Superior boys lose game, O’Neill and Ritchie to injuriesThe Rice Lake Warriors outscored the Superior High School boys basketball team 16-9 in the fourth quarter to hand the Spartans a 69-61 defeat Tuesday night in Rice Lake.
The Rice Lake Warriors outscored the Superior High School boys basketball team 16-9 in the fourth quarter to hand the Spartans a 69-61 defeat Tuesday night in Rice Lake.
The loss was just the third for the Spartans, now 16-3 on the season.
“It was a good game, our kids played hard,” SHS coach Dave Kontny said. “Alex Culy had a big first half for Rice Lake with 17 points (including five 3-pointers). He made some tough shots and we left him wide open a couple of times, which really hurt. But we were still in good position at the end of three quarters down 53-52.”
Rice Lake shot 11 free throws in the deciding fourth quarter and Superior only got to the line eight times all game.
“Any time the other team makes more free throws than you attempted in a game you are in trouble and that’s what happened,” Kontny said.
Superior led 23-15 after one quarter and the game was tied 37-37 at the half. Each team scored 15 points in the third quarter before Rice Lake pulled away in the fourth.
“In the fourth quarter we just couldn’t get a ball to go in, we had good looks but that’s the way it goes,” Kontny said. “We did a much better job in the second half giving Culy only three points, but Andrew Lochmann and their other two guards, Derek West and Tim Hovde, combined for 23 points and 13 of their 16 points in the fourth quarter.”
Joe Reichert led Superior with 14 points, including three 3-pointers. Dustin Ritchie added 12 points before re-injuring an ankle. Garrett Wessberg also had 12 points, Jesse Coville had 10, Keegan O’Neill five and Joel Lindberg and Ryan Radzak had four apiece.
“Wessberg played very well for us again in the post,” Konty said. “Our offense sputtered in the second half, but Ritchie kept us in it with seven points in the third quarter.”
O’Neill also left the game in the fourth quarter with an injured finger on his shooting hand.
“I am very concerned about Ritchie’s ankle and O’Neill’s finger,” Kontny said. “Hopefully they’ll both will be OK for Friday, but we won’t know until they see the trainer.
“This is a bad time of the year to have injuries with the tournament right around the corner.”
Culy led the Warriors with 20 points, Lochmann had 10, West 13 and Hovde 10. Rice Lake was also 14-of-21 from the free-throw line.
“You can’t give any team 69 points and expect to win, that’s just way too many points defensively,” Kontny said. “I am a bit disappointed with that, but not our effort, we played extremely hard all night long.
“Rice Lake has a nice team. This loss is not a bad thing, it just lets us know we need to continue to get better in certain areas.
“There is no time to think about this one. We have to start preparing for Central on Friday and Menomonie next Tuesday.”
The Spartans wrap up the regular season when they host Duluth Central at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Superior was also given the No. 3 seed in the upcoming WIAA playoffs and will host No. 6 Menomonie at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The winner will play the winner of the Eau Claire Memorial-Chippewa Falls game on Feb. 23.