The Rhinelander High School girls' basketball team would record a pair of wins as they rolled past the Northland Pines Eagles as well as the Ashland Oredockers. First on Friday night, the Hodags had a strong second half to push past Pines 75-39 to advance to 7-0 in the Great Northern Conference standings at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium. And then on Tuesday Rhinelander powered past Ashland 71-43 in an non-conference road game against a regional opponent and are 11-4 overall this season.
Although it was a slow start for Rhinelander, once they found their rhythm they could not be stopped by the Eagles. RHS went up 19-14 before closing the first half on a 27-3 run. The Hodags used their high pressure defense to force several Pines turnovers and would convert a number of transition baskets.
Senior Kenedy Van Zile had a role in Rhinelander's final eight points. First she assisted junior teammate Rebecca Lawrence on a triple. Van Zile than found fellow senior Cynthia Beavers in transition and would hit a triple with 30 seconds left in the half to give RHS a 46-17 advantage.
Lawrence led the Hodags scoring in the first half and recorded 16 points and was back in the lineup for the first time since a knee injury at Antigo on January 10th. Beavers and Van Zile each added 11 points in the first 18-minutes.
Rhinelander didn't slow up the pace in the second half as they pushed their lead to 41-points before the starters were pulled. Beavers sparked the Hodags' offense in the second half and had back-to-back triples early on to put RHS up 57-24. With 6:22 left sophomore Brynn Brzycki scored inside and it was running clock the remainder of the game.
Rhinelander had three players score in double digits and was led by Beavers with 23 points. Lawrence finished the night with 21 points after a solid first half, scoring 16 of her points. And Van Zile would chip in 16 points. Senior forward Jacqueline Smith would led the Eagles with 15 points in her second game back in the lineup.
The Hodags would than have a long road trip to Ashland to face a regional opponent, where they again used a strong second half to earn a 71-43 victory. RHS used a 36-3 run to open the second half to push past the Oredockers.
Rhinelander used their tough pressure defense to force a number of turnovers in the second half and transition baskets. There defense also held Ashland from scoring for the first nine minutes with the help of their full-court 1-2-2 press and would eventually hit a running clock just like their previous match-up against Northland Pines.
Van Zile had the game-high of 27 points to lead the way. Beavers finished with 22 points and Lawrence recorded 11 points. Sophomore Annika Johnson also chipped in seven points.
Ashland had a balanced attack on the night and was led by Zoe Pearce and Mayella Brinker who each finished with 10 points. While Hailee Wilson of the Oredockers also added nine points.
Rhinelander now advanced to 11-4 overall this season and it marked their sixth straight win. The Hodags will now prepare as they get back to their GNC schedule on Friday when they travel to Mosinee to take on the second-place Indians. The first meeting, RHS held off Mosinee to earn the 70-69 win on December 13th at home. Tip-off is set for 7:15PM.