12/5/2017 7:30:00 AM Lady Hodags sink 31 free throws, beat Mosinee 76-66
The Rhinelander High School girls' basketball team made the most of a foul-filled contest Friday night to win its Great Northern Conference opener.
Guards Kenedy Van Zile and Ally Seefeldt were a combined 27 of 36 from the charity stripe and the Hodags did enough when both players were off the floor in foul trouble to defeat Mosinee 76-66 at the Mosinee High School Gym.
Rhinelander led by 10 at halftime, and pushed the lead to 17 on a couple of occasions in the second half. Mosinee cut the lead to single digits on a couple of occasions, but Rhinelander held on thanks to a 31 of 43 night from the line in a contest that was bogged down by a combined 59 fouls.
"The bottom line was it was a game of free throws," Hodag coach Ryan Clark said. "Ally and Kenedy did a nice job of not getting their fifth foul. They finished the game with their free throw shooting. They got to the line. Mosinee put us in the bonus right away. We didn't make a lot of shots in the second half. Everything was a free throw."
Both Van Zile and Seefeldt finished with 24 points, but neither was on the floor for a prolonged stretch of the first half thanks to foul trouble. Seefeldt picked up her third personal foul with 10:45 remaining in the first and Van Zile picked up her third a short time later. Brooke Mork, who finished with 12 points, also got into first-half foul trouble.
"We were down those three players in the first half. We didn't have a point guard on the floor," Clark said.
The Hodags held their own with guards Alayna Franson and Payton Van Zile in the game, along with forwards Molly Wagler, Lexie Rick and Erica Jorgensen. Payton Van Zile hit a couple of 3s in that stretch while Franson made a free throw and then scored on an offensive rebound off a missed free throw.
"Those nine points were huge," said Clark, whose team led 31-21 at the break. "Our depth was definitely stretched tonight, but they did a nice job responding on the road to get a win."
Rhinelander's press forced a lot of turnovers and created a number of scoring opportunities, but also a lot of fouls. Clark said it was a double-edged sword that nearly allowed Mosinee to rally in the second half.
"We were aggressive in the first half," he said. "We turned them over a lot on the press and, with all the fouls in the second half we still pressed but we didn't want to foul. We lost our aggressiveness. We gave up a lot of dribble penetration, gave up a lot of offensive rebounds."
The win was Rhinelander's third in a row and gave the Hodags an early-season leg up in the GNC.
"Mosinee's always a tough place to play. I respect their program a lot. I think (Mosinee coach) Tom (McCarty) does a great job down there and they always have a good atmosphere. To be on the road and put up 76 points, I think we played really tough and really hard. We just have to clean up some of the mistakes we're making."
The Hodags travel to Ashland tonight as part of a boys-girls doubleheader.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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