Raiders caught in speed trap in loss to Hodags
MEDFORD GIRLS BASKETBALL
Defensive pressure in basketball isn’t always about forcing turnovers, though the Rhinelander Hodags forced 24 in Tuesday’s game with the Medford Raiders.
More importantly Tuesday, the Hodags simply got the young Raiders playing faster than they needed to play and took advantage in a 67-46 win at Raider Hall.
“We sped up our offense and I’ve told the girls from the beginning that we play better basketball when we run our offense and are composed and patient on offense,” Medford head coach Jessica Faude said. “We were just coming down and forcing shots. That’s really what it was. They forced us to increase our pace. When we’d be composed and patient we’d get shots. When we would force our offense, we’d take bad shots and turn the ball over and they’d get fast breaks.”
A co-favorite in this year’s Great Northern Conference title chase, along with Lakeland who visits Raider Hall Friday for another tough matchup for Medford, the Hodags (4-2 overall) led throughout after giving up a layup to Sierra Hanson on the game’s first possession and took over the GNC lead at 3-0. Medford dropped out of the top spot and is 2-1 in league play and 5-2 overall.
The Raiders made two solid runs at the Hodags after falling behind early. Each time, Rhinelander came up with a big answer to put an end to Medford’s momentum.
The first time came in the latter stages of the first half. Rhinelander took a 17-7 lead after a Cynthia Beavers steal led to a Rebecca Lawrence fast break basket with 9:04 left. Katie Brehm hit two free throws after getting fouled out of the timeout, Marissa Fronk got a steal and score. Brehm scored moments later on a well-executed baseline inbound play, Rau hit a short jumper off a press break and Fronk’s steal led to a Hanson bucket that made it 20-18 with 5:28 left.
But after a timeout, Rhinelander got their All-GNC standout Kenedy Van Zile an open look at a 3-pointer from the left corner and she buried it. That sparked a 16-2 run where the pace got Medford out of sorts and into a 36-20 hole. Rau’s late 3-pointer made it 36-23 at the break.
“Foul trouble hurt a little bit and just having our young guards in there that just weren’t necessarily used to that pressure a little bit,” Faude said. “We did the same thing. We forced our offense. That lack of experience hurt us a little bit in those last couple minutes of the first half and it spread that gap out.”
The Raiders made their second run right after halftime. Rau banked in a 3-pointer on Medford’s first possession. After Lawrence scored for the Hodags, Ruesch scored inside off a Hanson assist and Rau put back a Brehm miss to make it 38-30. After a Beavers steal and score, Autumn Krause found Brehm down low for a bucket and Fronk hit to free throws to make it a 40-34 game with 13:39 left.
But Lawrence scored inside for the Hodags and Van Zile sank another pivotal 3-pointer to push the lead back to double digits. Van Zile got a three-point play off a baseline drive and then hit two free throws following a Medford turnover to make it 50-34 with 8:03 left. Medford made one last mini run, getting within 55-46 on a Hanson 3 with just under four minutes left, but those were the Raiders’ last points.
Rau scored a season-high 13 points with a trio of 3-pointers and also led the team with eight rebounds. Brehm also had a season-high with 12 points and pulled down five rebounds. Hanson scored seven points and had four assists. Ruesch scored six points and had four rebounds. Krause had three rebounds and two assists.
Fronk was held to just eight points, but she played a solid all-around game, doing her best to handle Rhinelander’s pressure and playing a key role in limiting the explosive Van Zile to 15 points, about 10 points under her average.
“Marissa played a great game,” Faude said. “Defensively she does so well and then handling the ball and handling the pressure she can dribble right through three girls with her speed. She’s just so athletic. She helped us break the press tonight. When she wasn’t in there that’s where we got hurt a little. We’d have to give her a break and they took advantage of it. That was that time period right before the half that she was out and that hurt us.”
Beavers led Rhinelander with 20 points and Lawrence added 19 to pick up the slack for Van Zile, who was held to five of 15 shooting and turned the ball over seven times.
Rhinelander shot 44.7% from the field (21 of 46) compared to 33% (17 for 51) for Medford. Both teams had 29 rebounds.
Lakeland comes into Raider Hall at 2-0 in league play and 7-1 overall and will bring more full court defensive pressure and a couple of offensive threats Medford will have to pay close attention to, senior Abby Parris and freshman Julianna Ouimette. Tip time is 7:15 p.m.
“They’ll be a handful,” Faude said. “We know what to expect. It’s just trying to handle it. It’s going to be full-court pressure the whole game.”
Medford 61, Tomahawk 12
Everyone got into the scorebook as the Raiders easily took care of last-place Tomahawk Thursday 61-12.
Medford took advantage of 35 Hatchet turnovers, scoring 40 points off of them and limited the Hatchets to just 26 fieldgoal attempts in the game. The Hatchets made just six of them.
Medford struggled from 3-point range, making just two of 14, but was able to dissect Tomahawk’s defense for 34 points in the paint and 22 of 43 shooting on twopoint shots.
The Raiders scored the game’s first 10 points. The Hatchets got a bucket from Addison Bartz to pull within 13-4, then Medford scored the next 23 points for a 36-4 advantage. It was 37-8 at halftime. The lead got as high as 50 in a second half that was shortened by the running clock Hanson led the Raiders’ balanced offensive attack with 11 points, while Brehm scored 10, Rau had nine and Fronk had a quiet night with eight. Laurissa Klapatauskas scored a season-high seven, Ruesch and Krause scored four points each, Lydia Pernsteiner hit a second- half 3-pointer, Bryn Fronk scored four points and Martha Miller added her first varsity point to close the scoring.
Brehm’s six rebounds led the team while Hanson and Ruesch had five apiece. Hanson dished out six assists, while Rau and Marissa Fronk had two each. Hanson also had five steals, while Fronk had four and Pernsteiner and Klapatauskas had two each.
Ella Genelin had four points to lead Tomahawk.