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RHS: Girls Basketball
Lady Hodags Send Seniors Off With Win
By Student Writer - Connor Kuczmarski | Published: 02/21/2013

( Photo By Bob Mainhardt )

     The Rhinelander High School girls’ basketball team could not have had a better senior night.

Syndei Smith and Brianna Gilbert scored 16 points each and the Lady Hodags rallied to defeat the Wausau East Lumberjack 53-42 Thursday in the final home game of the season at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium.

Utilizing a staunch defense and an improving offensive attack, the Hodags (4-17, 3-9 Great Northern) have won three of their last five games and are hitting their stride in time for the WIAA playoffs, which begin Tuesday at Lakeland.

“I was happy for the seniors,” RHS girls’ basketball coach Mark Jacobson said. “The first half we had some turnovers bite us, so we discussed it at halftime about keeping passes crisp and breaking the press. We needed to open up and hit the middle girl, and when we did that we broke it nicely. The third quarter we ramped up our intensity and we had probably our best quarter of the year in the fourth quarter.”

     Gilbert made a deuce early in the fourth to tie it at 39 all and found herself on the foul line shooting two free throws on the Hodags next possession. The first one swished through without an effort. Gilbert couldn’t knock down the second, but Kylie Hunter grabbed the rebound and proceeded to put home the second-attempt shot.

The Hodags took a 42-39 lead and set the tone for the remainder of the contest.

“That was definitely a significant point of the game,” Jacobson said. “We saw they were struggling to match up physically with Brianna, so we wanted to make sure she saw her touches.”

Emily Fortier hit the Hodags next shot to put them up 44-39 with 3:29 left before Smith went to the line for a 1 and 1. She sank both and effectively put the game out of reach, with the Hodags leading 46-39.

The Lumberjacks would be forced to rely on fouling, but the Hodags were lights out from the charity stripe on the evening. Smith went a perfect 9 for 9 in the fourth quarter while Gilbert went 2 for 4. The Hodags defense stifled East’s final attack, outscoring the Lady Jacks 16-3 in the final quarter.

“It was awesome to see us (so consistent from the free throw line),” Jacobson replied. “We have been shooting quite a few free throws all season long and we had a nice flow build up entering the fourth quarter. When everything is flowing even the free throws start to drop.”

Fortier, also a senior, scored the game’s first points, but Wausau East went on to take a 17-9 lead following one quarter.

The Hodags responded — outscoring East 13-8 in the second frame — partially due to their post presence. Gilbert and Hunter scored six and five points respectively for the Hodags. Mara Meyer also pitched in a pair of points to bring the score to 25-22 East at the halfway break.

“I simply told them we need to take care of the ball and we need to rebound,” Jacobson explained. “Brianna Gilbert stepped up in a huge way for us in rebounds. When she is doing that and we are not turning it over, we are as competitive as anyone.”

The Hodags tied the game 29-29 at the 4:36 mark of the third quarter, and proceeded to slowly take control of the game from there. The Hodags took the lead for the first time on the night with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter, when a Gilbert layup found its way home to put the Hodags up 33-32. East made one last push to take a 39-37 lead after three quarters before the Hodags turned on the afterburners.

Gilbert and Smith led all scorers. Fortier added eight points in the victory. Vanessa Boorse paced the Lumberjacks with 14.

“Brianna Gilbert had 16 points and she owned the glass in the fourth quarter,” Jacobson stated. “I liked our defense in the fourth quarter and I couldn’t be happier for the seniors. Sydnei was very steady from the line and when she went back in the game she was taking care of the ball better. It was a good win.”

The Hodags travel to Lakeland on Tuesday for the first round of the WIAA playoffs. The Hodags lost their first contest with Lakeland 48-30, but proceeded to defeat the Thunderbirds 37-32 in their second meeting. Jacobson said he is excited about the momentum and positive energy his team brings to the tournament.

“We have a couple days off before we go back at it Sunday and Monday,” Jacobson said. “We are looking for a good competitive game up in Lakeland on Tuesday.”

Box Score:
Rhinelander vs. Wausau East
Thursday Feb. 22

Wausau East 17 8 14 3 - 42
Rhinelander 9 13 15 16 - 53

Wausau East (42): Meyer 7, Salger 7, Boorse 14, Zipperer 12, Eauting 2
Rhinelander (53): Willging 2, Smith 16, Gilbert 16, Hunter 6, Fortier 8, Meyer 5

Three Pointers
Wausau East: 5 (Boorse 2, Zipperer 3)
Rhinelander: 2 (Meyer 1, Smith 1)

More Story Images: (Click the images below to enlarge.)
Hodag Sports Library
01/31/2015 Lady Hodags Trump Raiders 57-44
01/16/2015 Lady Hodags beat Eagles by 31
01/10/2015 Lady Hodags drop to Thunderbirds 54-37
12/30/2014 Lady Hodags face tough challenge in Chargers
12/20/2014 Lady Hodags fall to Antigo
12/06/2014 Lady Hodags Dominate at home
11/29/2014 Hodags Excel at Wausau East/West Tournament
11/23/2014 Lady Hodags Suffer 2nd non-conference Loss
11/21/2014 Rough Start for Lady Hodags
11/13/2014 Girl's Basketball: Looking ahead

Lady Hodags Defeat Wausau East 02/25/2015 The Lady Hodags started their playoff run with a bang on Tuesday night with a 66-36 win against Wausau East. The Hodags would take off in the 1st period, scoring 22 points with 8 coming from Kylie Hun
Lady Hodags fall to Lakeland 55-34 02/20/2015 The Lady Hodags were first up to face the Lakeland Thunderbirds in a Friday night basketball double header. Friday, February 20 was Parents/Senior night for the girls. And seeing that this would be th
Lady Hodags Lose by 3 at Home 02/17/2015 With the end of the regular season looming closer, and after a heartbreaking 35-32 loss to Antigo, the Lady Hodags had their eyes on the Mosinee Indians Tuesday night at the Jim Miagza Community Gymna

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