Spartan girls are up to the Challenge
But at Superior High School Saturday, the Wausau West Warriors found themselves on the losing end of a 76-71 shootout with the Spartan girls basketball team.
Superior, 6-1 for the season, scored 43 points in the first half and finished the night with 11 shots from behind the arc.
“The girls came out with the win and it was big,” Roe said. “But it’s more my concern that they (Wausau West) scored 71. We’ve got to clean that up.”
Wausau West (5-2) got off to a blistering start with 10 points in the first two minutes of play. On defense the Warriors crowded the lane and forced Superior to settle for outside shots.
“You’ve got to pick your poison,” said Warriors coach Patrick Galligan. “We decided we were going to really emphasize rebounding tonight and keep them out of the lane — and hope they couldn’t shoot as many 3’s as they did.”
In the first half alone, Superior made seven 3-pointers. Junior Alyssa Correll accounted for three of those shots and finished the night with five 3-pointers.
“She is very good, and we knew that,” Galligan said. “Again, you’ve got to take chances sometimes, and that’s why Superior is so highly ranked, because they do have options. Correll nailed shots and did some great things for them.”
The Warriors led 10-4 at 5:30 with a chance to extend their lead when Superior’s Mackenzie Kmecik stepped up to take a charge. On the next play, Correll knocked down her first 3-pointer of the night to cut the lead to 10-7.
Senior Hailey Kontny followed with a 3-pointer and pull-up jumper to keep the Spartans within three, 15-12, and Correll’s second 3-pointer made it 17-16. Jessica Lindstrom then gave Superior its first lead of the night, 18-17, with a shot inside at 1:17.
Kontny scored 11 points in the first quarter, while Correll and Lindstrom added six apiece.
Lindstrom took over for Superior in the second quarter, as Kontny picked up her third personal foul and played limited minutes. Lindstrom went 5-for-5 at the free-throw line in the quarter and scored 12 of Superior’s 20 points.
She also picked up her third personal foul before the end of the first half, as did Wausau West’s leading scorer, Jasmin Samz.
Despite the early foul trouble, Lindstrom, Kontny and Samz all finished the game without fouling out.
Lindstrom and Kontny led all scorers with 28 and 27 points, respectively. Samz led the Warriors with 24 points.
“I feel Hailey and Jessica really looked for each other and found each other well,” Roe said. “They had great chemistry together and it showed.”
Superior opened the holiday classic with a 69-46 victory over D.C. Everest on Friday.
In the first three minutes of the play, the teams combined to make five 3-pointers, as Superior took a 9-6 lead. The Spartans took a 24-11 lead after one quarter and never trailed the rest of the game.
Kontny led Superior with 28 points, including 17 in the first half. Correll was next with 20 points, and Lindstrom had 13 points with a half dozen assists and at least three blocked shots.
The Evergreens’ 6-foot-3 forward Taylor Hodell scored a team-high 12 points. Only five of her points came in the first half. Her remaining seven points came in the third quarter, including five when Lindstrom went to the Spartan bench with three personal fouls.
With Superior’s victories in the Big Rivers Conference-Wisconsin Valley Conference Challenge, the Spartan girls have completed one of the more difficult portions of their schedule.
They return to action Friday with a game at Hudson. On Jan. 15 the Spartans travel to Eden Prairie (Minn.), and they then play a stretch of games against Eau Claire North, Duluth East and Eau Claire Memorial.
“It was a great holiday classic,” Roe said. “It was fun to host the tournament up here, and I think Superior did a great job — the school and the community — of hosting the tournament and welcoming people from all over. I’ve heard good things about it.”
“Superior’s been involved in this tournament for a long time and never got a chance to host it,” Galligan said. “I think it’s well-deserved, and we had a great time. We had two tough games and learned a lot about ourselves, and that’s what this was all about.”
Superior was actually short-handed for the recent holiday classic. Starter Rachal Fregin is out due to illness, and Malley O’Brien was in Florida for an AAU soccer tournament.
“She told me about it before the season,” Roe said. “So the last two games we’ve had some new kids step up.”
Taking on a starting role was sophomore Mackenzie Kmecik. She scored eight points Friday against D.C. Everest and six points Saturday against Wausau West
“She did awesome,” Roe said. He added that the sophomore showed great composure when she made a pair of free throws in a one-and-one situation with 1:25 left to play.
“It’s fun to see a sophomore step up and make those,” Roe said.
Junior Elizabeth Kolanczyk and senior Missy Toland also played extra minutes for the Spartans over the weekend.
D.C. Everest............................ 11 16 11 12 — 46
Superior................................... 24 16 14 15 — 69
DEC — Hannah Tipple 8, Haley Kroll, 6, Kaylie Kohel 4, Kelsey Gilmore 5, Mackenzie Mathies 5, Makayla Pagel 4, Taylor Hodell 12, Maddie Jagodzinksi 2.
3-point baskets — Kroll 2, Bauman, Mathies. Free throws 4-of-13.
Superior — Elizabeth Kolanczyk 2, Alyssa Correll 20, Mackenzie Kmecik 8, Jessica Lindstrom 13, Hailey Kontny 24, Tailor Schuster 2.
3-point baskets — Correll 3, Kontny 2. Free throws — 14-of-17.
Wausau West........................ 19 18 15 19 — 71
Superior................................... 23 20 17 16 — 76
Wausau West — Jasmin Samz 24, Katrina Cihlar 18, Anna Brown 18, Ravyn Heckendorf 6, Kierra Kohlbeck 2, Sarah Snoeyenbos 2, Lauren Conley 1.
3-point goals — Cihlar 2, Heckendorf 2.
Superior — Jessica Lindstrom 28, Hailey Kontny 27, Alyssa Correll 15, Mackenzie Kmecik 6.
3-point goals — Correll 5, Lindstrom 3, Kontny 3.