Hodags fight past hectic style of play, speed away from Chippewa FallsSubmitted: 12/27/2013

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

MENOMONIE - The Rhinelander boys basketball team allowed 82 points on Friday. They committed 25 turnovers. And they made just one three-pointer.

But the Hodags won.

Rhinelander outlasted Chippewa Falls, 84-82, in the Big Rivers Conference-Wisconsin Valley Conference Holiday Classic at Menomonie High School.

The Hodags' startling statistics were coupled with a season high in scoring - by 34 points - and 32 points for senior Mitch Reinthaler.

But those numbers weren't altogether surprising, considering the opponent. Chippewa Falls is in the first year of running what's called "The System". The Cardinals play a frenetic, chaotic, and utterly bizarre style. They look to take a shot within 12 seconds of each possession, attempt 40 three-pointers per game, press full-court, and double-team everywhere on the court defensively.

"That felt like three games for us, scoring-wise," Rhinelander coach Derek Lemmens said after the contest.

With the huge number of possessions for each team, even a large lead didn't seem safe. But neither squad led by double-digits at any point. While the Hodags looked like they were in good shape late in the fourth quarter, they were forced to hold on to slip by Chi-Hi at the buzzer.

After a tie game at 68 with five minutes left, Rhinelander ripped off ten of the next 14 points to go up six. The advantage held relatively steady, and the Hodags remained up six after a Ryan Dart three-point play with less than a minute left.

But then Chippewa Falls made a frantic last-minute charge. After an Amos Mayberry bucket for the Cardinals, Colton Volkmann missed a pair of free throws, and Nate Kalien popped in his 22nd, 23rd, and 24th point of the game with a pure three-pointer.

That brought Chi-Hi within one. After a time-out, Volkmann looked to find Reinthaler with an inbounds pass with six seconds left. Instead, he threw it out of bounds, and the Cardinals had a chance to take the lead.

The Hodags saved their best defense for last, forcing a five-second call and a turnover.

Nick Wright made one of two free throws for Rhinelander after a foul, and a potential game-winning three-pointer by Cardinals guard Jake Sperry fell away as the horn sounded.

"In the end, these guys just found a way - that five-second call, that took some guts," Lemmens said.

Reinthaler's 32 points led all scorers.

"He really struggled to finish early. I was getting a little worried there. Then he got comfortable and started finishing," Lemmens said.

Dart helped get the baskets flowing with ten first-quarter points. He finished with 15. Volkmann's 11 put a trio of Hodags in double figures.

"I thought Ryan Dart and Colton Volkmann attacked the glass very well, and found ways to get to the rim at times," Lemmens said.

Overcoming the style difference was a major challenge for Rhinelander.

"I think we felt very out of our element," Lemmens said. "You take everything we do in our program and throw it out the window. Shot selection, for example."

Playing at a fast tempo was made especially difficult given the roster for the Hodags. Rhinelander was missing Kent Mathews, who was at a family function, combined with a handful of other injuries and absences.

"We had to do it with a short bench due to Kent Mathews being gone and our split-timers having to play full-time JV," said Lemmens.

A glance at the box score wouldn't give away that challenge, though.

The Hodags started sluggish, and struggled to convert short lay-ins early on. But Rhinelander went on a 10-0 run to close the first quarter. They led 23-17 after the first period.

Chi-Hi climbed within three at the half. Ten Cardinals got on the score sheet in the first half alone.

By the midway point in the third quarter, Rhinelander had already hit a season high for scoring. Their previous best was a 50-point outing in a five-point home loss to Wisconsin Rapids.

The Hodags took their largest lead of the game into the fourth quarter, up 64-57. But Chippewa Falls chalked up the first six of the period. The Cardinals later tied it at 68 before the final stretch ensued.

Rhinelander will take on River Falls at 12:45pm Friday in the final game of the BRC-WVC Holiday Classic. The Wildcats defeated Wausau West 56-45 on Thursday.

"They're just a solid all-around team, and I think they're a team that's more similar to the way we play," Lemmens said of River Falls.

The Hodags return to conference play Friday at Mosinee.

Rhinelander vs. Chippewa Falls
Friday, December 27
Rhinelander 23 17 24 20 - 84
Chippewa Falls 17 20 20 25 - 82
Rhinelander (84) - M. Reinthaler 32, Dart 15, Volkmann 11, B. Reinthaler 8, Wright 8, Oleinik 6, O'Melia 3, Young 1.
Chippewa Falls (82) - Kalien 24, A. Mayberry 10, Ignarski 9, Sperry 9, Knez 8, Crumbaker 6, Olson 4, S. Mayberry 4, Houle 3, Bowe 3, Johnson 2.

