MILWAUKEE - The Hodag basketball program capped a spectacle day at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee with a showcase 48-42 win over D.C. Everest on Saturday.
Rhinelander hoopsters from third graders through high schoolers got their chance to take the same floor as the Milwaukee Bucks - and the varsity team ensured the day was a success.
"It was a great experience. I'm glad that we decided to do this. I'm glad D.C. Everest invited us. It was a nice thing for our basketball community," said RHS basketball coach Derek Lemmens.
Playing in a spacious NBA arena, the Hodags (17-5) had to climb back from multiple fourth-quarter deficits to finally take care of the Evergreens (8-14).
The majority of the fourth quarter was tied, or the momentum was see-sawing back and forth between the two.
A Mitch Reinthaler three-pointer helped set the tone for the final three minutes in which the Hodags would lock up the win.
Just seconds after exiting the game due to a painful-looking booming fall, Reinthaler drained the left-corner triple to put Rhinelander up 38-37.
"That was a big momentum changer for us. I thought it could have gone the other way," Lemmens said.
The teams traded free throws and baskets after that, with the Hodags never dipping out of the lead in the final two minutes.
"It was nice for the guys. I think this was a good opportunity, and it's nice to add to it by having a win," Lemmens said.
Lemmens had predicted a sloppy start to the game for both teams, given the adrenaline-inducing setting. He was right.
Everest was stuck on two points for the first seven minutes, and the Hodags led only 8-4 after a quarter. Rhinelander never seemed to completely rid themselves of the shaky play.
"I thought I was over-coaching from the sideline. I thought guys were hesitant and not doing things with a purpose because they were too focused on me. That's something I have to get better at," Lemmens said.
Rhinelander led 21-18 at the half. Reinthaler had seven points in the first 16 minutes, and ended up leading the Hodags with 16 points on the afternoon.
The Hodags started the third quarter cold, and Everest drew even at the end of three. The Evergreens held leads of 33-32, 35-33, and 37-35 prior to the final stretch.
"It was hard for me to focus on the task at hand. It was tough for them to focus on the task at hand. I thought they did a good job of staying focused despite all of the distractions," Lemmens said.
Kent Mathews chipped in thirteen points for Rhinelander, and Ryan Dart had eight. Kyle Kurtenbach led Everest with 12.
Fortunately, Reinthaler's hard fall seems like it will have minor effects going forward.
"He got his legs taken out from under him, and he bumped his head pretty hard," Lemmens said. "I think he's okay. We're going to continue to monitor him, but he should be good."
The matchup was the last regular-season contest for both teams. In the WIAA postseason, the #1 seed Hodags await the winner of #4 Mosinee and #5 Medford on Tuesday. Rhinelander will host the victor on Friday evening.
Lemmens will use the week to focus on what his team needs to do.
"I think we could have done things better. Offensively, I didn't think our movement was crisp or purposeful as much as it should be. Defensively, keeping guys in front is going to be a big thing that we work on," he said.
Hear the game's audio play-by-play archive on HodagSports.com by hovering over the "Home" dropdown menu and selecting "Play-by-Play Audio Archives".
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.
The Mauston Police Department says attempts were made to rescue the individual, but the Juneau County Coroner's Office pronounced the individual dead at the scene. Police have provided few other details, and the victim's name has not been released.
WAUSAU - This has been Wisconsin's deadliest gun-deer season in the past five years, with two shooting fatalities already recorded.
Daily Herald Media reports (http://wdhne.ws/1HvNth3 ) that the two fatalities brought to an end a three-year series of seasons that had been free of firearm deaths. Four other hunters also have been wounded.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, hunters violated some of the fundamental rules of gun safety in all the incidents.
A man was killed last Sunday in Columbia County when he was shot while passing a loaded rifle to a companion in a tree stand. Wearing mittens, she grabbed the gun near the trigger and it went off. On Monday, a hunter in Waushara County was killed by a stray bullet.
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.
The agency says 63-year-old L.C. Streeter, of Milwaukee, was previously convicted of four separate sexual assaults from 1976 to 1985. Wisconsin committed him as a sexually violent person in 1996, and he remained in treatment until his release in 2013 under intensive supervision.
The service said in a statement that he cut off his GPS and electronic monitoring bracelets and fled supervision on Monday, resulting in a warrant for his arrest. Federal marshals and Appleton police arrested him without incident in Appleton on Friday.
Kevin Carr, the U.S. marshal for eastern Wisconsin, says Streeter was "an absolute danger to the community based upon his past convictions."
TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.
The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) 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 pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.
The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.
Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.
Several Tomah VA officials — including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan — have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.
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