Player of the Year: Superior's Lindstrom on the riseHIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL: Jessica Lindstrom dominated the opposition this season for the Lake Superior Conference-champion Spartans to earn the 2012 News Tribune All-Area Player of the Year award.
By: Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune
Two seasons of varsity basketball have proved invaluable and the upcoming AAU circuit should be equally helpful, but perhaps Jessica Lindstrom won’t find out how much her basketball game has improved until matching up against her older sister on the family driveway this summer.
Lindsey Lindstrom graduates from Michigan Tech this spring after four years of playing basketball at the Division II college and then the 22-year-old will return home to Superior. Once there, she’ll find her 16-year-old sister waiting to play 1-on-1 and games of H-O-R-S-E.
“We’re going to play 1-on-1 and I’m going to challenge her and give her what I’ve got,” Lindsey Lindstrom said from Houghton, Mich. “I’m sure she’s going to do that, too.”
Jessica said she derives motivation from playing against her sister.
“She’s definitely a better shooter and has a lot more experience than me,” she said. “But that will be the day, when I beat her 1-on-1 and in H-O-R-S-E.”
The 6-foot sophomore forward dominated the opposition this season, averaging 19 points and 11.4 rebounds a game for the Lake Superior Conference champions and earning the 2012 News Tribune All-Area Player of the Year award.
“She had a great individual season,” Superior coach Phil Roe said. “She averaged a double-double, which speaks for itself.”
Included among Lindstrom’s highlights was a 27-point, 23-rebound game in a Division 1 playoff victory over Wausau West. That was just one of her multiple 20-rebound games for the Spartans (16-7).
“All my power and anger goes toward rebounding,” Lindstrom said. “Those (20-rebound performances) were the games I was a little mad beforehand.”
Senior guard Raya Kosey said Lindstrom’s confidence level rose considerably since her freshman season — she was an All-Area first-team selection in 2011 as well — and it’s most telling on the boards.
“She’s not afraid to get hurt,” Kosey said. “When she’s going up for a board, she’s going to get after it no matter if she gets a concussion. She’s willing to put her body on the line for our team.”
Roe says Lindstrom’s biggest improvement came inside the lane, despite playing against double-teams, zones and even triangle-and-two defenses designed to stop her.
“What set her apart are her quick feet,” the first-year coach said. “A lot of girls might have post moves and be able to rebound and block shots, but Jessica has the quickest feet of any inside player that I’ve worked with.”
Division I schools are showing interest in her — Marquette University and Wisconsin-Green Bay among them, Roe said.
“The sky is the limit for her,” he said.
College scouts will be able to watch her more this offseason when she plays for Team Wisconsin in Amateur Athletic Union tournaments.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking knowing there’s college scouts out there every time you play,” Lindstrom said. “But my parents always tell me, ‘Just play your game and don’t even think about it.’ During the regular season I liked it when my coaches didn’t even tell me if there were college scouts out there.”
Lindsey Lindstrom is excited to see what awaits her sister outside the family home.
“Whenever I see her, she’s improved every level of her game,” she said. “I want to make her the best player she can be. She has so much potential, even more than what she showed this year. She’s going to be hard to stop by the time she’s a senior.”