WESTON - Through two games of the 2012-13 season, it is apparent that the Rhinelander High School girls' basketball team has some work to do.
The Lady Hodags were routed over the weekend in the Blow the Whistle on Cancer tournament at the D.C. Everest Fieldhouse in Weston. Rhinelander committed 29 turnovers in a 72-25 loss to Wausau West Friday and followed that up with a 25-turnover effort in a 60-18 loss to D.C. Everest Saturday.
"Basically nothing went right tonight. It was not the way I wanted to start my coaching career," first-year RHS head coach Mark Jacobson said following Friday's loss to West.
West took it to Rhinelander from the opening tip, beginning the game with a 10-0 run. Rhinelander turned the ball over five times in its first six offensive possessions. West pushed the run to 17-2 before Kylie Hunter hit a three for the Hodags, who trailed 19-5 after one quarter.
West pushed the lead to 31-11 at halftime and opened the second half on a 16-2 run.
"We didn't execute offensively," Jacobson said. "Though, defensively, if you are not going to stop a team, you can run all the offense in the world and it's not going to make a difference."
The Hodags committed 20 turnovers in the first half Friday night. Though they cut that number to 11 against Everest Saturday, the game started in a similar manner. Everest jumped out to a 15-2 lead to start the game. Rhinelander made a late push at the end of the first quarter to cut the lead to 17-9, but the Hodags scored just one field goal in the second and third quarters as Everest pushed the lead to 29-11 at halftime and 43-11 after three.
Emily Fortier made a basket for the Hodags with 1:43 remaining in the second quarter. The Hodags' next field goal did not come until Mara Meyer drained a 3-pointer with 6:08 remaining in the fourth, a span of 11 minutes, 35 seconds.
"We played harder (against Everest), that was a step up. But we get to a point in a game where we go into a funk offensively," Jacobson said. "We just can't get the ball to fall and before we know it, they had a pretty good-sized gap opened up ... That kills you against a team that has it where just about all of their girls can score. Although we turned the ball over less, we still turned it over too many times."
"We have a lot of work (to do), but at the same time, I did see improvement defensively from the night before," Jacobson said.
One bright spot in Friday's game was Fortier's production in the second half. The 5-10 forward finished with a career-high 10 points, all in the second half, against the Warriors.
"Emily worked her tail off in the later part of the game, trying to score," Jacobson said. "She worked awfully hard to get those points. She definitely stepped up at the end of the game."
Kylie Hunter and Sydnei Smith each had six points for Rhinelander in Friday's game. Jazmin Samz led four Warriors in double digits with 22 points. Katy Cihlar and Caiti Coleman each had 15 points. Ellie Hrdina added 10 points.
Six different players scored for the Hodags Saturday against Everest. Hunter led the way with five points. Haley Kroll led the Evergreens with 11 points.
The Lady Hodags have two more non-conference games before opening the Great Northern Conference schedule Dec. 7 at defending GNC-champion Medford. Rhinelander hosts Wittenberg-Birnamwood tonight at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium and will travel to Merrill Friday.
"We need to work to get our offense flowing. If we do that, things will start to come around," Jacobson said. "It's a work in progress. It's going to take us some time. We have some younger kids trying to step up and help fill in. After these four games, hopefully running a gauntlet like this, we should be ready for the conference."
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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