By Vern Cahak
There’s an old saying that history repeats itself.
That certainly was evident in a WIAA regional tournament semi-final basketball game at Rhinelander where the Red Robins edged the Hodags by the unbelievable score of 14-11 on a last second three-point basket by Matt Arndt.
It was reminiscent of an Antigo-Rhinelander game played 59 years ago. On Jan. 18, 1957 the Red Robins were underdogs and Coach Dick Lund had his team go into a stall for over 14 minutes in the first half, which ended with Antigo holding a 5-0 lead. The playing style got back to normal in the second half and the Robins wound up winning, 31-24.
Sports writer Gene Legro wrote “Operation deep freeze worked successfully for the Antigo High School Red Robins as they upset Rhinelander in one of the strangest games in Antigo basketball history”. Jack Grignon led the Robins in scoring with 12 points.
Rhinelander was also Antigo’s opponent in the second lowest scoring game the teams ever played. Back on Jan. 25, 1924, even before the Red Robin name evolved, AHS was a 9-8 winner before a capacity crowd. About a month later, Antigo nipped the Rhinos, 15-13 in double overtime.
The most recent classic defensive battle occurred on Feb. 5, 1999 when the Robins downed D. C. Everest, 21-18.
With some teams piling up 100 points these days, primarily because the game has been extended by four minutes with two 18-minute halves compared to four eight-minute quarters, it is highly unusual to see a 14-11 final score.