up outside shots of RHS who would connect on three-straight outside baskets from Comer, Howard, and Quade to give Rhinelander a convincing 53-30 advantage. Within minutes, Comer and Quade would strike triples again.
After Lakeland scored a three, White was fouled on a dunk and completed the three-point play to push the Hodags ahead 69-37 with about five minutes left in the game.
Sophomore Drake Martin assisted senior Jared Haug on back-to-back transition layups in the closing minutes of the game. And sophomore Peyton Erickson had Rhinelander's final points on a floater in the lane as the Hodags went on to win 80-43.
Comer finished the night with 17 points and White added 16 points. It also marked the 11th straight win for RHS over Coach Fortier, and the Hodags are now 4-1 overall and 1-0 in the GNC. Rhinelander will return to conference action on Friday when they travel to Northland Pines for another girls'/boys' double-header.
The Rhinelander High School boys' hockey team continued their streak to start the 2017-2018 season and would advance to 5-0 overall this season after downing Green Bay United on Friday night. The Hodags earned a convincing 7-0 victory at the Rhinelander Ice Arena to maintain their perfect record and fifth straight win.
After neither team scored in the first period, Rhinelander would rally in the second period and charted four big goals and would tack on another three in the final period. Overall RHS held a 54-7 advantage on total shots on the night.
Leading the way was Bridger Flory and Abe Laggis who scored two goals each in the contest. Brandon Kolasa, Nick Sandstrom, and Freddy Wisner also scored for the Hodags.
Rhinelander recorded their first goal early in the second period, when Danny Zuiker assisted Wisner on his goal at the 2:31 one mark. The Hodags' first goal sparked momentum down the stretch, and Rhinelander continued to find the back of the net. Just minutes later, Laggis added a short-handed goal to put RHS up 2-0.
Midway through the second half, Flory charted his first goal of the night. Defenseman Matthias Schneider assisted Flory, who put one by goalie Bretty Dutkowski to the top shelf to give the Hodags' a three-goal advantage at 9:59. And Laggis would record his second goal of the night at 12:34 and RHS would hold a 4-0 lead after the first two periods.
Rhinelander did not waste anytime adding to their lead in the final period, as Flory charted his second goal within the first minute. Laggis and Wisner assisted Flory’s goal at the 51-second mark.
Only two minutes later, Kolsa would tally a goal to put the Hodags' up 6-0 and pushed the game into a running clock. Sandstrom scored Rhinelander’s final goal at 10:17, as the Hodags’ won five straight.
Rhinelander's goalie Seth Stafford would earn his first shutout of the season and added seven saves in the win.
RHS will be back on the ice on Tuesday, and will travel to Medford. And then the Hodags will host Tomahawk at the Rhinelander Ice Arena on Thursday night for another Great Northern Conference matchup. And will then head to Wisconsin Rapids on Friday night for a non-conference contest.
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