Rhinelander’s Mara Meyer (10) dribbles past teammate Sydnei Smith (30) during a scrimmage Monday against Crandon High School . The Lady Hodags open their season Friday against Wausau West at D.C. Everest. (Jeremy Mayo/River News)
11/20/2012 1:30:00 PM Lady Hodags scrimmage Crandon
The Rhinelander High School girls' basketball team had a chance to tune up for the regular season Monday when it scrimmaged Crandon High School at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium in Rhinelander.
The Hodags and the Cardinals scrimmaged for roughly 90 minutes as they prepared for their season openers.
The teams played a simulated game, with eight-minute quarters, minus free throws. Rhinelander unofficially came out on top 40-28.
"Offensively, I think we started out a little better than I thought," Rhinelander coach Mark Jacobson said. "They moved the ball around nice. We definitely need to work on defensive intensity. That's what we'll address in practice."
The Hodags spread the ball around offensively as seven different players scored the team's first seven baskets.
"With the offense that we run, if the girl works hard, she's going to get a good look," Jacobson said. "They have the green light. They can shoot it."
Rhinelander had a 11-8 lead following the first eight-minute session and increased the lead to 26-12 following the second session. Sophomore guard Kylie Hunter scored seven points in the second session and finished with 11 points overall.
The Hodags started junior Sydnei Smith at point guard in a four-guard system with Hunter, Molly Willging and Mara Meyer. Senior Emily Fortier started at forward. The Hodags had four players on the bench - Brianna Gilbert, Riley Aschenbrenner, Sam Hoppe and Brianna Bozek.
Aschenbrenner, a 6-0 sophomore, finished with 10 points, including six in the third session. Gilbert, a 5-10 sophomore, added six points and pulled down a number of rebounds. They figure to give the Hodags some added depth inside, behind Fortier.
"They are going to give me a little extra depth there," Jacobson said. "They are sophomores and they've got a learning curve, but they've got some potential and we need a post presence down there."
Smith had five points, Meyer had four, and Fortier and Hoppe finished with two points apiece.
"Syd did a nice job running the point," Jacobson said. "I thought Brianna Gilbert did a nice job defensively and grabbing the boards. I thought overall, for the first live action that we've had, we shot the ball relatively well."
The Hodags saw a familiar face on the opposite sideline. Former RHS cross country coach Josh Jaeger assumed the role of head girls' basketball coach at Crandon shortly after accepting a teaching position in the Crandon School District.
"It's been a crazy last month," said Jaeger, whose final day at RHS was Nov. 2. "I had a week to get acclimated to my classroom, then basketball started two-a-days. It's been hectic to say the least."
Jaeger said Rhinelander contacted Crandon to set up Monday's scrimmage.
"They contacted us, which was a cool thing," he said. "I didn't know when I would get back here to experience this. It was definitely strange walking in here 15 days removed from Rhinelander High School, but it was good to see a lot of the athletes. Rhinelander was great to me. I have nothing but great things to say about Rhinelander High School and what it did for me and my career."
There were plenty of pauses in the action as the coaches took advantage of the teaching opportunities that came about during live action. Following the simulated game, the teams took turns working on running and breaking backcourt pressure.
"It's nice to do this, kind of gauge where you are at and hone things in," Jacobson said.
Jaeger agreed that the scrimmage was beneficial to his team.
"I hope we can continue this," he said. "Coach Jacobson and myself can really help each other out on drills like this, where you are not going intrasquad all the time."
For Rhinelander it was a chance to define strengths and weaknesses heading into this weekend's "Blow the Whistle on Cancer" tournament at D.C. Everest.
"We have to work man-to-man defensively, get the intensity rolling," Jacobson said. "We have to work on some tweaks in breaking the press. Those are the two big things we will address."
The Hodags will be tested during this weekend's event, facing former Wisconsin Valley Conference rivals Wausau West and D.C. Everest Friday and Saturday.
"I would like us, defensively, to play well," Jacobson said. "Offensively (I would like us to) get good looks. We're not going to be able to give up a lot of easy buckets."
The event, organized by WIAA basketball officials, will raise money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. There will be silent auction items and 50/50 raffles during the event, people may also make donations to the V Foundation.
"It's a great cause and it's nice to have the teams and the kids come together to play for something like this," Jacobson said.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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