Antigo was no competition for the reigning Great Northern Conference champions, Rhinelander on Friday night in the first game of a varsity doubleheader at Sheldon Fieldhouse. The Hodags advanced to 5-0 in the GNC after a convincing 77-41 victory. RHS outscored the Robins 45-16 over the final 18-minutes and was led by senior Cynthia Beavers who finished the night with 20-points.
The game was close early on, with the Robins taking an early 6-3 lead. Senior Sophia McGinnis started the scoring off for RHS with a three but was close until the Hodags went on a 7-0 run. Sophomore Annika Johnson scored inside, Beavers had a pair of free throws and senior Kenedy Van Zile added the remaining four points in the run including a traditional three-point play to put Rhinelander up 19-8.
Antigo pushed back with six unanswered points to tie the game up 21-21 on a drive from junior Lonna Weix. But that momentum was short-lived as the Hodags closed the half on an 11-4 run to take a 32-25 lead and they never looked back.
Weix opened the second half with a drive for the Robins, but RHS responded with an 8-0 run to push ahead 40-27. Junior Rebecca Lawrence and sophomore Megan Brown scored on a drive to the rim and Van Zile had an offensive rebound and putback as well as a transition bucket to give Rhinelander a 13-point advantage that they continued to build on even without their second-leading scorer Lawrence, who left the second half with what appeared to be a knee injury. Antigo's Greta Parsons and Lawrence were battling for a rebound and both ended up on the ground where Parsons fell on Lawrence's leg.
The Hodags continued to add to their lead and had several players score down the stretch including threes from junior McKenzie Gilman and freshman Ava Lamers and a pair of free throws from sophomore Brynn Brzycki. RHS would go on to earn the 36-point win.
Beavers was the leading scorer and went 9-10 from the line. Van Zile recorded 18 points and Lawrence added 16 points before she left the game. And McGinnis chipped in six points.
Rhinelander is now 8-4 overall this season and will be back in action on tonight when they travel to Tomahawk for another GNC contest. RHS will then close out the week and will host Marshfield on Friday in a non-conference contest at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium. Tip-off for both games are set for 7:15PM.
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Rhinelander High School senior Kenedy Van Zile became the Hodags all-time scorer on Friday night and led the Hodags to a convincing 79-38 victory at Northland Pines. Senior guard Van Zile recorded 32 points and beat out the record by two-points and it also marked Rhinelander's 17th straight conference win as well.
Van Zile conneted on a three midway through the second half, where Rhinelander dominated the tempo and outscored the Eagles 41-13. Due to an error in the book, Van Zile was not honored during the game and the record was not confirmed until the following day after watching the game film. Becky Knutson had the old record of 1,230 points, and Van Zile now sits at 1,232 points, with plenty of room this season to extend her record.
Early in the contest, Northland Pines hung tough with Rhinelander and were only down two points about 10 minutes in. But the Hodags switched to full court man-to-man press and would finish the first half on an 18-7 run and would take a 38-25 lead that the Eagles were never able to recover from. Rhinelander did not let up in the second half and would force a running clock after pushing their lead to more than 35 points.
In all, 11 different Hodags in the GNC game. After Van Zile, Rebecca Lawrence added 11 points and senior Cynthia Beavers recorded eight. A majority of Rhinelander's points would come off their strong defensive pressure which help put the game out of reach in the final 18 minutes.
Rhinelander is now 2-2 overall this season and 1-0 to start the GNC. The Hodags will have another GNC contest on Friday when they host Mosinee (2-0 GNC) at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium. Tip-off is set for 7:15PM. From there RHS will be on the road at Medford and will take on Crandon at home in a non-conference contest before competing at a holiday tournament in Watertown.
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