Senior-led Spartans down Hurricanes
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
A dose of senior leadership helped the Superior High School girls basketball team to a 50-34 victory over the Hayward Hurricanes Monday night in Superior.
The Spartans held Hayward to 11 points in the first half and maintained a double-digit lead throughout the second half.
Superior’s four seniors — Raya Kosey, Ally Gotelaere, Dani Magdzas and Abby O’Shaughnessy — were front and center in their final home game of the regular season.
“I started the four seniors and they came out and got the lead right away,” said Phil Roe, SHS head coach. “All four of them played really well. I think that set the tone and the energy for the entire team.”
Hayward won the tip to begin Monday’s game, but Magdzas was quick to snatch up the defensive rebound on the miss. O’Shaughnessy then made a clean pass to Abby Clemons in the lane for the assist and a 2-0 lead.
Gotelaere kept things going for the Spartans with a steal, and moments later she set up beyond the arc on the left side and drained the shot to make it 5-0 Superior.
Hayward’s Arien Becker and Caitlyn Beckman each scored to make it a one-point game, and with 3:07 left in the first quarter Superior still led by just one point, 9-8.
Superior’s two sophomores, Jessica Lindstrom and Hailey Kontny, then closed out the quarter by scoring nine unanswered points. Lindstrom started with a 3-pointer and shot inside, and Kontny made two layups in the last minute, both on passes from Kosey.
The Spartans built a comfortable lead in the second quarter behind strong ball pressure from Kosey as Hayward was held to a single field goal. The Hurricanes never got closer than 11 points from that point forward, and the four upperclassmen were able to finish senior night with a win.
“They’re four special seniors; they’re really the heart of the team,” Roe said. “All four of them are great student-athletes going on to college and doing bigger and better things next year, so this was exciting for them to get the win in their last regular season home game.”
It was also a big win for the Spartans, who had endured a rough stretch leading up to Mondays’ game.
Superior lost three straight before playing Hayward, falling to Duluth East, Chippewa Falls and DeLaSalle (Minn.). The Spartans fell to Duluth East by two points and Chippewa Falls by one point before going up against DeLaSalle, ranked No. 1 among Minnesota’s 3A teams. Superior struggled in the first half but came back to make it a six-point game in the third quarter before the Islanders pulled away.
Despite the losses, Roe was happy with the way this year’s schedule was set up, pitting the Spartans against their strongest opponents in one spurt at the end of the season.
“Ray (Kosey) did a nice job getting it set up so we go into the playoffs playing the tougher teams, and that’s something I thought was really important,” Roe said. “Even if we had a few tough losses, I think you learn as a coach what you need to work on, and players know what they need to work on against better teams.
“Our girls are exactly where we want to be at the end of the season. I think we’re rolling and playing some of our best basketball of the year.”
Superior will open the WIAA Division 1 playoffs Mar. 9 with a home game against Wausau West.
Superior’s final game of the regular season is Friday at Ashland. The Spartans have already clinched at least a share of the Lake Superior Conference title, but Roe said they still have plenty to play for.
“Our first goal of the season was to win the conference, and we’ve done that, but we don’t want to share it,” Roe said. “Friday if we lose then we have to share it with Ashland as co-champs, so that’s going to be a big game against another good team.”
Superior 18 8 11 13 — 50
Hayward 8 3 8 15 — 34
Superior — Jessica Lindstrom 15, Hailey Kontny 14, Abby Clemons 6, Ally Gotelaere 5, Raya Kosey 4, Alison Wainionpaa 2, Abby O’Shaughnessy 2, Leah Holmes 2.
3-point goals — Lindstrom 2, Kontny, Gotelaere.
Hayward — Arien Becker 15, Caitlyn Beckman 6, Ricki Lee 5, Morganne Swan 4, Faith Nadelhoffer 3, Julie Danielson 1.
3-point goals — Nadelhoffer.
DeLaSalle 22 19 17 21 — 79
Superior 9 20 13 7 — 49
DeLaSalle — Tyseanna Johnson 36, Allina Starr 22, Olivia Gooley 5, Natalie Eull 5, Samantha Dornsbach 4, Mia Loyd 3, Cori Garner 3, Claire Thomas 1.
3-point goals — Johnson 3, Starr, Gooley.
Superior — Jessica Lindstrom 22, Raya Kosey 9, Alison Wainionpaa 5, Ally Gotelaere 4, Dani Magdzas 2, Leah Holmes 2, Abby Clemons 2, Kallyn Lagro 2, Hailey Kontny 1.
3-point goals — Lindstrom.