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


Play Video

CRANDON - Kids learn math and English in school, but this evening, the Crandon school district taught their students how to stay drug free. All year long, the school has been promoting values such as respect and forgiveness and tonight was no different.

The Red Ribbon Walk started at the courthouse and then went to Crandon High School. Along the way, walkers saw signs with facts about living a drug free life. No matter how young the students were, they still heard the message loud and clear.

"It's really good for the youth because they can see not to do drugs. To have this event, it should be about a fun experience and it's really good for kids," said 5th grader Bryce Marshall.

Even with the cold temps and rainy weather, there was still a great turnout. After the walk, there was a presentation by motivational speaker Mike McGowan to really push the message of staying drug free.

"I think it's important that we bring forward all the reasons why drugs are bad for kids. They know drugs are bad but how does it affect their lives?" said Crandon parent and teacher Agnes Keller.

The Red Ribbon walk was just one of many events that the school will have over the year to show students how to live out good, positive values.

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - The Northwoods didn't get a lot of bitter cold or snow early last winter.  That forced Vilas County to keep its snowmobile trails closed much later than it hoped.

But the county set its target opening date for this year, with hopes we see a very different winter.

The county set a projected date to open trails of December 12.  That allows deer hunters to get through their season without worrying about snowmobiles in the woods.

+ Read More

PRICE COUNTY - One of the men who led police from several counties on an hours-long manhunt near Park Falls in June will soon return home to Florida.

Daniel Schoonover, 23, appeared in Price County Court on Wednesday. He pled no contest to all three charges of escaping a criminal arrest, resisting an officer, and possessing LSD.

Schoonover received a sentence of deferred judgment for the escaping charge and a total for 150 days in jail for the other two charges. He also has six months to pay back more than $900 in court fees.

Back in June, Schoonover and two other men were driving to a music festival in Highbridge when they were pulled over. Police found LSD in the car and tried to arrest Schoonover and the other man, but they took off into the woods. Police from Price, Rusk, Taylor, and Saywer counties as well as the DNR and the U.S. Forest Service all helped in the search. Schoonover was eventually spotted on a county road around 8 o'clock that evening.

He's been in the Price County Jail ever since. That's 144 days, and he will get credit for the time served.

According to the criminal complaint, Schoonover said he ran away because he was afraid of getting arrested in another state. Schoonover said he didn't know about the drugs in the car, and that he only drove with the other men because he knew they were headed to the music festival and needed a ride. Before jail, he worked as a cook in Florida.

His attorney said Schoonover does not have a criminal record anywhere else.

The other two men involved, Adrian Rodriguez and Kevin Sweeney, will return to Price County Court in November and December, respectively. 

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - People know Helene's Hilltop Orchard in Merrill as the place to go to get your fall season fix.

The pie makers and apple peelers come in early to crank out caramel apple pies fresh throughout the day.

When people come to Helene's, they are usually greeted by the smell of the pies before they even see them.

"I love being out in the parking lot when people step out of their cars and smell the air. It doesn't smell like a lot of other farms. It's distinctly the cinnamon sugar you smell," said Helene' Hilltop Orchard baker Olivia Telschow.

Helene's is only open for six weeks from mid-September to late October; however, Telschow works alongside her mother Helene throughout the entire year.

Even in the winter, the apple orchard is checked on.

"February is pruning season. Think of me when it's minus ten and it's snowing and windy and snow drifts because I will be out there," said Telschow.

The orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 30th.

Helene's will close Sunday for the season, but pies will be available to order for Thanksgiving.

Call (715) 536-1207 for more information.

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - A former Merrill choir teacher will be sentenced today for sexual assault.

Last month, 26 year old Chase Tonar plead no contest to sexual assault of a student by school staff in Lincoln County Court.

Tonar is accused of having sex with a student both while he was a teacher at Merrill High School and after he resigned last May.

Police arrested Tonar in July.

The Lincoln County District Attorney says he will ask for jail time, as well as sex offender reporting and counseling.

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - A driver lost control of her car and crashed into the woods southwest of Eagle River late Wednesday afternoon.

It happened on County Highway D near its intersection with County Highway H. The driver was the only person in the car. She wasn't injured.

An Oneida County Sheriff's Deputy on scene couldn't yet say why she lost control of the car.

+ Read More

Play Video

THREE LAKES - Baseball fans in Three Lakes watched the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the World Series on Tuesday night.

A few of those fans might live on Cy Williams Road, or down the street from Cy Williams Park. As they watched, they may have drawn the connection between that Northwoods man, Cy Williams, and the game they were watching on the field.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here