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Raiders get within 3, but rally falls short at Rhinelander

Raiders get within 3, but rally falls short at Rhinelander Raiders get within 3, but rally falls short at Rhinelander


The Medford Raiders showed signs of breaking out of an offensive slump and had their chances in the second half, but they couldn’t quite take advantage of enough of them Monday and fell 61-54 at Rhinelander.

The good news was the Raiders shot a season-high 43.5% from the field and reached their second-highest point total of the season. Medford found some driving and passing lanes in the Hodags’ defense and got 24 points in the paint, plus they knocked down six 3-pointers, four of which came in a 28-point first half.

Unfortunately, they needed a few more shots –– and they had some good ones in the second half –– to fall to complete their comeback from a 42-28 halftime deficit.

The loss was Medford’s eighth straight and dropped the Raiders to 2-6 in the Great Northern Conference and 4-12 overall. The Hodags improved to 5-3, 8-11 on Tuesday when they won at Northland Pines.

A 23-4 first-half run by the Hodags was the difference-maker, turning a 17-11 Medford lead into a 34-21 edge for Rhinelander, who never trailed again. The Raiders got early 3s from Bryn Fronk, Rylee Hraby and Brooke Rudolph in that run as well as jumpers from Hraby and Aliyah Pilgrim to create some momentum from the outside.

That changed when Rhinelander’s full-court pressure started to create some miscues and the Hodags started to get their familiar transition game going, getting clean releases off defensive rebounds.

Medford started the second half with an emphasis on pounding the post and it paid off. Rudolph scored twice down on the block and got a transition hoop off a Fronk assist to cut Rhinelander’s lead to 44-34. Breanna Kraemer also scored in the post and then Fronk hit from long range to suddenly make it a five-point game. Rudolph scored off a pick-and-roll with Fronk to make it a one-possession game at 44-41 and the Raiders had a handful of chances to get even closer before Rhinelander’s top player, Ava Lamers finally scored to break Medford’s run and she assisted on a Lily Treder basket off a turnover to make it 48-41.

Rhinelander eventually got the lead back to 10 at 54-44 but Medford made another late run. Rudolph made two free throws with 6:17 left and Pilgrim passed to Kraemer for a layup. After Treder hit a floater in the lane, Fronk swished a triple with 4:09 left. Hraby took advantage of a driving lane to make it a 56-53 game with 2:40 left.

But that’s when the lid on the basket returned. Despite some missed free throws and missed layups by the Hodags in the final two minutes, Medford could not get any closer.

Rudolph nearly had a double-double, scoring 23 points for Medford and pulling down nine rebounds. Fronk scored 11 points while working around some foul trouble and added three steals, three assists and three rebounds. Hraby scored a season-high seven points and had four rebounds. Kraemer had six points, four rebounds and two assists.

Madison Clarkson hit a first-half 3 and finished with four points. Pilgrim had three points and a team-high seven assists. Rachel Wesle had four rebounds.

Lamers scored a game-high 27 points and had eight rebounds, four assists and four steals. Treder added 11 points.

Medford will look to snap its skid Friday when it visits last-place Tomahawk at 7:15 p.m. On Saturday, Medford hosts La Crosse Central in a game that will start at about 5:45 p.m. following the boys contest. The Raiders will host a rematch with Rhinelander Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.

Antigo 61, Medford 32

With a punishing inside game, the Great Northern Conference’s most improved team this season, the Antigo Red Robins, overpowered Medford 61-32 Friday at Raider Hall.

Senior all-conference candidate Sophie Schlieve did most of the damage, hitting 12 of 15 shots from the field while scoring 31 points. She also had seven rebounds and seven steals in her dominant performance. Sophomore forward Tristin Arlen added 10 points as Antigo improved to 6-3 in the conference play.

Antigo scored the first six points and never trailed, though Medford made a couple of early attempts to stick with the Robins. Down 15-5, Pilgrim got Medford going with her second 3 of the night and Kraemer scored on the block to pull the Raiders within 15-10. Kraemer answered a Schlieve bucket to make it 17-12 and her free throw at the 6:11 mark made it 21-13. But that was the last time the Raiders were within single digits.

