Rhinelander’s Ally Seefeldt attempts to get past a Mosinee defender during a girls’ basketball game against Mosinee Saturday, Jan. 7 at Mosinee. Seefeldt scored a game-high 22 points in the win for Rhinelander. (Nick Sabato/River News)
1/10/2017 7:35:00 AM Lady Hodags hold off Mosinee in return to court
When the Rhinelander High School girls' basketball team traveled to Mosinee High School on Saturday for a Great Northern Conference game, it nearly came down to which team made the last run.
The Lady Hodags started the game with a big lead, but the Indians battled back to cut the lead to four at halftime.
Mosinee opened the second half with a 10-2 run in the first nine minutes, before Rhinelander responded with an 11-2 run in the next three.
The two teams traded blows down the stretch, but the Lady Hodags were able to come away with a 53-51 win as Hope Wissbroecker altered a shot by Megan Priest as time expired in Rhinelander's first game since Dec. 13.
"This is my fourth year and this is the first time we've had good numbers in our program," Rhinelander head coach Ryan Clark said. "Usually, we only had six or seven girls dressed on varsity. We've always wanted to press and get up and down the court a little bit. We started working on it Monday morning, my kids have never pressed before, we had some breakdowns, but I thought the style was fun, everyone got to play and pitch in and help her teammates, so overall, I thought it was fantastic."
Despite taking a lead into the halftime break, Rhinelander was losing momentum and that was evident when play resumed.
The Lady Hodags were completely out of sync on offense in the first nine minutes of the second half, leading to poor shot selection and turnovers.
Clark had finally seen enough and called timeout, and the conversation helped, as Rhinelander came out with pep in its step and crisp offensive execution.
"We haven't played in so long," Clark said. "We were getting the ball inside to Kaly (Kostrova), but we were just kind of rushing shots. We weren't patient on the wing. We were just kind of doing the same thing, so I told the kids to just be patient. Let's do some curls, let's do some back-cuts because they are really starting to extend their defense. Then little Ally Seefeldt had a nice curl to get a layup and I thought that settled us down a little bit."
Seefeldt was there every time Rhinelander needed a basket, scoring a game-high 22 points.
Both Seefeldt and Molly Wagler made a pair of free throws in the final two minutes and it appeared the Lady Hodags were going to put the game on ice.
After going 4 for 5 from the stripe between the two-minute and one-minute mark, Rhinelander went just 1 for 5 in the final minute to give Mosinee some hope.
Allison Miller made a layup to cut the lead to four and McKayla Garski made a layup off a steal under the basket with 25 seconds left.
The Lady Hodags went to the line with a chance to seal it, but freshman Kenedy Van Zile couldn't connect on her free throws. Rhinelander got the ball back after the ball went out of bounds, but Wagler saw her layup roll off the rim with 11 seconds left.
Officiating took center stage after that. Maddie Meyer appeared to be dragged down going for a loose ball, but no foul was called and Mosinee got the ball back with 2.9 seconds left.
Clark put in Wissbroecker to defend the basket up by two points, and she did, albeit with some contact, but no foul was called again.
"We have to go back and practice that situation," Clark said. "They're thinking score, but even if you score quickly, you're giving them another possession. We can't do that. A 3 would have beaten us there and there could have been a foul called inside, so we should have pulled it out, been strong, and even if we ran off five more seconds that possession wouldn't have happened."
Nonetheless, Rhinelander pulled out the win to improve to 4-4 and 2-2 in GNC play.
Kaly Kostrova had 16 points in the win for the Lady Hodags, who are scheduled to host Tomahawk on Tuesday in their first home game since Dec. 6.
Garski and Jaycie Dulak led Mosinee with 12 points apiece.
Nick Sabato may be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter @SabatoNick.
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