The Rhinelander High School boys' basketball team under Head Coach Derek Lemmens expects to continue building on their winning program for the upcoming season, despite losing several seniors to graduataion but return plenty of talent for the 2018-2019 season.
Last season the Hodags lost six seniors to graduation including all-state forward Owen White who is currently playing at Michigan Tech. The Hodags will have to replace one of their top scoring threats as well as one of their top defenders. White averaged a double-double with 20.8 points per game and 10.3 rebounds a game and also averaged 4.4 assists and 3.5 blocks per Great Northern Conference contest.
As well as needed to fill the void of White, they also lost shooting guard Brad Comer who was top-five in the conference in field goal percentage, shooting 50.9%. The team also lost a few quick guards to graduation including Brad Quade and Reese Flores.
The good news is Rhinelander returns several players after coming off a perfect 12-0 GNC record and 20-3 overall record and will seek their sixth GNC title in the past seven seasons. RHS returns two starters and three from their varsity rotation. Their return seniors are Junior Howard, Brock Lieder, and Bryce Schickert.
Point guard, Howard averaged 10.7 points per game last season and shot 42.2% from the three-point line. He is the top returning scorer and was third most on the team behind White and Comer last year. This season Howard in his senior season, will look to be one of the teams’ top scoring threats.
Lieder and Schickert both return inside at 6-3 for the Hodags after each averaging 5.6 points per game in the GNC. Lieder recorded 48 rebounds while Schickert charted 38 boards in confernece action last season.
Rhinelander will also return juniors Peyton Erikson and Drake Martin who split tie last season on JV and varsity. Erikson will be able to fill into guard position while Martin looks to be inside. There are also a number of other players battling for minutes in the varsity rotation including Payton Johnson, Ross Skeen, Quinn Lamers, and Jason Huseby.
With only three returning seniors from the varsity lineup, the Hodags are looking to have a mix of experienced and inexperienced varsity players and will need to continue on working on leadership roles as the season progresses.
Rhinelander will face a number non-conference opponents early in the year to see how they match up and to work out some final adjustments before they kick of their confernece season. RHS will first open their season tomorrow night and will host Shawano. The Hodags will also host a pair of Wisconsin Valley Conference opponents; Stevens Point and Marshfield. And they will kick of their GNC portion of the season on December 7th on the road against Lakeland.
Looking at the conference compeition, many of the GNC schools are in the same position after all five first-team all-confernece players graduated and will only return five all-conference players. RHS will once again have a tough non-confernece schedule and will see every WVC school except D.C. Everest and will also face five sectional opponents as well. Tip-off for Tuesday's game at Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium will be at 7:15PM.