SHS girls rally past Chippewa Falls
The Spartan girls had led by five early in the fourth quarter, but a 9-0 run by the Chippewa Falls Cardinals had Superior playing catch-up.
With less than a minute to play, the Cardinals led by six, and Superior had two starters playing with four fouls.
“I just kept telling them during our timeouts, ‘Lots of time. Lots of time left on the clock,’” said Phil Roe, head coach of the Spartans.
Superior needed every second to complete its comeback.
Three Spartans hit shots at the arc in the final 50 seconds of play and the Cardinals went 3-for-6 from the free-throw line as Superior won 58-57. Senior Hailey Kontny hit the game-winning 3-pointer for Superior (4-1) with just four seconds remaining.
“It was an amazing comeback,” Roe said. “Alyssa (Correll) hit that big three, Jessica (Lindstrom) hit a big three and Hailey hit a big three — three big threes right at the end.”
Correll, Superior’s top 3-point shooter, put the Spartans within striking distance when she knocked down a shot from the right wing with 47 seconds remaining. Chippewa Falls answered with a free throw from Tyana Loiselle to make it 55-51, but a quick 3-pointer from Lindstrom cut the lead to 55-54 with 28 seconds to play.
Superior’s hopes dimmed six seconds later when Correll committed her fifth foul to stop the clock. The Cardinals made 1-of-2 free throws, and Kontny did the same moments later to make it 56-55.
Another fast foul put Chippewa Falls’ Kayla Hanley at the line with 12.6 seconds left.
“Kayla Hanley makes every free throw,” Lindstrom said. “But she missed the first one and our fans went wild.”
Hanley quieted the crowd when she swished her second free throw.
Superior then advanced the ball, and with 10.5 second left, Roe used his final timeout to draw up a play. He went with a man-to-man play, but the Cardinals returned to the floor in a zone defense.
“We had to improvise because they came out in a 2-3 zone,” Roe said. “Jessica (Lindstrom) was in the high post, and the girls were a little confused.”
Kontny, at point guard, saw the defensive change and made a snap decision.
“I knew that there was 10 seconds left on the clock, and I knew that they came out in a 2-3 instead of man-to-man,” Kontny said. “We were supposed to run one play, but it didn’t look like it was open. I just knew that the time was running out and I had to take a shot.”
Kontny had room at the top of the arc and put in the game-winning shot with four seconds left. The Cardinals couldn’t get off a final shot, and Kontny was mobbed by her teammates as the buzzer sounded.
“It was so amazing. It was such a rush,” Kontny said.
“We really wanted it, as you could tell,” Lindstrom said. “I’m so happy our shots fell at the end. That’s exactly what we wanted. Well, maybe not that close.”
Lindstrom finished the game going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line led all scorers with 27 points. She also had four blocks for the night.
Kontny finished with 14 points for the Spartans and went 3-for-4 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. Correll made a trio of 3-pointers and finished with 11 points, Mackenzie Kmecik had four points coming off the bench and Tailor Schuster went 2-for-2 at the free-throw line.
“This was a big win for my team mentally, especially after losing a really tough game against Chisago Lakes (Dec. 17) in overtime,” Roe said. “That was a tough loss but these girls, instead of panicking, they were unfazed and just showed how mentally tough they were.”
Courtney Passint and Kayla Hanley led Chippewa Falls with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Tyana Loiselle, Brenna Roshell and Kaitlin Rubenzer all had eight points; Kacie Bertrand had seven; and Lexi Hanley had two.
The Cardinals went 9-for-14 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter and 18-of-28 for the game. Superior made 19-of-28 free throws for the night.
“As usual, Chippewa is one of the top teams in the state, and they have one of the best programs in the state,” Roe said. “This game could have gone either way. We’re fortunate it went our way, but Chippewa played their hearts out. They were ready.”
SPARTAN SPIN: Friday’s win marks Superior’s third straight victory over Chippewa Falls. In last year’s regular season game, the Spartans won 61-59 on a last-second layup by Kontny. In the WIAA sectional semifinals Superior won 52-49. … In the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter, Chippewa Falls outscored Superior 17-8. … Lindstrom scored seven of Superior’s first nine points and played much of the fourth quarter with four fouls.
Chippewa Falls 16 11 10 20 — 57
Superior 16 16 8 18 — 58
Chippewa Falls — Courtney Passint 13, Kayla Hanley 11, Tyana Loiselle 8, Brenna Roshell 8, Kaitlin Rubenzer 8, Kacie Bertrand 7, Lexi Hanley 2.
3-point goals —
Superior — Jessica Lindstrom 27, Hailey Kontny 14, Alyssa Correll 11, Mackenzie Kmecik 4, Tailor Schuster 2.
3-point goals — Correll 3, Lindstrom, Kontny.