The Eau Claire North boys basketball team traveled to Superior Tuesday night as the underdog.
With only two wins on the season, the Huskies were not favored to advance out of the first round of the playoffs. Add to that the fact that Superior defeated ECN 57-22 when the two teams met earlier this season, and few gave the Huskies a chance.
ECN wouldn’t be intimidated, though, and walked away with the 50-42 upset victory.
“Give North credit, they came believing they could win after winning their last two games, and when they shot the lights out early and we got in a big hole,” said Dave Kontny, SHS head coach. “We never got in any kind of rhythm the whole game. If you look at the stats we both had the same amount of baskets, both 2’s and 3’s, but they shot a lot more FT than us and that’s the difference.”
The Huskies opened Tuesday’s game with eight unanswered points, scoring on its first three possessions. Sophomore Danny Kron provided all eight points with a layup and pair of 3-pointers, and Josh Weix gave ECN an 11-2 lead on yet another 3-point shot for the Huskies.
By the end of the first quarter ECN led 15-7, and the Huskies matched Superior point for point in the second quarter to lead 24-15 at halftime.
The momentum swung to Superior in the third quarter as strong defense forced the Huskies into turnovers. Erick Tunell’s 3-pointer at about the three-minute mark made it 31-25, and a layup from Tunell cut the lead to 31-27. Jordan Hughes brought it back to a one possession game, 33-30, with a 3-pointer, but the Spartans weren’t able to overtake ECN.
Superior trailed by two and three points in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, but the Huskies then began to pull away with baskets by Adam Faanes and Weix to make it 44-37. The Spartans were hurt further by a technical foul that allowed ECN to go up 48-39 with 1:56 to play.
The Huskies controlled the clock for the final two minutes of play and made 8-of-12 free throws in the fourth quarter to hold on for the 50-42 win.
“Our kids battled though and played hard,” Kontny said. “I thought defensively we had a lot of breakdowns early and missed some good looks throughout the game, and that just fueled North.
“The first time we played them they couldn’t make a shot and the momentum went to us. Tonight they shot well, and even when they turned it over we just couldn’t answer.”
Tunell led Superior with 16 points, followed by Derek Kontny with nine and Hughes with five. Nick Melhum and Ben Erickson both added two points apiece.
“I am proud of our kids; we were young and very inexperienced this season and we came a long way,” Kontny said. “With our schedule, to finish above .500 and second in the conference is a tribute to our kids. They worked hard all year and they learned more valuable lessons about life than just winning basketball games.”
Eau Claire North 15 9 10 16 — 50
Superior 7 8 15 12 — 42
Eau Claire North — Josh Weix 19, Danny Kron 10, Alex Heacox 9, Anthony Miloszewicz 7, Adam Faanes 5.
3-point goals — Kron 2, Faanes, Weix.
Superior — Erick Tunell 16, Derek Kontny 9, Cody Hunt 8, Jordan Hughes 5, Nick Melhum 2, Ben Erickson 2.
3-point goals — Kontny 2, Tunell, Hughes.