SHS girls open with win
Subzero temperatures and 16 inches of snow snarled traffic and shuttered businesses in Superior last week.
At Superior High School, the girls basketball team faced three days of downtime.
The team's season opener Tuesday was postponed, practice was canceled Wednesday and classes at SHS were canceled Wednesday and Thursday.
When the Spartan girls finally returned to the court on Friday to play the Marshfield Tigers, SHS head coach Phil Roe was biting his nails.
"It made me extremely nervous about how that would affect us," Roe said. "I was expecting a really close game. Marshfield is ranked No. 12 in Division 1, and they're going to be contenders to win the (Wisconsin) Valley Conference this year."
The time off didn't seem to slow the Spartans as they blazed to a 71-38 victory over Marshfield Friday night in Superior.
Superior built a 13-point lead in the first quarter and poured on 18 more points in the second quarter to lead 37-11 at halftime.
Junior Alyssa Correll helped the Spartans to their fast start by scoring 10 of the team's first 11 points. She was 4-for-4 from the field in the first quarter with a pair of 3-pointers.
"I think I just got good open looks," Correll said. "I've been going in to shoot with my sister a lot at the Y(MCA), and I really wasn't that nervous in the first quarter, so I think that helped."
In the first two minutes of Friday's game, Correll singlehandedly built an 8-0 lead for Superior.
Her first shot -- a 3-pointer from the left wing -- came 30 seconds into play. On the next possession, Hailey Kontny came up with a steal and passed the ball ahead to Correll for a layup. Correll then hit another shot from the arc at 6:17.
"Alyssa went on an 8-0 run by herself to start the game," Roe said. "Alyssa is a special player. She might be the best pure shooter I've coached, guys or girls."
Superior extended its lead to 11-2 on a free throw from Kontny and another basket from Correll and then went to 15-2 on back-to-back shots from Kontny.
By the end of the first quarter, Superior led 19-6.
"We wanted to get a good quick lead, and we were just hitting our shots," Correll said. "Our defense was a lot better than we expected; we played good man-to-man."
Superior held Marshfield to 11 points in the first half. The Tigers made just four field goals in the opening two quarters
"That set the tone for the whole game," Roe said.
Marshfield more than doubled its score in the third quarter, but the Tigers weren't able to make up any ground and trailed by more than 20 points for the entire second half.
The Spartans were led in scoring by Hailey Kontny, who had 26 points. Correll and Jessica Lindstrom both finished with 16 points apiece.
Sophomore McKenzie Kmecik added five points coming off the bench; Tailor Schuster added three points; Rachal Fregin and Malley O'Brien made a pair of free throws each; and Elizabeth Kolancyk made one free throw.
Caitlin Michaelis led Marshfield with 11 points, all but two of which came in the second half. Natalie Zuelke added eight points and Kailey Hubler added six.
"It's a great start, and this is a huge seeding victory," Roe said. "But we're going to stay humble about this and not get overly excited and still stay focused on things that we need to clean up."
A number of Spartan players got their first varsity starts or played their first varsity minutes Friday in Superior.
Roe said the new players need time to find their feet, but he's excited about the potential he sees.
"Tailor Schuster got her first start tonight, and she held a very, very good post player to minimal effectiveness," Roe said. "She silently did everything right on defense."
On offense, Kmecik provided a nice boost for Superior and knocked down one of the team's four 3-pointers for the night. She and junior Malley O'Brien both provided Superior with valuable minutes coming off the bench.
"McKenzie Kmecik, she's probably the best sixth man I've ever had in the program," Roe said. "She comes in and is an instant spark in many different ways. And she actually stepped up big time on shutting down Caitlin Michaelis to give Jessica (Lindstrom) a break guarding her, which helped us out.
"And then Malley O'Brien, who hasn't been here in two years, comes up and gets big steals and big plays. She's just a sparkplug, and you can see why the Badgers love her athleticism for soccer. She's going to help us this year, and she's just going to get better as the season goes on."
Marshfield 6 5 13 14 -- 38
Superior 19 18 16 18 -- 71
Marshfield -- Caitlin Michaelis 11, Natalie Zuelke 8, Kailey Hubler 6, Ellie Fehrenbach 5, McKayla Scheuer 4, Darian Molter 2, Martha Kupfer 2.
3-point goals -- Michaelis.
SHS -- Hailey Kontny 26, Alyssa Correll 16, Jessica Lindstrom 16, McKenzie Kmecik 5, Tailor Schuster 3, Rachal Fregin 2, Malley O'Brien 2, Elizabeth Kolancyk 1.
3-point goals -- Correll 2, Lindstrom, Kmecik.