The Red Robins broke it open at that point, closing out the first half with a 15-3 run that featured nine points from Schlieve, including a 3-pointer, and made it 36-16.

Kraemer’s free throw and offensive putbacks by Rudolph and Kraemer got the Raiders within 39-21, but Schlieve had six of the points in an 8-0 run that pushed Antigo’s lead to 47-21 and the deficit stayed above 20 the rest of the way. The Raiders went scoreless in the last seven minutes after a Clarkson 3 made it 55-32.

Pilgrim hit three 3-point shots and led Medford with 12 points. She added three rebounds. Kraemer scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds. Fronk had four points, three assists and three rebounds. Rudolph had four points and four rebounds. Clarkson finished with four points as well. Wesle led Medford with six rebounds and she had three assists.

Medford actually outrebounded the Robins 32-30, but the Robins didn’t need to get many offensive rebounds by going 20 for 43 on two-point shots and 18 of 25 from the free throw line. Antigo scored 38 of its points in the paint. The game was somewhat physical, but Medford only got to the line nine times, making four.

Hayward 44, Medford 36

The crucial stretch Thursday, it could be argued, came right off the bat when visiting Hayward scored the game’s first 10 points and wound up never trailing in a 44-36 win over the Raiders.

The Raiders made their runs at the Hurricanes throughout the contest, getting as close as three twice in the first half and as close as four twice in the second half. But each time Medford got close, Hayward found a way to stretch the lead again, improved to 5-8 at the time and earned its second close win in as many seasons over the Raiders.

Down 10-0 with 12:08 left in the half, Medford head coach Chad Fronk called a timeout and the Raiders quickly responded with a short jumper that went down for Kraemer and their energy picked up even more with some success in their full-court pressure. Fronk’s steal led to an easy bucket for Hraby and Masaeda Krug buried a right-wing 3 to make it 10-7. Rudolph’s banked-in 3 countered a couple of Hayward hoops to make it 1410 and Pilgrim scored on the baseline off a well-run pick-and-roll with Hraby to make it 15-12 with 8:15 left in the half. Unfortunately, that’s where the momentum stalled as the Raiders went scoreless for the rest of the half. The defense, however, allowed just six points in that stretch to keep Medford within striking distance at 21-12.

Fronk’s 3 and a nice move inside from Rudolph got Medford within 21-17 to start the second half, but Hayward countered with a 9-2 run to open up its biggest lead at 30-19. Again, the Raiders slowly chipped away, getting within 30-24 on another triple from Krug, 32-26 on two Fronk free throws and 34-29 when Clarkson dropped in a right-wing 3 with 3:53 left.

Clarkson made one of two free throws with 3:12 to go to make it 34-30. Hayward got two bonus free throws from Madi Bergschneider with 3:02 left and a free throw from Alivia Poppe with 2:45 left following a Raider turnover. Fronk made two of three free throws at the 2:16 mark, making it 37-32 and giving Medford a chance to make it a one-possession game with a defensive stop.

But, Hurricane Greta Schmitt foiled that plan by calmly nailing a 3-point shot from just left of the circle with 1:52 left to push the gap to eight and Hayward was able to salt the game away from the free throw line from there.

Defensively, Medford forced 22 Hurricane turnovers and held Hayward to 35.3% shooting from the field (12 of 33). Hayward, however, got to the free throw line 25 times, though a bunch of those were late, and made 17. Medford was just six of 12 from the line. Hayward also had a 33-19 edge in rebounding.

Coming off a game at Rice Lake where Medford made just six shots from the field, the Raiders’ 12 makes Thursday were an improvement. They hit 12 of 43 shots (27.9%), including six of 19 3-point tries, but some misses in the paint hurt. Medford was six of 24 on two-point shots.

Fronk led Medford with nine points, six rebounds, six steals and two assists. She made four of five free throws. Rudolph and Krug scored six points each. Rudolph had five rebounds, while Krug had three steals, two assists and three boards. Hraby scored five points, including a late 3. She led Medford with four assists. Pilgrim and Clarkson scored four points apiece. Kraemer had two points and three rebounds.

Schmitt led all scorers with 15 points, while Bergschneider added nine for Hayward.