Spartan girls head to regional finalThe Superior High School girls basketball team defeated Wausau West 55-45 Friday night in Superior. The Spartan girls now advance to the regional final game against the Marshfield Tigers. The game will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday in Marshfield and will be carried live on ifan.tv.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
The Superior High School girls basketball team showed some jitters Friday night, but a strong effort from sophomore Jessica Lindstrom helped the Spartans defeat Wausau West 55-45 in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal game.
Superior now advances to play the Marshfield Tigers the regional finals. The game will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday in Marshfield and will be carried live on the intenet by ifan.tv.
“We had some trouble at the beginning of the game, but we pulled through,” Lindstrom said. “Our coach pumped us up at halftime and told us what to do; and we did what we had to do.”
Lindstrom finished Friday’s game with 27 points and 20 rebounds, many coming on the offensive glass.
“Jessica came to battle tonight,” said Phil Roe, head coach of the Spartans. “She was actually sick with the flu, and I think she played her best game of the season. Twenty-seven points and 20 rebounds — that stat line speaks for itself.”
Superior had trouble finding its rhythm to start the game and slipped into a 6-2 hole three minutes into play. Wausau West maintained its four-point lead on Anna Brown’s transition layup, 8-4, but Superior’s sophomore duo of Hailey Kontny and Lindstrom then combined to score seven unanswered points.
Kontny cut the lead to two with an offensive rebound and put-back at 3:44, and Lindstrom gave Superior the lead on the next possession with a three-point play. A fast-break layup from Kontny made it 11-8, and the Spartans held on to a 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Abby Clemons gave Superior a 16-11 lead when she knocked down a 3-pointer to begin the second quarter, but the Warriors clawed back to a 17-17 tie at 5:10 behind strong play from Jasmin Samz and Anna Brown, who came up with multiple steals to rally their team.
The Spartans had only one field goal in the first six minutes of the second quarter, but strong rebounding eventually turned the game in Superior’s favor.
Raya Kosey put Superior back in front with a pair of free throws, and Lindstrom scored the next four points on offensive rebounds to give the Spartans a 23-17 lead. Superior led 27-22 at halftime.
“This is the biggest crowd at home they’ve had all year,” Roe said when asked about Superior’s slow start. “I think it was just some playoff jitters.
“Once we made some adjustments on defense and really packed in our zone and didn’t let them drive in the lane, especially in the second half, Wausau West didn’t really have an answer for that.”
The Warriors opened the second half with an inside shot to cut the lead to three, but they struggled to keep Lindstrom off the offensive boards and fouled the sophomore twice inside for back-to-back three-point plays.
A layup from Lindstrom made it 35-26, and Kallyn Lagro took a pass on the left block from Kontny to push Superior’ lead to 11. Clemons then gave the Spartans their largest lead of the night when she cut inside and took a pass from Lindstrom for a 39-26 advantage.
Wausau West managed to make it a seven-point game by the end of the third quarter, but the Warriors got no closer in the final eight minutes of play.
Lindstrom’s 27 points led all players. Hailey Kontny finished with eight points, and Kosey went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line to add six. Clemmons had five points for Supeiror, Ally Gotelaere and Lagro had four apiece and Alison Wainionpaa added a free throw.
Caity Coleman had a trio of 3-pointer and finished with 15 points to lead Wausau West. Brown and Samz also finished in double figures with 10 points each.
Superior (16-6) will face the No. 2-seeded Marshfield Tigers (18-5) at 8 p.m. Saturday. Marshfield defeated Eau Claire Memorial 60-32 Friday night to advance.
The Spartans played Marshfield last year in the sectional semifinals and came away with a 44-31 victory.
Taylor Varsho, the Tigers’ leading scorer, had to sit out last year’s playoff game due to a torn ACL. She is averaging about 20 points per game for the Tigers this season.
Superior 13 14 18 10 — 55
Wausau West 11 11 16 7 — 45
Superior — Jessica Lindstrom 27, Hailey Kontny 8, Raya Kosey 6, Abby Clemons 5, Ally Gotelaere 4, Kallyn Lagro 4, Alison Wainionpaa 1.
3-point goals — Clemons.
Wausau West — Caity Coleman 15, Anna Brown 10, Jasmin Samz 10, Sara Hillery 4, Katy Cihlar 2, Carly Coleman 2, Kirstin Falk 2.
3-point goals — Caity Coleman 3, Hillery.