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.
WAUSAU - Police in Wausau expect to forward forgery charges to the Marathon County District Attorney against four people after finding counterfeit money in the area.
Patrick J. Eppolite, Jr., 22; Michael A. Beck, 27; Jeremy J. Hess, 36; and Amanda M. Bender, 32, are currently in jail on probation holds, but investigators believe they're connected to some counterfeit 20 dollar bills in the area, according to the Wausau Police Department.
EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines fishing team is about as basic as it gets.
Just two kids, bait, and their gear.
"I didn't expect to go anywhere," said Northland Pines Junior Mike John.
But in their first year the team is headed to nationals after getting second BASS Wisconsin High School Fishing Tournament. It was the first tournament they've competed in together.
Mike John is going to be a junior. Harmon Marien became a freshman right before the state tournament started.
"Wednesday previous I was in 8th grade and then that Saturday and Sunday we took second in the high school tournament," Northland Pines Freshman Marien said. "That was pretty cool, good way to start high school."
RHINELANDER - This week, a seven-year-old put his life in danger to save his baby sister and little brother from a house fire near downtown Rhinelander.
On Friday, the Rhinelander Fire Department honored that little boy for his bravery.
Rhinelander firefighters now call Adam Granger, 7, a hero.
"He tells me over and over how he wasn't scared and just wanted to save his sister's life and didn't want her to die," said Jenny Schroeder, Adam's mother.
Adam saved his six-month old sister and four-year-old brother from a house fire in downtown Rhinelander.
"His actions, his quick thinking, saved two lives that day," said Rhinelander Fire Assistant Chief Tom Waydick.
Investigators still don't know the exact cause of the fire, but they say it started in the kitchen. Adam's father, Adam Granger, Sr., went outside for a couple minutes to start a campfire, and the next thing
he knew his house was up in flames.
"And the kids were in and out of the house helping him," Waydick said.
When he saw the smoke, Adam's father and his brother ran inside to get the three kids upstairs��"not realizing they had already gotten out. To do that, Adam had to run past the fire to get to the bedroom where his baby sister was. Then he went back towards the flames and led his younger brother down the back steps to safety.
"[I'm] Very proud and honored to have him as my son," Schroeder said.
Schroeder doesn't want to think of how it could have turned out.
"We've talked about how the other outcome could have been worse," Schroeder said.
GREEN BAY - Prosecutors have charged a 26-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend and her mother and injuring a third person in the Green Bay area.
Jacob Cayer of Ashwaubenon was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. WLUK-TV reports Cayer also is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, burglary and bail jumping.
MERCER - You don't expect to see crowds in secluded parts of Iron County, but loons tend to be a big draw.
"There's a lot of people who have had interest in loon research," said DNR wildlife biologist John Olson.
"Monitor change overtime in the wildlife population here in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Are loons increasing or staying stable or decreasing the numbers of breeding pair?" said retired wildlife biologist, Bruce Bacon.
The community has shown interest in the animal and with the research collected, the volunteers can maintain a steady population of loons in the water.
"Over the years, there have been a number of people who have done real exciting loon work up here," said Olson.
Over the last few surveys, the DNR have decided to expand its research to all wildlife in water and on land, not just the loons.
"The survey has developed into being more all-inclusive of any wildlife we see out here. Especially breeding birds," said Olson.
Some animals seen on Friday include a deer and her fawn, ducks, geese, eagles, ospreys, and of course multiple loons.
The Turtle Flambeau Flowage is a total of 14,000 acres. Individual volunteers maintain the area year round. If they notice a home or shelter destroyed, they will help start a new one for the animals.
"It's rewarding to see a place like the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin and this monitoring gives us a sense of how to monitor and protect it," said Bacon.
Overall, the goal for the group is to collect data on the animals and maintain that number to keep the Northwoods booming with wildlife.
The power of volunteerism was in full effect on Friday. Six boats covered all 14,000 acres of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.
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