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With the season just days away, Rhinelander is confident about a bounce-back seasonSubmitted: 11/13/2017
Mark Spillane
Mark Spillane
Sports Reporter/Anchor
mspillane@wjfw.com

With the season just days away, Rhinelander is confident about a bounce-back season
RHINELANDER - When Rhinelander basketball tips off its season next week, the Hodags will have one specific goal in mind.

"To be able to go back and win conference after losing last year would definitely be a goal," said senior Owen White.


Not winning the Great Northern Conference last year snapped Rhinelander's streak of four conference titles in a row. Hodags head coach Derek Lemmens puts that responsibility on himself.

"Myself, especially, really got caught up on the drive for five," Lemmens said. "We really talked about that, and I think as a staff, I lost focus of the process."

Part of that process includes starting off the season against stiff competition. Rhinelander will begin the year with a difficult non-conference game against Stevens Point.

"We want to do the things that doesn't make us look good but makes us good," said Lemmens. "So playing those types of teams, we feel like is the way to do that."

Another way for the Hodags to be good is to get the ball to White. The senior forward was named GNC player of the year two years ago before earning a spot on the first all-conference team last season. But he says he's not worried about personal awards.

"If we win conference then, yeah, it would be nice to also get the player of the year," said White. "But that's definitely not the main goal. The main goal is to win conference, and we'll see what happens from there."

White hopes more playoff success is part of what happens from there.

"This year if we could win a regional championship, that would be huge for all of us," said White.

Lemmens says he will lean on White and the other seven returning seniors to make that happen.

"When we have that kind of experience, it really creates more coaches on the floor, and when guys hear from other players, it sticks a little better, so having that many leaders and that many upperclassmen is beneficial in that way," said Lemmens.

Combining that experience with ability on the floor has the Hodags feeling pretty good.

"I really have a lot of confidence in our team this year. I think we'll be first," said senior Brad Comer. "I think we will. I am being confident."

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/18/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


Storms over the weekend produced heavy rain and high winds causing damage throughout the Northwoods. We'll take you live to Rainbow Flowage to show you some of the flooding, and to Park Falls to let you see some of the storm damage in that area.

We'll show you the condition of the field in Lake Tomahawk where the Snowhawks plan to start out their 12 game snowshoe baseball schedule tonight against our team from Newswatch 12, and we'll talk with the Snowhawks manager about how the sun is helping to get the field ready to go in spite of the heavy rain over the weekend.

And we'll show you video of students from Prentice and Rib Lake helping to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C.


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

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MERCER -
People knew "Bike the Heart" as Vilas County's bike trail system.

Now that's changing as Mercer is now a part of "Bike the Heart."

That means the entire trail is more than 50 miles long!

But you'll have to wait until next month for Mercer's piece to be totally paved.

"It's been going for a long time. To be the last sort of Northern point of the trail for now, we are honored and excited about it," says Mercer Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beth Wetzler.

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ASHLAND COUNTY - Police believe a man died because of flooding in Ashland County. 

First responders found Thomas Koeper, 75, of Mason, Wisconsin near his truck in the Township of White River. 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Supreme Court rules against Wisconsin Democrats in the fight over the drawing of legislative boundaries.

Democrats believe current maps give Republicans an unfair advantage in elections.

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Play Video

LAKE TOMAHAWK -
Heavy rain this weekend nearly delayed the start of Lake Tomahawk's snowshoe baseball season.

The Snowhawks will begin their 12 game schedule Monday night against Newswatch 12.

Early Monday, it looked like the field at Snowshoe Park might be too wet to play on.

Snowhawks Manager Jeff Smith said the sun Monday afternoon has helped prepare the wood chips on the field for the game.

"Once you get them ruffed up, it kind of pulls the moisture out. It's kind of nice to have the sun going, because it will dry some of that right up. It takes a little while, it takes a little wind, but with everything going on now it's going to make big improvements by game time," said Smith.

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WINNEBAGO, WI - People should be on the lookout of two men that escaped from the Winnebago Correctional Center.

James Heather and Alexander Weinmann escaped from the minimum security prison recently.

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MADISON - Only white men have served as governor in Wisconsin. It's a track record that three Democrats are looking to shatter this year.

Two women, Kelda Roys and Kathleen Vinehout, and one black man, Mahlon Mitchell, could make history if they win the primary and defeat Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The other seven Democratic candidates are white men, just like every other governor in Wisconsin history.

Wisconsin is one of 28 states where at least one woman is expected to run for governor. Mitchell is one of at least eight black candidates running for governor nationwide.

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