Hodags outgunned in final minutes, drop close contest to RapidsSubmitted: 11/26/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander High School boys basketball team relinquished a four-point lead with 1:32 left in the game, and Wisconsin Rapids ripped off the final nine points of regulation to take a 55-50 win over the Hodags Monday night in Rhinelander.

Junior guard Alex Bassuener was the star all night for the Raiders, and came up big during the final stretch.

"He shouldn't have had time to set up (for his shots). That's why, right now, I'm kind of fuming. We star names, we give these scouting reports, and we've got to learn from this," said RHS coach Derek Lemmens after the game.

Bassuener poured in six three-pointers and 24 total points. His effort included a personal 5-0 run in the final two minutes to snatch the lead, and the game, away from the Hodags.

"We had our chances, and it should have been ours, but it wasn't. We had better learn from this and get better," Lemmens said.

Mitch Reinthaler led Rhinelander with a sparkling performance, going 10-13 from the field on his way to 24 points. But it was how the game ended that's likely to stick in the minds of Hodags players, coaches, and fans.

The teams were deadlocked at 44 entering the fourth quarter, and points flowed slowly until the final two minutes. The Hodags took a 50-46 lead with 1:32 left on the clock, but then Bassuener nailed a long three, got a steal, and was fouled on his drive to the hoop. His two free throws yanked the lead away from Rhinelander in fewer than 30 seconds.

Sam O'Melia was too strong on an open three-point look on the next possession for the Hodags, and four free throws down the stretch sealed the result for Rapids.

"We just had mental lapse after mental lapse. Shooters - not finding them, turning the ball over, being careless. I'll say ‘youth' one more time, but that's the last time I'm saying it this season. We better start growing up," Lemmens said.

Along with Reinthaler, Colton Volkmann shined for the Rhinelander offense, finishing with 15 points on 4-6 shooting. Lemmens also highlighted some of his younger contributors.

"I thought that Brandon Reinthaler gave us great minutes. I thought Devin (Oleinik) played solid. He's got to continue to hunt his shot. I really liked what Colton Volkmann and Mitch Reinthaler did, and I like what Nick Wright did as well," he said.

On the defensive end, Lemmens mixed a combination of mostly man-to-man defense with a smattering of 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone. Individual and team defensive efforts helped limit one of the most talked-about players in northcentral Wisconsin to just five points.

Wisconsin Rapids' Philip Flory committed to play to Marquette before even suiting up for a high school game. The freshman, and son of RHS great Mike Flory, was shut down by the Hodag defense.

"He's going to Marquette, but he's a freshman, he's young," Lemmens said. "I thought we just played good straight-up defense."

Riley Pressley chipped in 13 points for the Raiders.

Monday's game was defined largely by runs for each team. Rapids clawed their way to a 15-13 lead after a quarter, but the Hodags fought to a 26-22 advantage midway through the second. Then, the Raiders went on a 9-0 spurt before the half that included two three-pointers by Bassuener. Only a drilled three by Brandon Reinthaler pulled Rhinelander within a pair of points at the half.

The Hodags were forced to storm back from a 40-34 deficit in the third, and they reeled off six points in a row to tie the game at 40. The teams traded a few baskets to reach the 44-44 tie after 24 minutes and set up the fateful final quarter.

As a team, the Hodags shot 18-38 from the floor and 6-14 from distance. They turned the ball over 13 times to eight for Rapids. The Raiders took the rebounding edge, 25-20.

Despite a number of positives, the performance left Lemmens frustrated after the loss.

"It's disappointing. Our youth showed. I think mentally, we're just not tough enough right now," he said.

Rhinelander breaks for more than a week before their next game action. The Hodags will host Merrill next Tuesday in preparation for their December 6 Great Northern Conference opener at Medford. Hear the Merrill game on HodagSports.com, with tipoff at 7:30.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com


MINOCQUA - It's that time of year again.

Minocqua kicked off its' Christmas celebrations Saturday.

+ Read More

WOODRUFF - If they haven't already, people will start bringing out the Christmas decorations.

And it wouldn't be complete without that perfect Christmas tree.

+ Read More

TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.

The La Crosse Tribune reports that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid painkillers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.

+ Read More

WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.

+ Read More

MAUSTON - Authorities are investigating the death of a person who was found unresponsive in Decorah Lake early Friday.

Kyle Lynch, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden for Juneau County, says he was called to the scene to assist in a boat search about 1:30 a.m. He also says the Mauston Fire Department recovered the body, which was found in the water.

+ Read More

APPLETON - The U.S. Marshals Service says a convicted sex offender who was wanted for violating the terms of his release has been arrested in Appleton.

+ Read More

MOUNT HOREB - A southern Wisconsin school district has cancelled plans for elementary school students to read a children's book about a transgender girl after a group threatened to sue.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here