Hodags Postseason Road Starts With Regional WinSubmitted: 02/22/2013
Hodags Postseason Road Starts With Regional Win
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

RHINELANDER - Shane White won the matchup of star big men, and the Rhinelander High School boys basketball team overcame a halftime deficit to open their WIAA Division 2 postseason with a 46-35 home win over Merrill on Friday.

White poured in 20 points in his matchup with 6-8 Bluejays forward David Jesperson. Jesperson had finished the regular season leading the Wisconsin Valley Conference in scoring and rebounding, but put in just 14 points Friday night.

"(White has) done a great job of playing a role this year, even though he has that star caliber, he keeps it within the team. He wanted to show people, when it comes to a player, I can be just the same as these other guys," Hodags coach Derek Lemmens said after the game.

Jesperson was held to just four points in the second half. As a team, RHS held Merrill to only 14 points after the break.

"We did a better job of containing. When we get over-aggressive and create holes for them, that's when they can get in there. They don't have a ton of skill players, I didn't feel. What we had to do was keep in front and try to limit Jesperson," Lemmens said.

Colton Volkmann scored 12 for the Hodags on four timely three-pointers.

"We said in the coaches' office, Colton Volkmann comes alive in the playoffs. We were looking for it, and every time he hit was right when we just needed one to get some separation," said Lemmens.

Rhinelander got off to a hot start, jumping to a nine-point lead after one quarter. It was an opening period to be expected from the top-seeded Hodags against #4 Merrill.
"We came out the way we wanted to. We did the things we had up on the board we took the game plan and we got it done," Lemmens said.

But the Bluejays surprised RHS to rally back for a halftime lead at 21-20, with Jesperson finding his second-quarter stroke.

"We got away from what we had drawn up and what we wanted to do. We just let our emotions get the best of us," Lemmens said.

Rhinelander employed a 2-3 zone defense in the half-court for nearly the entire game. It was at peak effectiveness after halftime, holding Merrill to just six in the third and eight in the fourth.

The Hodags step right back onto the court at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium for Saturday's Regional Final. They will face #3 Medford, who won 58-56 at second-seeded Lakeland Friday night. Medford handed RHS one of their only two losses on the year, a 56-32 thumping on Jan. 25.

"Medford has to do more traveling, so if anything, we have the advantage," Lemmens said of Saturday's game.

Reports from Minocqua indicated Medford star guard John Keefe injured his leg on the final play of Friday's game. His status for the Regional Final is undetermined.

The Hodags and Raiders will tip at 5:30pm Saturday. Join Ben Meyer and Jeremy Mayo for the play-by-play action on HodagSports.com starting at 5:00 pm.

Merrill vs. Rhinelander
Friday, Feb. 22
Merrill 6 15 6 8 35
Rhinelander 15 5 10 16 46
Merrill (35): David Jesperson 14, Jake Anderson 8, Paul Theorin 6, Andrew Seaman 2, Alex Zettler 2, Chaz Mootz 2, Nick Peterson 1.
Rhinelander (46): Shane White 20, Colton Volkmann 12, Brad Kenote 5, Brett Mathews 4, Mitch Reinthaler 4, Austin Bowman 1.

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RHINELANDER - This time of year, winter activies start to wind down and the summer fun hasn't quite started yet.

That's why Fisher's Resort and Bar on Lake George in Rhinelander enjoys having it's annual ice golf tournament each year.

"In year's past, March is always kind of a slower season up here in the Northwoods so we figured we'd create an event and put efforts towards a local organization," said Fisher's Resort and Bar owner, Russ Fisher.

That local organization they raise money for is the Hodag Sno-trails snowmobile club.

This year, the tournament had it's biggest turn out.

30 teams came to play, including first timer Dennis Herrmann who lives right across the lake.

"This has nothing to do with golf, I can tell you that right now. But it's a challenge for all the obvious reasons. But you do it for the charity, you do it for the fun and it gives everybody the chance to get out," said Herrmann.

This year they cut it down from 18 holes to 13 so people could get inside faster to enjoy the chili and the raffle items after their round of golf.

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The Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau decided to combine the two and host an annual brew fest. 

Andy Ledesma is the head brewer at Red Eye Brewing Company in Wausau. The Granite Peak Brew Fest is one of the many perks of his job.

"No other beer fest is like this, that's for sure," said Ledesma.

He definitely wasn't alone serving more than 40 beers on Saturday. 

Jeff Geurink works for South Shore Brewery in Ashland. They've been around for 20 years, but they wanted to make this brew fest a part of their line up.

"Get our name out there and make sure people are enjoying our beer and get as much information as possible out about our brewery so then when they go out and get a beer, they remember us," said Geurink.

Something everyone will remember from the brew fest was the set-up.

"Snow bar?! You can't get that in the summer time," said Roland Bruhnke.

He's right. Most beer festivals are in the summer. But when it's still feeling like winter in March, Granite Peak turns lemons into lemonade, or more appropriately, hops into beer.

"I think it definitely helped that when they get to the bottom of the hill, you see a bunch of beer," said beer salesman Jesse Bartnik.

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"The winter, the skiing, the beer, it's all one big package all rolled into one," said Bruhnke.

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Gregory Loomis, 43, sexually assaulted two children in 1988 and 1992.

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Quade's 18-month old son, Benny, was diagnosed with Down syndrome when he was born.

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Two decades later, it's finally about to happen.

After more than 15 years of negotiation, the city bought a critical piece of land from the Canadian National railroad.

It will allow the city to start building a 4.6 mile bike loop around the city.

"It's a win-win for everybody. There was a little frustration from by position, but you just...kept your foot on the gas through the whole process," said Tomahawk Public Works Director John Cole.

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