Spartan girls win regional title, play DCE Thursday
When games have been close this season, the Superior High School girls basketball team has turned to seniors Hailey Kontny and Jessica Lindstrom.
Both are four-year starters for the Spartans, and both are averaging about 20 points a game.
Saturday in Superior, the Spartans trailed the Marshfield Tigers late in the third quarter of a WIAA Division 1 regional final game. The Tigers braced for a scoring blitz by Lindstrom and Kontny, but it never came.
The real threat was Superior’s three underclassmen.
Juniors Alyssa Correll and Tailor Schuster and sophomore Mackenzie Kmecik combined to score 15 points in the fourth quarter as Superior rallied to defeat Marshfield 67-51.
Schuster and Kmecik scored all of their points in the second half, and Correll finished with 15 second-half points, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
“Those three girls stepped in at a crucial moment,” said Phil Roe, Spartan head coach. “Hailey and Jessica did a great job of trusting their teammates, and those teammates stepped up and made huge baskets in the fourth quarter of a regional final game.”
Superior (21-3) now faces D.C. Everest (22-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday in a sectional semifinal game at Eau Claire Memorial.
The Evergreens pulled off a minor upset with their 42-35 victory over No. 2-seeded Chippewa Falls Saturday, but Roe said he had a feeling D.C. Everest would advance.
“They’re a very good team that only has two losses,” he said. “One of them was to Marshfield and one of them was to us here. But that was a night that we shot like 65 percent, kind of shot the lights out. I anticipate it will be a tight game.”
The Evergreens rely on 6-foot-3 center Taylor Hodell but also have good depth, with seven or eight players capable of scoring in double figures. D.C. Everest won the Wisconsin Valley Conference title this year and enters the sectional semifinals on a seven-game winning streak.
“Our team has played with a huge amount of pressure and expectations, and we’ve responded really well to it.” Roe said. “I think D.C. Everest knows our personnel and we know theirs. … It’s going to be a battle back and forth.”
The winner of Thursday’s game will advance to the sectional finals Saturday at Stevens Point. If Superior wins, the Spartans will play at 1 p.m. if they face Neenah or 4 p.m. if they face Oshkosh West.
Against Marshfield, the Spartans played from behind for much of the game. The Tigers led 16-13 after a slow first quarter and traded the lead in the second and third quarters.
With about three minutes left in the third quarter Marshfield led 40-35. Correll hadn’t scored in almost 12 minutes at that point, but Roe told her to keep shooting.
“That’s all she needed to hear, and she went on a tear,” he said. “I just remember Marshfield going through two or three timeouts, and I kept telling the girls, ‘Well, Alyssa’s made two in a row; Alyssa’s made four in a row; Alyssa’s made five.’
“We kept finding her, and it was one of those moments where the basket gets bigger for her.”
Correll scored nearly half of Superior’s points in the last 11 minutes of the game. She opened the fourth quarter with a long jumper and then added a basket in transition on a pass from Kontny.
Caitlin Michaelis scored Marshfield’s first basket of the quarter at 6:32, but Correll struck again on the next possession to give the Spartans a 50-44 lead.
That capped a 9-2 run for Superior, with Correll scoring all nine of the Spartans’ points.
“I was really off the first half, so I just wanted to focus,” Correll said. “They were leaving me open more since I hadn’t been making (shots), and I was just getting really good passes.”
Lindstrom followed Correll’s scoring streak with a pair of free throws, and Kmecik gave Superior a 10-point lead when she took an outlet pass from Schuster and put in a left-handed layup.
Schuster got in on the scoring about a minute later. Marshfield had pulled to within six with a pair of unanswered baskets, but Schuster made it 57-48 with a 3-pointer from the right wing.
“That was the only three that she shot, and she drained it,” Roe said.
Correll then finished off her night with two more baskets less than a minute apart, and Lindstrom and Kontny secured the win at the free throw line.
“She has ice in her veins,” Lindstrom said of Correll. “If she had to take two free throws to win the game at the end, she would make them. Nothing fazes her, and that’s why she’s such a good player.”
Correll finished with 21 points, and Lindstrom had a game-high 22 points. Kontny scored 15 points, Schuster had five and Kmecik had four.
Schuster and Kmecik also provided a few key rebounds and assists late in the game, which Correll believes made the difference for Superior.
“Tailor had 10 rebounds and she worked really hard on the boards,” Correll said. “And Kmecik had a lot of energy. She got us pumped and had some great passes.”
Superior’s sectional semifinal Saturday will be streamed live on ifan.tv and will also be broadcast on the radio at WNXR.
SPARTAN SPIN: With their win Saturday, the Spartans were the only home team in Section 1 to avoid an upset. No. 3-seeded D.C. Everest topped Chippewa Falls (No. 2), and both the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the southern half of the bracket were knocked out Saturday. Neenah, the No. 4 seed, defeated top-seeded Oshkosh North 57-42. No. 3 Oshkosh West defeated No. 2 Appleton North 39-38. … Marshfield lost its tallest player, 6-foot center Ellie Fehrenbach, six minutes into the game Saturday. Fehrenbach suffered an apparent knee injury and spent the remainder of the game on crutches. … Lindstrom needs just seven points to reach 2,000 career points. She would become the first girls basketball player from Superior High School ever to reach that milestone.
Marshfield............................... 16 10 16 9 — 51
Superior................................... 13 16 15 23 — 67
Marshfield — Ellie Kummer 15, Natalie Zuelke 11, McKayla Scheuer 9, Caitlin Michaelis 8, Kailey Hubler 4, Ellie Fehrenbach 2, Ema Fehrenbach 2.
3-point goals — Kummer 3, Scheuer, Michaelis.
Superior — Jessica Lindstrom 22, Alyssa Correll 21, Hailey Kontny 15, Tailor Schuster 5, Mackenzie Kmecik 4.
3-point goals — Kontny 3, Correll, Schuster.
Hudson.................................... 17 10 21 13 — 60
Superior................................... 19 18 14 20 — 71
Hudson — Lexi Jonas 21, Kaylyn Jenkins 15, Ashley Juza 14, Anna Paquette 7, Maggie Koehler 4.
3-point goals — Jonas 4, Juza 2, Paquette.
Superior — Jessica Lindstrom 24, Hailey Kontny 23, Alyssa Correll 13, Tailor Schuster 8, Rachal Fregin 2, Mackenzie Kmecik 1.
3-point goals — Lindstrom, Correll.