Pokrandt's big moment highlights Hodags' runaway winSubmitted: 02/06/2014

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer

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

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MERRILL - This weekend Northcentral Technical College hosted its fourth annual Fire and EMS University for firefighters across Wisconsin.

It provides training on firefighting and EMS techniques at the Public Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill.

In a simulation training exercise, firefighters have their hoods covering their face so they couldn't see anything when they entered a basement. They had to feel a fire hose and use teamwork to get around and save a dummy.

Firefighters from all over Wisconsin can come to the all-day event. They came to refresh their skills, teach and learn new techniques.

"We put out some classes that are very interesting and not run every day and if it applies to their department they'll send people," said Dean of the Public Safety Division of Northcentral Technical College Doug Jennings.

The school keeps adding other training tools as well. Just this year they added more training features, such as a simulator that allows law enforcement to practice driving trucks, squad cars and EMS vehicles.

On Saturday the students also trained with the aerial ladder.

"We are the only fire department in Lincoln County with an aerial ladder," said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. "And so most of our firefighters have to operate our aerial ladder. And so we felt this truck operation aerial ladder operations is a great class for them to come and see."

UST Fire Apparatus brought a new aerial ladder truck for the students to practice with, and teachers from southern Wisconsin and St. Louis, Mo., also came to help coach.

Firefighters say they want to constantly re-educate themselves.

"It's great to get the extra practice," said Dean Johnson from the Town of Wausau Fire Department.

Northcentral Technical College also offers semester schedule curricula for law enforcement and fire science. 

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MILWAUKEE - A published report says unauthorized improvements have been made to a footpath on state land that a donor to Gov. Scott Walker has been trying to buy.

A spokesman for business executive Elizabeth Uihlein acknowledged that workers at her adjoining property may have cleaned up the trail slightly.

But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1Z18WU8 ) reports those who have seen the trail say the improvements are significant.

Uihlein is seeking to buy 1.75 acres along Rest Lake, where the footpath is located. But a tentative deal with the Department of Natural Resources was put on hold after critics raised questions.

A DNR spokesman says the agency inspected the site on Thursday and found an "established trail." He declined to say whether the department had talked to Uihlein or her representatives.

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MERRILL - Merrill residents might have heard a lot of music in town today.

Merrill High School hosted the Merrill Marching Invitational. Three high school marching bands took over the football field at Merrill High School Sunday.

Antigo, D.C. Everest, and Merrill high schools all showcased their musical creativity.

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RHINELANDER - Harvest Hoedown started Saturday at noon at the Woodpecker Bar and Grill in Rhinelander.

The event featured a hay maze, horse-drawn carriage rides, food, and live music all afternoon.

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NEKOOSA - People in Nekoosa could go back in time this weekend.

Volunteers at Pointe Basse recreated a historical camp that portrayed the lives of people from the 1700s and early 1800s.

Volunteers from all across the U.S. had a piece of history to share.

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EAGLE RIVER - Eagle River hosted its 36th annual Cranberry Fest during October's first weekend.

Organizers say the weather this year brought in many more visitors.

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THREE LAKES - A Northwoods priest may never experience a mass as large as he did this past Sunday. It was Pope Francis' final mass in the U.S. during his trip. Organizers predicted nearly 500,000 people would attend.

Father Bala of Three Lakes was able to make it to Philadelphia for the mass. He was one of a small group from the Northwoods who made the trip, and he said it felt like an extremely personal gathering.

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