Hodag ballers hit the hardwood
After an extremely successful season, it is easy for a team to become complacent and relax during the offseason. But the Rhinelander Hodag boys’ basketball team is doing anything but. The Hodags are working hard during several team camps and returning to the fundamental skills of the game. They’re training to continue the success and momentum following last season.
“We’ve been playing quite a bit of basketball,” stated RHS Head Coach Derek Lemmens. “Repetition is key. You can’t just show up in the season, it’s not like that anymore. You need to put in the work and target the results.”
During the summer, the players have been divided into two separate leagues, one for varsity players and one for junior varsity. They have played three tournaments thus far, and 11 games at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point annual team camp.
“The UWSP team camp is great,” the coach said. “Close to forty teams show up, and I went to Stevens Point so I always help out. Mitchell Reinthaler, Sam O’Melia, Tyler Thorsen, Brad Kenote, and Matt Quade among others all participated, working hard at the game.”
Fundamentals such as defense, passing, court vision, and flow are all highly addressed areas in the summer, a time when getting back to basics builds winter champions. Several basketball players are also participating in the speed and weight training regime at RHS this summer, and Coach Lemmens readily sees the benefits of the added training.
“If a basketball player makes themselves bigger, faster, and stronger, it just excels what they can do on the court. Skills become that much more useful. Not only can they dribble, but they can dribble that much quicker. If they have a good shot, they can get physical and use better body positioning. It’s also one of the best ways to prepare for higher levels of basketball.”
Like any leader, Coach Lemmens would like to see more of his athletes in the gym, but is over all satisfied with the results. Looking ahead to the future, things are extremely bright for our Hodags.
“A conference championship is the number one goal this year,” said Lemmens. “We feel it is ours this year. We hope we don’t have the mentality to show up and win, we need to be hungry. Another goal is we want to progressively improve as the season goes on. We haven’t been to state in 12 years, but this season it’s a realistic goal.”
Dedication and work ethic have helped our Hodag athletes strive this summer. And if all the hard work pays off, the Hodags basketball team should have a very successful season this year.