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Hodags storm Bradley Center, beat Everest on NBA floorSubmitted: 02/22/2014

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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".


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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 07/07/2015

- The Wisconsin State Senate has passed two measures raising state trooper wages and compensation for state workers. The chamber will address the budget this afternoon. We'll have the latest and tell you what the budget could mean for you tonight on Newswatch 12.

- Plus, well take a look at the impact of the early crowd at the Hodag Country Festival.

We'll have the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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"It's a little more high pace, a little more intense, but it's a lot of fun," says Ben Groen of the World Barefoot Center.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - A Tomahawk homeowner was able to scare off burglars back in March, even after being hit in the face with the hatchet. Now, a Merrill man will need to find 25 dollars in cash to get out of jail.

28-year-old Chad Staehle was charged with four felonies for breaking into a home in Tomahawk. Police believe he and three other men broke into the home with a hatchet and crowbar.

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EAGLE RIVER - If you want a new summer activity, look no further than Eagle River. A new art studio offers many different classes to kids and adults. 

"We've been here for a month, but the organization has been together for about three years," said Summer Program Director Erica Bush. "We're very excited to be in our own building finally."

Classes can cost anywhere from $20 to $50. People can sign up for classes ahead of time or just walk into the center. Program directors think it's important for kids to get involved in art early on.

"It's the creativity that the kids learn about," said Bush. "Creativity can go into all different aspects—math, science—it's everywhere. So enforcing art when they're really young will really lead to a more intelligent future for these kids."

The center offers anything from painting to pottery to cooking. Kids shared why they love to take art classes.
"You could just grab a piece of paper or something and then you can just doodle on it," said 4th grader Nicholas Fluegel. 

"It's really calming, and there's no bad way to do art," said 6th grader Grace Florence.

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RHINELANDER - The Hodag Country Musical Festival kicks off on Thursday.

But there are already plenty of people camping out for the big event in the Northwoods.

Those campers benefit businesses in the Northwoods both new and old.

Johnny Nickolaou, who opened his liquor store in Sugar Camp around Thanksgiving, understands the importance of tourism.

"Huge, you know you depend on locals year round and they are great, but if it weren't for them I could never afford to be open," said Nickalaou. "But it's really nice getting this push to hopefully get us through the winter months."

Nickolaou set up a deal in preparation of Hodag Country Festival. He discounted around 10 large orders.

"15 case orders, most of them which is quite a bit I thought," said Nickalaou.


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