SHS girls hold off ECNWhen the Superior High School girls basketball team faced off with the Eau Claire Huskies last season, Jessica Lindstrom and Hailey Kontny accounted for 75 percent of the Spartans’ scoring.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
When the Superior High School girls basketball team faced off with the Eau Claire Huskies last season, Jessica Lindstrom and Hailey Kontny accounted for 75 percent of the Spartans’ scoring.
The juniors combined score 50 points in that game and led Superior to its first victory over ECN since 1995.
This year Lindstrom and Kontny took the lead again for the Spartans, scoring a combined 47 points to give Superior a 63-59 victory over ECN Tuesday.
“Obviously Jessica and Hailey are the leaders of this team, and I think they definitely gave 100 percent,” said Phil Roe, head coach of the Spartans. “If you saw Hailey, she hit the floor more times than any kid I’ve ever coached. She was all over sacrificing for her team, and all she wants to do is win.
“And Jessica the same thing. She’s been actually battling a head cold and the flu. She couldn’t even practice yesterday, so she was about 75 percent health-wise and she battled through some of the toughest players in the Big Rivers Conference.”
Despite the dominance of Kontny and Lindstrom last year, the Huskies chose to play straight man Tuesday night in Superior.
“We obviously know that there isn’t anybody on this Superior team that we can treat as a non-factor, so we really just challenged anybody who was guarding Lindstrom or Kontny to do their job,” said Michelle Peplinski, ECN head coach. “We knew we couldn’t pull people off and do any specialty things or trick defenses because of we have to respect the fact that they can hit shots from the outside from any of their players.”
Lindstrom took advantage of the one-on-one matchup in the first quarter by scoring the first eight points of the game for Superior. Two baskets came on inside lobs and the others resulted from offensive rebounds.
The Huskies kept pace with Superior by running the court and finishing in the paint. Eau Claire scored eight of its first 10 points on layups, two of which came in transition.
ECN took its largest lead of the game at 1:25 in the first quarter when Alaina Quaranta banked in a shot to make it 12-9 in favor of the Huskies. Lindstrom cut the lead to one with a put-back on the next play, and then gave Superior the lead at the buzzer on a one-handed shot from the far end of the court. The ball bounced off the backboard and rattled in to give Superior a 14-12 lead.
“Once I saw it I said, there’s a YouTube moment,” Roe said. “The girls were all pumped up.”
Superior carried its momentum into the second quarter, going up by seven points with a 7-2 run in the first three minutes. ECN answered with a 9-2 run over the next three minutes to tie the game at 23-23.
Lindstrom gave the Spartans back the lead with a free throw at 1:20, and Hailey Kontny added to the lead with a pair of free throws to end the second quarter.
The lead changed six times in the third quarter, and the score was tied twice, including at 40-40 with 1:15 left. Superior’s Alison Wainionpaa put the Spartans in front with a free throw, and she and Abby Clemons the closed out the quarter with a pair of baskets inside.
Superior never surrendered its lead in the fourth quarter, but Jasmyne Hazelton kept the Huskies close with four 3-pointers.
“I’m so proud of this team right now,” Peplinski said. “I told them during one of the timeouts towards the end of the game that, win or lose, we’re coming out of here a winner. Our whole goal is to be in a position that we’re ready to make a run in the tournament later in the year.
“This was on our schedule as a checkpoint for us. We needed to see how we responded to an excellent Superior team to know where we wanted to go for the future.”
Superior is also looking at the game in light of its playoff implications.
The Huskies knocked Superior out of the playoffs two years ago in the sectional finals. Eau Claire North went on win its super sectional game and advance to the state tournament that year.
This year, Roe has a feeling the Huskies and Spartans may face off again for a shot at state.
“This was our first big test,” Roe said. “My girls were definitely nervous playing their first big game, but what it tells me is I have 10 players who are mentally tough, and what this does is gives us confidence for the future.”
Superior 14 14 17 18 — 63
ECN 12 11 17 19 — 59
Superior — Jessica Lindstrom 25, Hailey Kontny 23, Alison Wainionpaa 9, Alyssa Correll 4, Abby Clemons 2.
3-point goals — Lindstrom, Kontny.
ECN — Jasmyne Hazelton 20, Alaina Quaranta 15, Cayci Wathke 12, Crystal Bethke 7, Kayonna Lee 4, Briquelle Neyens 1.
3-point goals — Hazelton 4, Bethke.