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Superior's Connor Grey (55) goes up for a lay-up over the Chippewa Falls defense in the third quarter of the Spartans loss to the Cardinals in Superior on Tuesday night. (Jed Carlson/jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Spartans rebound with big win at Duluth Marshall

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By Ken Olson

The Chippewa Falls Cardinals overcame a 10-point deficit to defeat the Superior High School boys basketball team 78-71 Tuesday night in the SHS gym.

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The Spartans led 59-49 after three quarters, but the Cardinals outscored Superior 29-12 in the fourth quarter, including 13-6 after the score was tied 65-65 with around four minutes remaining.

“We just couldn’t put them away,” SHS coach Jake Smith said. “Give them all the credit in the world, they played hard and forced the tempo in their favor. But I think part of that is that we’re very inexperienced, and guys are basically playing varsity basketball for the first time. Carter (Anderson) is the only kid with some varsity time last year, so all of these guys are learning how to play at this level.”

The Spartans bounced back from Tuesday’s defeat with an 80-34 win at Duluth Marshall Thursday night.

McKenzie Schwartz and Conner Gray led Superior with 14 points apiece.

During Tuesday’s game, the Spartans held eight-point leads in the first and second quarters before taking a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter.

“It’s only the third varsity game for our guys, so we’re just going to continue to get better and learn how to put teams away down the stretch,” Smith said. “When we get that lead we have to put our foot on their throat and really put them away.

“Against a team like Chippewa Falls, with all of those shooters, you can never count them out of the game. If they get hot they can come back in a hurry, and that’s what they did tonight.”

The Spartans had four players score in double figures, led by Nate Sanders with 17 points. Anderson added 13 points, followed by Jake Libal, 11; and Will Stream, 10.

Chippewa Falls got 17 points from Aaron Knez, 13 points from Jake Sperry and 12 from Nate Kalien.

Superior led 12-4 early in the first quarter before Chippewa Falls scored nine straight for a 13-12 lead. Two baskets by Devan Rivord gave Superior the lead back, 16-13, but Kalien’s 3-pointer tied the game at 16-16 after one quarter.

Seven points by Anderson and two by Sanders gave Superior a 25-18 lead to open the second quarter.

The Spartans’ lead eventually ballooned to 30-22 on a basket and free throw by Sanders, but once again the Cardinals rallied with nine straight points for a 31-30 lead with 2:33 left in the first half.

A John Curphy free throw tied the game, 31-31, and Superior took the lead back with a Sanders’ free throw. The Spartans eventually took a 40-37 into the locker room at the intermission.

The Cardinals went ahead 41-40 at the start of the third quarter. Superior later tied the game at 42-42 before Chippewa Falls opened up a four-point lead on back-to-back 3-pointers by Kalien.

The Spartans then got a spark from Stream, who came off the bench to score eight points, which included a pair of 3-point plays. The senior also drew an offensive foul to help Superior open up a 59-49 lead after three quarters.

“Will didn’t play in the first two quarters and I told him at the break to be ready for a run in the second half,” Smith said. “He really gave us the spark we needed. He’s an extremely hard worker, he never complains and when his number’s called he’s the type of guy that is going to give you everything he has when he’s in there.”

Unfortunately for the Spartans, Chippewa Falls gradually chipped away at their lead and eventually tied the game at 63-63.

The Cardinals finished the game with a Knez 3-pointer and six free throws, while all the Spartans were able to manage were baskets by Libal, Sanders and Jon Lindberg.

“We talked about how we wanted to finish: forget about the scoreboard, just play the way we play, let things come to us and continue to attack,” Chippewa Falls coach Luke Madsen said. “I thought we rebounded the ball very well late in the game and limited their second-chance shots. They got a lot of those kind of baskets early on, but we were able to limit them in the second half and then got some second-chance shots for ourselves.”

The Cardinals made eight 3-pointers and were just 26-of-46 from the free-throw line.

“We haven’t shot free throws well this year. We were fortunate that we did other things well to overcome that,” Madsen said. “It was a big win. This is a tough road trip and this is a hard place to win.

“This is also a group of kids that were 0-23 last year, so it’s meaningful to get wins.”

The Spartans, who played at Duluth Marshall Thursday, play Eau Claire Memorial in the Menomonie Tournament at 4:15 p.m. on Dec. 27.

SPARTAN SPIN: Superior’s JV got 17 points from Brett Lozon and 11 points from Brandon Myer in a 55-36 win. … The Spartans also won the freshman game 60-28.

Chippewa Falls 16 21 12 29 — 78

Superior 16 24 19 12 — 71

Chippewa Falls — Aaron Knez 17, Nate Kalien 12, Jake Sperry 13, Jacob Olson 6, Marcus Crumbaker 6, Conner Bowe 2, Justin Ignarski 6, Zach Meinholz 8, Nolan Johnson 1, Amos Mayberry 7. 22 26-46 78. 3-point baskets — Knez 2, Kalien 3, Sperry, Meinholz 2.

Superior — Jake Libal 11, John Curphy 4, Carter Anderson 13, Jon Lindberg 4, Nate Sanders 17, Will Stream 10, Devan Rivord 6, Connar Gray 6. 31 8-15 71.

3-point baskets — Anderson.

Thursday’s Game

Superior 48 32 — 80

Duluth Marshall 15 19 — 34

Superior — Jake Libal 8, John Curphy 9, Carter Anderson 7, Jon Lindberg 9, Nate Sanders 6, Matt O’Shaughnessy 2, McKenzie Schwartz 14, Will Stream 5, Devan Rivord 6, Connor Gray 14. Totals 28 20-29 80.

3-point baskets — Anderson, Schwartz 3.

Duluth Marshall — Jake Schenk 2, Charlie Kratz 3, Cole Brashaw 6, Cole Feriancek 9, Alex Davis 14. Totals 13 8-14 34.

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