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RHS: 6th Grade Boys Basketball Traveling Team
Sixth Grade Boys' Rock Solid
By Student Writer - Connor Kuczmarski | Published: 03/07/2013

     The Rhinelander Basketball Association’s sixth-grade traveling boys’ basketball team capped off an impressive season, finishing the year with a 15-5 record. The boys showed consistent growth throughout the year and played extremely strong at the end.

"We had a pretty good year this year," coach Jim Hext said. "From where the kids came from the beginning of the season to the end of the season is impressive. We started to play more as a team and their skill increased quite a bit."

The boys started off the season 8-4, running into some tough competition early in the year. The Hodags took seventh place in their first tournament in Antigo, and two close games were the deciding factor on the day. The Rhinelander team was narrowly edged by Stratford 26-22, and then lost to Phillips 28-26.

Slow starts in both games highlighted areas where the team could improve. On the other hand, in the second half of each game the team displayed its strengths, utilizing grit and mental toughness to crawl back into games that previously looked grim.

The team ran a half court trap/press to perfection and was able to dominate lesser competition. The boys’ wrapped up the tournament with a dominant win over Northland Pines 41-26.

     On Jan. 12 the team traveled to Wittenberg to take part in another weekend tournament. The boys came out strong and focused and proceeded to take it to their competition for the duration of the day. Rhinelander won its first game convincingly by a score of 41-10 against Amherst, and that set the tone for the rest of the day.

The Hodags continued to pour it on, defeating all of their opponents by 15 points or more. Rhinelander downed Wittenberg 34-17 and then took it to Stevens Point 38-10. In the final contest of the day the Hodags defeated Wisconsin Rapids by a score of 35-17, taking home first-place honors.

Other outstanding performances included a third-place finish at the Prentice tournament, highlighted by Junior Howard’s beautiful driving basket on an inbounds pass with seconds left on the clock. Previously Athens had tied the game at 40 all with 10 seconds remaining on the clock. The Hodags got the ball and were fouled around half court with 4.7 seconds remaining. Howard caught the inbounds pass and quickly worked to the basket, where his shot saw nothing but net to lead the Hodags to victory by a final tally of 42-40.

The Hodags went undefeated in both the Northland Pines and Three Lakes tournaments, taking first and second place in those tournament respectively. Rhinelander took every opponent apart by at least 12 points in Eagle River to secure the blue ribbons, including a 57-18 victory over Three Lakes.
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