Season ends too early for Spartan girls
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
The Superior High School girls basketball team is finished for the season, but head coach Phil Roe isn’t letting his players hang their heads.
“I told my team after the game that I was proud of them and their efforts this season; we hope to learn, reflect and build on this year,” Roe said. “We will be back next year.”
The Spartan girls ended their season with a 62-40 loss to the Marshfield Tigers Saturday in a WIAA Division 1 regional final game.
Superior trailed by two after one quarter and was down 26-25 at halftime before a third-quarter letdown allowed Marshfield to gain a double digit advantage.
The Tigers outscored Superior 19-7 in the third quarter. Superior was leading 23-20 in the second quarter when Jessica Lindstrom picked up her third foul and was sent to the bench. Marshfield then finished the second quarter on a 6-2 run and kept the momentum heading in the third quarter.
“Saturday was a rough day, after a week of four Spartan basketball girls out with the flu and Hailey (Kontny) almost breaking her thumb — severely spraining it — it seemed to all catch up with us in the third quarter,” Roe said. “Marshfield got on a little run and we had some shots roll in and out.”
Kontny, with 17 points, was the only Spartan to finish in double figures. All but five of her points came in the first half.
Darian Molter led Marshfield with 11 points, followed by Taylor Varsho with nine.
The Spartans also played Marshfield last year in the sectional semifinals and came away with a 44-31 victory. 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.
“I give credit to Marshfield’s players and coaching staff,” Roe said. “They have a great program, and their girls hit some huge 3-point shots 5 to 8 feet from behind the line.”
The Spartans opened the playoffs Friday with a home game against Wausau West.
The Superior girls showed some jitters Friday night, but a strong effort from Lindstrom helped the Spartans defeat Wausau West 55-45 in the regional semifinals.
“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,” Roe said. “She was 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 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.
SPARTAN SPIN: Playing their last game for Superior were seniors Raya Kosey, Dani Madgzas, Ally Gotelaere and Abby O’Shaughnessy. “I am sorry to see my four seniors go and that we couldn’t get them to state this year,” Roe said. “They are a great group of seniors who are going on to do bigger and better things in college. I know they learned something this year about work ethic, respect, character and resiliency which will help them in life.”
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.
Superior 13 12 7 9 — 40
Marshfield 15 11 19 17 — 62
Superior — Abby Clemons 6, Raya Kosey 2, Allison Wainionpaa 3, Ally Gotelaere 3, Jessica Lindstrom 7, Hailey Kontny, 17, Dani Magdzas 2.
Marshfield — Taylor Varsho 9, Tiffany Stargardt 4, Darian Molter 11, Sara Fuller 2, Leah Ripp 2, Courtney Bauer 6, Ellie Fehrenbach 6.