The Rhinelander High School boys' basketball team was unable to come up with a Great Northern Conference win on the road Friday night. The Hodags struggled taking care of the basketball and junior guard Ryan Peterson of the Eagles finished with 24 points to lead Pines to a 68-56 victory. It also marked RHS's first loss to Northland Pines since joining the GNC in 2010. Rhinelander lost three straight and are 7-8 overall and 4-4 in the conference standings now.
Rhinelander held an early 6-2 lead in the contest after triples from junior Peyton Erickson and sophomore Ross Skeen. But the Eagles pushed right back and tied the game up 10-10 on a steal and transition bucket from Peterson.
Erikson responded another three pointer but Pines went on a 17-4 run to take the lead and extend into double-digits at 27-17. The Eagles took advantage of Rhinelander's 15 first-half turnovers and would take a 36-22 lead at halftime.
The second half proved to be the same story for Rhinelander; every time the Hodags converted on big plays offensively, the Eagles seemed to have an answer. Senor Junior hit a triple early in the second half, but Northland Pine's junior Joe Misina responded with a three-pointer of his own. Skeen connected from outside to cut the Eagles lead to 11. But senior Jack Hayes of the Eagles converted a traditional three-point play.
Northland Pines would eventually extend their lead to 19 points after senior Luciano Svetnicka hit a triple. But the Hodags continued to battle and would follow for 12 unanswered points. Junior Drake Martin and senior Brock Lieder both scored in the paint and Skeen hit a 15-foot jump shot. And Lieder and Skeen capped off the run with triples to bring RHS within seven at 54-47.
But late Hodag turnovers allowed the Eagles to push their lead back to double-digits and they would cruise the 12 point GNC victory.
After Peterson's 24 points for the Eagles, Misina finished with 15 points, and Ben Tilley added 11. For Rhinelander, Skeen led the way with 15 points and Erickson charted 12.
Rhinelander will return home on Thursday night when they host the Hatchets for another conference contest.