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.
MARATHON COUNTY - The suspect in a Wisconsin shooting spree that left four people dead has been identified, and court records show one of the victims was his wife's divorce lawyer.
A person close to the investigation identified the suspect Friday as 45-year old Nengmy Vang. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak ahead of authorities officially identifying Vang.
ST. GERMAIN - A school bus doesn't feature a lot of amenities. Seats, windows, and that's about it. But a company out of St. Germain thinks buses, and other big vehicles, make the perfect kitchens.
Caged Crow Fabrication is owned by Josh Romaker. He moved to the Northwoods about three years ago. Around the same time a woman in Madison approached him to help refurbish an old camper. He decided to make it into a food truck instead.
"We took on the challenge and that first build was featured on US Today and some magazines and our phone just started ringing. We've got them in Denver, Salt Lake City, New Jersey," said Romaker.
That was just the beginning for Romaker's company, Caged Crow Fabrication in St. Germain. They now specialize in food trucks of all kinds.
"If a customer wants a food truck that looks like a barn or a steam train or a school bus conversion, we really stick to the unique food truck builds," said Romaker.
The 1982 bus that Caged Crow Fabrication is working on now will be complete in a little over a month. The team made up of just a few workers has one rule- they never build the same thing twice. And they take their time.
"We have a sign on the wall here that says 'quality over quantity'. I think our reputation right now is really based on the attention to detail and I think we want to keep that up," said Romaker.
If you're interested in checking out more work from Caged Crow Fabrication, follow the link below.
We take you live to Weston and bring you a conversation with a neighbor of Nengmy Vang, the suspect of Wednesday's shooting in the Wausau area that took the life of an officer and 3 other people.
Investigators say Wednesday's shooting started with a domestic incident between Vang and his wife. We'll bring you observations from a domestic abuse advocate and a family law attorney.
And the arguments are done and the case is in the jury for the trial for Kristopher Torgerson, the Wausau man who is accused of killing Stephanie Low and burying her body in Forest County. We'll take you live to Wausau and talk about where the case goes from here.
We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.
WESTON - Everest Metro Police Chief Wally Sparks held back tears in front of a crowded press conference on Thursday afternoon.
"Jason was a phenomenal officer, and he was part of our family," he said, taking a long pause. "It's difficult."
Sparks was talking about Detective Jason Weiland, who was identified Thursday as one of four people killed by a shooter Wednesday afternoon in the greater Wausau area. Weiland was a 15-year veteran of the Everest Metro Police Department, and had served in law enforcement for 18 years.
Two bank employees and a lawyer were also identified as people killed by the shooter.
We still don't know the name of that suspect, but on Thursday, we learned he is a 45-year-old Weston resident. That shooter suffered bullet wounds as part of a standoff, and is expected to survive. He's in custody at a local hospital.
RHINELANDER - The Wednesday afternoon shootings in Schofield, Rothschild, and Weston sent several nearby police departments streaming into the area.
The Oneida County Sheriff's Office Special Response Team was one of the many outside departments on scene with their armor rescue truck.
Even though the shootings took place nearly 70 miles away from Rhinelander, Sheriff Grady Hartman said their job is to serve and protect, no matter the circumstances.
"We're use to the mutual aid system as when another jurisdiction requests our help. We're able to go and assist them. And likewise if we had a similar incident we would request under mutual aid for other officers and deputies to come help us," said Hartman.
RHINELANDER - Father Randy Knauf thought about history as he walked the aisles of a church he once went to as a boy, knowing soon this church down to the very pew he once sat in... Will completely change.
"It's a 'starting again,'" Knauf said.
Knauf took over as pastor at Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Rhinelander last year. He's helped lead a multi-million dollar redesign of St. Mary's church's 55-year-old worship space.
"We expect to be a little tight this summer, but it's worth it in the long run," Knauf said.
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