Superior’s Lindstrom had opponents seeing doublePulling off double-double while constantly being double-teamed helped sophomore nab Telegram Player of the Year honors
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
From the start of her sophomore season, Superior High School basketball player Jessica Lindstrom had a target on her back and a player in her face.
Lindstrom, a 6-foot-1 post player who can also knock down 3-pointers, was yanked from anonymity and thrust into the spotlight this season after averaging a double-double in points and rebounds in her first season with the Spartans. When teams faced Superior this year, they came prepared with a plan to stop Lindstrom.
“Some teams would put one girl on me, and the girl wouldn’t even look where the ball was; she’d just stare at me,” Lindstrom said. “But I knew it was going to happen. Coach Roe told me that’s what it was going to be like, and they would double team me and Hailey (Kontny) at some points. It was hectic, but you have to push through that.”
Despite opponents’ efforts to shut her down, Lindstrom remained dominant in the paint. She finished the 2011-12 season averaging 19 points and 11.4 rebounds per game for Superior.
“It is pretty unique to have a 10th-grader average a double-double in high school basketball,” said Phil Roe, head coach of the Spartans. “Jessica had a tremendous year, leading my team in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots.”
Lindstrom also finished second on the team in steals (37) and assists (28) and had more than 20 blocks for the season. She was honorable mention for this year’s Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association All-State Division 1 team and was named to the Lake Superior Conference All-Conference first team for the second straight year.
A knack for rebounding
Lindstrom’s ability to snatch up rebounds was uncanny this year. The sophomore used her speed and height to get position and timed her jump just right to get a hand on the ball.
“Jessica has an amazing combination of jumping ability, vertical speed and a knack for timing to get the basketball when it comes to rebounding,” Roe said. “She had a few 20-plus rebound games, which is incredible.”
Lindstrom said she doesn’t work on any specific rebounding drills in practice, but rebounding has been something she’s prided herself on since she first learned the game of basketball.
“My dad mainly taught me,” Lindstrom said. “He always would just do drills from the backboard, and I’d jump up and get the ball.
“It’s hard to explain. I just know when to go up in the air, how to time it right and when to squeeze around people that are blocking me out.”
Countdown to 1,000
Lindstrom’s 438 points this year put her on track to reach 1,000 career points in the near future.
The last Spartan girl to pass the 1,000-point milestone was Lindsey Lindstrom, Jessica’s older sister who just completed her senior year playing basketball at Michigan Tech. Lindsey scored her 1,000th point in 2007 during her senior year at SHS.
“I have talked to her about that,” Jessica Lindstrom said. “I always told her that I wanted to beat her — just sibling rivalry — and she’s like, ‘I’m sure you will.’ She didn’t even put up a defense.
“She’s really proud of me, though; she always says that to me.”
Lindstrom said her sister is someone she can talk to all the time, and she appreciates the advice and support of her older sibling. The sophomore also said she’d be thrilled if her older sister could be in attendance when she crosses the 1,000-point threshold.
Lindstrom currently has 884 career points. If she maintains her scoring average from the past two years, she would hit the 1,000-point mark seven games into the 2012-13 season.
The next step
The Spartans had some memorable moments this season. They defeated Eau Claire North for the first time since 1995 and claimed the LSC title for only the fourth time in school history.
The Superior girls also advanced to the WIAA Division 1 regional finals, but for Lindstrom and her teammates that isn’t enough.
“We all obviously wish we could have gone farther,” Lindstrom said. “Everything we’ve worked on just wasn’t there, and that can’t happen with good teams.
“We have things to work on, and next year hopefully we will get farther than we did this year.”
Lindstrom said she spent the previous offseason working on her shooting, and she intends to do more work this summer. She hopes to improve her speed and agility and become more consistent with her shots.
“Jessica is the type of player that gets done with practice and wants to stay 20 minutes extra to work on her inside/outside shooting, or to condition more; that is something you don’t always see in younger players,” Roe said. “I look forward to seeing Jessica improve her game this offseason, and I can’t wait until next season to see her lead this team and take the program to new heights.”