The Rhinelander High School boys' basketball team fell to 4-4 overall this season after losing to Waupaca in overtime on the road in a non-conference game Friday night. The Hodags would never lead in OT and the Comets were efficient from the free throw line in extra minutes to seal the 68-63 victory.
Rhinelander was also without junior Drake Martin, but still finished the night with four players in double digits. The first half proved to be a back-and-forth battle and the Comets would take a 30-24 lead at the break.
The Hodags started the second have strong and would use a 19-4 run to take a 43-34 lead with just over seven minutes left in the game. The run included three triples from sophomore Quinn Lamers and another from senior Junior Howard. Rhinelander extended their lead to 50-39 but Waupaca responded with their own 12-4 run to pull within three at 54-51 with just under four minutes remaining in regulation.
Justin Vaughn of the Comets would then get Waupaca within one point a 57-56 with 1:30 remaining after hitting a three-pointer. Junior Peyton Johnson connected on a pair of free throws with 51 seconds left after a steal and being fouled. Johnson pushed Rhinelander's lead back to three at 59-56.
Waupaca was able to call a timeout and draw up a play with 30 seconds remaining. Shaun Anderson connected on contested triple with 12 seconds left to tie the game up. RHS had time to pull off the win but Lamers missed a contested three at the buzzer.
In overtime the Comets had all the late momentum and would use that to go 9-of-10 from the free-throw line in OT to earn the five-point win. It also accounted for all their points in extra minutes. On the night Waupaca went 17-of-19 from the line.
Rhinelander fell to 4-4 on the year and couldn't come up with the win down the stretch despite four players finishing with double digits. Senior Bryce Schickert led the way with 15 points. Howard and Lamers each recorded 12 points and Ross Skeen added 11 points.
Hunter Macrom of Waupaca had the game-high of 23 points. Adam Kennedy recorded 13 points. And Anderson and Vaughn chipped in 10 points a piece in the win.
Waupaca is also a sectional opponent for Rhinelander when the WIAA brackets are released and could be an impact on seeding. The Hodags’ will get back to their Great Northern Confernece schedule Friday when they travel to Tomahawk.