The Rhinelander High School boys' basketball team improved to 4-6 in the Great Northern Conference after defeating Lakeland 64-44 on Tuesday night. The Hodags defense kept the Thunderbirds in check in Minocqua and held their top scorers under their season average. RHS also had three players in double-digit points, led by junior Quinn Lamers but had a number of other players step up offensively.
Rhinelander fell behind 8-9 early in the contest but responded with a 6-0 run sparked by sophomore Jacksen Smith. Senior Peyton Erikson hit a jumper and Smith had a steal and transition layup and knocked down a pair of free throws to put RHS up 14-9.
From there the game was back and forth until the Hodags went on a 14-3 run to close the half, which included seven unanswered points. Junior Jackson Labs started the rally with a triple and was followed by back-to-back offensive rebounds and putbacks by junior Ross Skeen. Lamers had a steal and transition layup followed by a drive to the rim. And with just four seconds left in the first-half Smith found Labs in the corner for a triple to put RHS ahead 28-20 at the break.
In the second half, Rhinelander kept their decent and began to add to their lead from there. The Hodags went ahead 52-36 after a three-point play from senior Drake Martin, a Labs triple, a drive and free throw from Smith, and a jumper from Skeen. The Thunderbirds also went an extended period without a field goal midway through the final half.
Lakeland’s Nolan St. Germaine hit a pair of free throws with about 5 1/2 minutes left to bring Lakeland within14 at 54-40. But the Hodags responded with nine unanswered points which was highlighted by a tradition three point play by Lamers with 2:08 left in the contest. From there Rhinelander went on to earn the 20-point victory.
Lamers had the game-high of 17-points to lead the way and Erikson and Skeen each added 11-points. Labs finished with eight points and Smith and Martin each charted seven. St. Germaine, Alex Fortier, and Michael Ouimette all finished with 11-points for Lakeland. And the Thunderbirds committed 22 turnovers on the night.
Overall Rhinelander is now 6-11 and 4-6 in the GNC as they make their final push before the regional seeding meeting. The Hodags will face Antigo on Friday in the second game of the girls'/boys' doubleheader. RHS fell to the Robins 53-47 the last time they met. Tip-off is set for 7:45PM, right after the girls' game at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium.