RHINELANDER - Years from now, players, coaches, and fans in Rhinelander might not remember the Hodags' 23-point boys basketball win over Tomahawk Thursday night.
They're unlikely to forget one specific play.
David Pokrandt, a three-year manager for the Hodags, suited up for Rhinelander and drained a three-pointer in the final minute of the game.
"The guys love to have him around, and we love having him as part of our team," Hodags coach Derek Lemmens said after the win.
Rhinelander players and the Hodags student section mobbed Pokrandt in celebration after the game.
"That's what adds to it, the fact that so many other people are that excited. It's just special that there's that kind of support out there," Lemmens said.
Hitting the shot on his third attempt, Pokrandt gave the Hodags the final winning margin.
Prior to that, Rhinelander overcame sluggish stretches to improve to 12-4 overall and remain unbeaten at 9-0 in Great Northern Conference play.
On paper, the matchup against a Tomahawk team winless in league play and without leading scorer Jared Jarvensivu appeared to be a formality. Indeed, the Hodags jumped to a 18-6 lead in the first quarter.
But the Hatchets put in the final four points of the quarter, and matched baskets in the second to stay within eight at halftime.
"I thought the effort was a little inconsistent, and that hurt us. Offensively, I felt like we were forcing a lot of things. It just had a strange flow tonight," Lemmens said.
Junior Jordan Roessler was the catalyst for the Hatchets in the first half, scoring 14 of the team's first 16 points on his way to a 19-point evening.
"Very nice player. I haven't been able to really see him, and he caught us by surprise," Lemmens said.
After halftime, however, Rhinelander became near-impenetrable defensively. Tomahawk couldn't manage a field goal for nearly six minutes to start the half.
"The intensity picked up and the consistent effort picked up," Lemmens said.
Taking a 15-point lead to the fourth, the Hodags cruised to the finish.
Mitch Reinthaler led Rhinelander with 19 points and displayed the ability to finish with the left hand.
"There's no way to play him. You can't force him left or anything like that, because he's very comfortable going left. It makes him that much harder to guard," said Lemmens.
Ryan Dart had 12, and Colton Volkmann completed the trio of Hodags in double figures with ten. But the undisputed player of the night was Pokrandt.
Entering the game with roughly a minute left, the Hatchets allowed him to snap off three attempts from long range. He drained the third.
"Tomahawk went out of their way without us even saying anything to give him a moment he'll never forget. It's just an absolute class act by Tomahawk," Lemmens said.
The Hodags return to the floor immediately to face second-place Mosinee on Friday night. The Indians have turned heads on their way to a spot near the top of the conference.
"Any time you have a good guard, and you have solid role players, you can do some very good things. They have surprised a lot of people, including myself," Lemmens said.
Rhinelander and Mosinee tip at 7:30pm at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium. Adam Matyska will have the play-by-play call starting at 7:10pm on HodagSports.com.
WISCONSIN - Mud, debris, and damaged property still cover parts of Northern Iron County after a storm ripped through there more than two weeks ago.
The lack of money to repair certain areas is largely keeping the rebuilding process from getting started.
That's why the Federal Emergency Management Agency came to Iron County Tuesday.
It surveyed the damage because of its severity and the extreme costs to fix.
"Really if it's beyond the scope of local jurisdiction, and even the states that respond," said FEMA External Affairs Officer Troy Christensen.
Wisconsin Emergency Management currently believes the damage caused by the mid-July storm is around $38 million across 10 counties and Bad River Reservation. Around $15 million of that happened in Iron County.
FEMA relies on local government like the ones in Iron County to help it assess damage.
"They have sights selected so they will be showing us a lot of these sights." Said Christensen.
Those sights included multiple towns, Saxon Harbor, and crumbled highways.
This week Iron County gave its damage estimates to FEMA.
RHINELANDER - Building a robot may seem like a pretty lofty summer camp goal, but teens in the Northwoods love the technological challenge.
It's all part of a summer camp that's heavy on science and social interaction.
13-year-old Sean Timm says the eight day robotics camp at Nicolet College mixed the best of both worlds.
"I like technology a lot more than I do outside stuff," Timm said. "It's kind of nice to have technology like drones to bring me outside. It's really fun."
Camp Instructor, Mike Wojtusik has many years of experience as a technology education teacher and robotics advisor. He wants kids to see the importance in learning these skills.
"The kids are getting experience from a mechanical engineering side, electrical engineering side, design, prototyping," said Wojtusik. "We try and cover as much as we can about the whole entire system."
Learning about robotics isn't the only thing these students do. Some of them are also exercising skills they'll need in the future.
"I think it's a great experience for them to understand what really goes on in the real world as far as a career," Wojtusik said.
Certain careers that often require teamwork.
"Challenging part is working with a team because you don't always agree on the same thing," said 12-year-old Louis Malais. "When you build a robot you do the most teamwork than I think in any other job."
As their final project, students design and build their own version of a remote control robot.
They are required to work in teams to sketch a vision, make prototypes and design a working model with aluminum.
"It's not just you know operating a piece of machinery, it's learning how that machinery is put together," Wojtusik said.
Students are piecing together machines and building future careers at the same time.
"If I were to get an opportunity to do something like this in the future, I would definitely take it," Timm said.
Throughout the course of the camp, students were exposed to prototyping, brainstorming, modeling, safety and sketching.
The last day of the robotics camp is scheduled to be Thursday, July 28.
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