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Hodag ballers clinch conference titleSubmitted: 02/12/2013
Hodag ballers clinch conference title
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

RHINELANDER - One goal down, plenty to go.

The Rhinelander High School boys basketball team hit their first major goal Tuesday night, downing Lakeland 61-43 to clinch at least a share of the Great Northern Conference crown.

After this, a deep WIAA playoff run is next on the wish list.

Tuesday's victory at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium was extra satisfying. It meant the Hodags improved to 2-0 this year over rival Lakeland and former coach Rich Fortier. It was Fortier's first time coaching as a visitor in the gym he used to call home.

RHS senior Brett Mathews poured in 13 points in the second half, finishing with 19 points on the night. Leading scorer Shane White was held to 10, but was helped by four Hodags in double figures.

"Coach Fortier is so good at finding who your top scorers are and making other guys beat you. We're so fortunate because we have so many guys that can do that," said RHS coach Derek Lemmens.

Mitch Reinthaler scored 11 points, and Brad Kenote looked his best since returning from a collarbone injury. He also had 11.

Dylan Lerdahl and Bryon Andrews led the Thunderbirds with eight points apiece.

Up just 15-14 after a quarter, the Hodags galloped to a 29-18 lead at the half.

"We came out hot. But it's a tendency we have, to come out hot, then I think we relax a little too much. They climbed back in, but we got a rhythm in the game, and it flowed a little better," Lemmens said.

Rhinelander's lead would never dip below 11 the rest of the way, stretching to 22 at one point in the fourth.

The Hodags mixed man-to-man, 2-3, and 1-3-1 zone looks on defense.

"I like that as an option. It gives us different things to establish our defensive rhythm and eliminate their offensive rhythm, keep them guessing as to what we're in," said Lemmens.

RHS visits Tomahawk on Thursday, and returns home to face Northland Pines on Friday. A win in either game would clinch an outright GNC title. The back-to-back games will also be good preparation for attacking their next goal, the playoffs.

"I have no problems with that. We need to get into that mindset. If we're fortunate enough to get a victory on Friday (in the playoffs), we've got to go again Saturday anyway," Lemmens said.

Rhinelander improved to 16-2 overall and 9-1 in the GNC. Lakeland fell to 14-7, 7-4.

Lakeland vs. Rhinelander
Tuesday, Feb. 12
Lakeland 14 4 10 15 43
Rhinelander 15 14 13 19 61
Lakeland (43): Dylan Lerdahl 8, Bryon Andrews 8, Matt Hartzheim 7, Thomas Bruckner 6, Jacob Gibson 6, Brad Holcombe 3, Matt Schlicter 3, Michael Fossen 2.
Rhinelander (61): Brett Mathews 19, Mitch Reinthaler 11, Brad Kenote 11, Shane White 10, Colton Volkmann 6, Austin Bowman 2, Ben Eversmann 2.
3-Pointers: L 3 (Hartzheim, Holcombe, Schlicter). R 6 (Mathews 2, Volkmann 2, Kenote, Reinthaler).


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 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - Hodag Park received a sizable donation Thursday morning. New sand was dropped off to help the Rhinelander Parks Department grow the beach back to its original shape.

There were thousands of pounds of sand dropped off and spread out. There was a high need for this because of all the rain we've had this season.

"It was getting in pretty poor shape and washing out more and more, but this year especially, it just seems like we've lost a lot of sand. So now we're going to shape it up nicely and hopefully it'll last the year," said Rhinelander Parks Director, Jeremy Biolo.

All of that sand was donated and delivered by a company in Rhinelander.

"Musson Brothers, Inc. donated all the sand and they said we could help ourselves to as much as we want, which is unbelievable because this beach really needed some work," said Biolo. "Every little bit like that helps our community out and it improves the community. It's awesome that the Musson Brothers stepped up and would do that for us."

The beach usually has to be touched up about once a year. The parks department plans on reconstructing the beach to improve it for visitors.

"We talked to the DNR and they don't want us to go too far into the water but we can retake the shoreline that used to exist there," said Biolo.

There was an additional hole created from flooding in the back of the park that drained on to the beach. All of that was filled in and fixed.

The parks department also hopes to make more improvements throughout the season such as new docs.

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RHINELANDER - Nicolet College's Motorcycle Basic Rider Course teaches folks to safely hit the road on their bike.

The class is in full swing for the season.

Nicolet College Rider Coach Mike Murray says even experienced riders can use a "safety brush-up" this time of year.

Riders should always wear their helmet, long pants and shirts, gloves, and boots.

It's also important to keep your eyes moving for critters that come out of the woods,especially deer.

"If you know you're going to hit it: let off your brakes, hit it with your handle bars straight ahead looking straight ahead so that your bike stays straight up," says rider coach Mike Murray.

The course covers the basics about motorcycles and riding techniques.

It's meant to build confidence when you ride, so that you're prepared for emergencies on the road.

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You have until October to sign up for the Basic Rider Course at Nicolet.

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MADISON - Wisconsin's prisons for young offenders could see some changes in the way they punish inmates.

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The bill would replace the Affordable Care Act. Many Democrats, including Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), oppose not only the bill but also the way it's been drafted.

Baldwin was a U.S. Representative in 2010 when Obamacare was passed. 

She said both the House and the Senate held dozens of open hearings and Democrats and Republicans were able to make amendments.

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NORTHWOODS - Some people turn to the internet, social media and newspapers to find a job. 

 However, the job hunt can still bring challenges. 

Some employers say it's not easy on their end either.

It is Steven Pletta's first year owning Hoggie Doggies in Woodruff. 

"I haven't had any luck with any conventional advertising, Craigslist, newspapers or the Wisconsin Job Service. None have really produced any quality applicants," said Pletta.

Pletta wants a bigger work team.

 He's not the only local employer that's been looking. Ferron Fisher faces the same problem at Steigerwaldt Tree Farm in Tomahawk.

"We usually bring on eight to 12 [people] in the summer," said Pletta. 

However, they are four people short.

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MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee jury has acquitted a former police officer of first-degree reckless homicide in the shooting of a black man last year that ignited riots in the city.

Jurors on Wednesday found that Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was justified when he shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith after a brief foot chase following a traffic stop Aug. 23. Smith had a gun when he ran, but prosecutors said Smith had thrown the weapon over a fence and was defenseless when Heaggan-Brown fired the shot that killed him.

Heaggan-Brown's attorneys argued the officer had to act quickly to defend himself. Bodycam footage showed 1.69 seconds passed between a shot that hit Smith in the arm - as he appeared to be tossing his gun - and the one that hit his chest.

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