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RHS: Boys Basketball
Hodag Boys Defeat Antigo to Maintain Sole Possession of First Place in the GNC
By Adam Matyska | Published: 02/01/2013
( Photo By Bob Mainhardt )
In a tense, back-and-forth affair with numerous lead changes Friday night at a packed Jim Miazga Gymnasium, the Rhinelander High School boys' basketball team persevered to maintain sole possession of first place in the Great Northern Conference as they pulled away in the second half to defeat the Antigo Red Robins 54-43.
In a fast-paced first half, both teams tried to exploit the others' zone defenses, working the perimeter and taking numerous three-point looks. Antigo managed to sink just 2 by Cassius Noskowiak out of 12 attempts. Rhinelander was just 1 for 9, as Sam O'Melia drained one in the second period.
Overall in the half, the Hodags hit only hit 35 percent of their shots from the floor, while Antigo shot just 29 percent, and Rhinelander clung to a 2 point lead at the break, 17-15.
"It's conference play - we know each other," Rhinelander head coach Derek Lemmens said. "These are always kind of boxing matches. Guys are tight- they know what's at stake, so they come out a little timid."
After a rousing halftime "party-rock" performance and routine by the combined high school and middle school pep bands, both the Hodags and the Robins came out determined to be more effective from the floor, both inside and out.
"[At halftime] we talked about that we had to get inside touches," Lemmens said. "It's really frustrating that we're not getting these inside touches that we need, and we take too many threes without getting an inside touch first, so, we just talked work the ball inside, and don't settle."
In the third quarter, Mitch Reinthaler scored 7 while Brett Mathews added 6, plus a pair by White gave the Hodags 15 for the period, but Antigo battled, scoring 20 including 13 in the frame alone by Mac Oreskovic. After three, Antigo had a 3 point lead at 35-32.
Lemmens was encouraged by the Hodags' third-quarter efforts. "Our goal was to come out, have energy, and try to take them out of this. Antigo this season has had huge third quarters," the coach said. "And we did not want them to come out on our court and get a jump on us out of the gates again. I felt we did a much better job looking inside and really challenging their lack of size."
In the fourth quarter, things began to get even more interesting. Brad Kenote, making his return from a broken collarbone suffered while snowboarding during the winter break, played tough defense and came up with two key steals plus 4 points. Later in the period, tempers flared as, after a steal, Shane White attempted to go coast-to-coast with 4:43 remaining, and was fouled hard, intentionally, by Noskowiak. On the way down, White and Noskowiak exchanged words, and as a result of the play, both drew technicals. The foul was Noskowiak's fifth personal, ending his night with 11 points. White would hit both of his foul shots to make it 40-35, Hodags, with just over four minutes to play.
"What we did on that technical was unacceptable," Lemmens said. "That was us, that was our fault, and it's something we're going to shore up. He knows he's not going to do that again. It's difficult - with all the fans and what's at stake, the energy and the intensity's high ... but that's what athletics is about - it's about controlling that. We're bigger than that."
Antigo would not quit. They drew to within 2 at the four-minute mark, 40-38, but the Hodags would not be denied, hitting late foul shots, with a pair of free-throws by Colton Volkmann giving the Hodags a 46-40 lead, one they would no longer relinquish, and ended up winning by the final margin of 54-43.
Despite the win, coach Lemmens knows that there's more work to be done, especially in defending the perimeter, where Antigo launched many threes but hit few.
"It could've gone bad for us," said Lemmens. "It felt that too often, we were a step behind again. We need to continue to work on that, and that moving-on-air time - we did not do a good job of it. They did hit some big threes - it felt that every time they needed one, they got it. But the guys stayed strong and stayed with it and it's just little things that we can shore up."
Antigo's Mac Oreskovic paced all scorers on the night with 26 points, 23 from the floor, including three 3-pointers. Shane White, the Printpack player of the game, was a force in the paint on the evening - besides his eighteen points, he had (unofficially) thirteen rebounds, two assists, and a pair of steals . For the game, the Hodags ended up improving their shooting percentage, finishing at 49 percent from the floor (19/39), plus a key 85 percent from the free-throw line (11/13). Antigo managed only 35 percent from the floor (15/43), and a dismal 40 percent from the charity stripe (6/15). Rhinelander out-rebounded Antigo 31-18.
After the game, the team was happy to hear that Lakeland had defeated Medford on the night, making the Hodags' position on top in the conference that much stronger. With the win, Rhinelander improves to 7-1 in the GNC, 13-2 overall. Antigo falls to 7-3 GNC, 14-3 overall.
"This was a very big game for us tonight," Lemmens added. "And not just for our positioning in the GNC, but we just needed it. It's been a long three weeks with one game and we just needed something like this to give us a boost to finish this season strong."
The Hodags stay at home for non-conference action Tuesday night as they welcome the Marshfield Tigers in a game that will be carried live on hodagsports.com. The pregame show will get underway at 7:10 with tip-off at 7:30.
Player Total Points Rebounds Assists Turnovers Steals
O'Melia 3 3 - 1 1
Bowman 4 - 1 2 2
Thorsen - 2 - 3 1
Kenote 4 - - 3 2
Bloch - - - - -
Mathews 12 3 - 3 1
Volkmann 2 4 3 1 1
Reinthaler 11 6 1 1 -
White 18 13 2 4 2
Player Total Points
More Story Images: (Click the images below to enlarge.)
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