Rhinelander's Shane White (33) goes up for a shot during the second quarter of Tuesday's non-conference high school boys' basketball game against Wisconsin Rapids at Lincoln Fieldhouse is Wisconsin Rapids. (Jeremy Mayo/River News)
11/20/2012 8:55:00 PM Strong second quarter pushes Hodags past Raiders, 59-42
WISCONSIN RAPIDS - The Rhinelander High School boys' basketball team flexed its muscles Tuesday and showed why it is ranked No. 10 in Division 2 by WisSport.net. All it took was a five-minute stretch.
Rhinelander outscored Wisconsin Rapids 21-3 in the final five minutes of the first half, part of a 27-point second quarter for the Hodags as they downed the Red Raiders 59-42 at Lincoln Fieldhouse in Wisconsin Rapids.
The Red Raiders pulled even with the Hodags with 5:22 remaining in the first half, but a Brett Mathews' deuce with 4:55 remaining triggered a 21-point barrage for Rhinelander (1-0, 0-0 Great Northern).
"We really came alive," RHS boys' basketball coach Derek Lemmens said. "I was getting a little worried there. With their youth, our goal was to really take them out of the game early, but they really stuck around the first quarter. I was worried that this would become a dogfight, but we did a great job that second quarter just taking command."
Mathews' bucket was followed by a four-point play from Colton Volkmann. Shane White had nine of his team-high 15 points during the run and Brad Kenote added a couple of transition baskets as the Hodags took a 39-21 lead to halftime.
Lemmens said he was pleased with how Rhinelander's offense, which averaged 52.3 points per game last season, performed.
"The pressure bothered them at first, but I was impressed with their patience and choosing when to attack and when not to," Lemmens said.
Meanwhile, Rhinelander used some pressure of its own to generate turnovers.
"That press can go against you when you're not patient," Lemmens said. "They did a pretty good job of that and I was real impressed with our pressure."
The win was Rhinelander's second straight over Wisconsin Rapids. The Red Raiders (0-1, 0-0 Wis. Valley) had won the previous 11 meetings, dating back to 2004.
Rapids did not go down without a fight. Rhinelander pushed the lead to 45-22 early in the third quarter, but the Raiders responded with a 14-2 run, capped off by a pair of Zach Bassuener 3-pointers to trim the lead to 11 points with 1:32 remaining in the third.
"Our inability to rebound allowed them to make it a game the entire time," Lemmens said of Rapids' third quarter run. "I'm curious, when I watch film, how many second chance points they got. Those are things that are very fixable, but if we don't fix them, (they) will cost us games."
It also did not help that White picked up his third foul midway through the third quarter, earning him a seat on the bench. White returned following a timeout with 1:32 left in the third and scored a tip-in basket moments later. That started an 8-0 run that lasted into the fourth.
Rhinelander slowed down the tempo late in the game and put the final nail in Rapids' coffin when Mathews capped off a possession that lasted over a minute with a driving layup to put Rhinelander ahead 57-38 with 3:20 remaining.
White had 15 and five rebounds, Mathews had 13 points and five boards and Volkmann had 11 points. Kenote added nine points and three assists for Rhinelander and Austin Bowman chipped in seven points off the bench. The Hodags shot 51 percent from the field on 24-of-47 shooting and were 4-of-12 from the 3-point line.
"We have scorers, we know that. We have to be more patient on offense setting up screens and those things," Lemmens said.
Bassuener led all scorers, finishing with 18 points for Wisconsin Rapids.
Rhinelander committed only six turnovers, a vast improvement from its performance eight days prior in a scrimmage against the Raiders.
"Six turnovers, I'll take that any day," Lemmens said.
While the 17-point victory was nice, Lemmens said there are plenty of areas where his team can improve.
"The biggest thing we took away from it is we have to improve our man defense and we have to improve our rebounding," he said. "Those two things are a must if we are going to be the team we want to be."
Rhinelander will have a couple of chances to work on those things prior to its Great Northern Conference opener Dec. 7 against Medford. The RHS Activities Department confirmed the addition of a game at Merrill to the schedule Dec. 4.
Rhinelander will travel to Crandon Dec. 1.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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