Lindstrom claims one milestone, sets sights on nextTuesday night in Duluth, the junior became the third girls basketball player from Superior High School to score at least 1,000 career points. She joins her sister, Lindsey Lindstrom, and Sarah Mattson in the elite ranks of 1,000-point scorers.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
The countdown is over for Jessica Lindstrom … for now.
Tuesday night in Duluth, the junior became the third girls basketball player from Superior High School to score at least 1,000 career points. She joins her sister, Lindsey Lindstrom, and Sarah Mattson in the elite ranks of 1,000-point scorers.
“I was shaky in the beginning,” Jessica Lindstrom said. “I was very nervous; the pressure was on.”
Lindstrom took about 33 minutes to score the 24 points she needed to reach the milestone.
Rachal Fregin made the pass that set up the breakthrough shot late in the second half when she found Lindstrom on the right baseline with a bounce pass. Lindstrom then dribbled into the lane and spun around a defender for a layup.
When the ball rolled in, play stopped and Lindstrom’s teammates swarmed her.
“That’s a moment I’ll never forget,” Lindstrom said.
Lindstrom is averaging 19.4 points per game this season, but for part of the game Tuesday night it seemed the Denfeld Hunters might hold her below that figure.
“You could tell Denfeld was trying everything they could for her not to get the 24 (points),” said SHS coach Phil Roe. “So Jessica had to earn that, and our girls were making extra passes and trying to get it to Jessica. It ended up just being a really special moment for the team.”
Lindstrom led Superior with 10 points in the first half, but her chances of reaching 1,000 points dimmed in the second half when Denfeld stepped up its pressure. She faced double coverage every time she stepped into the lane and at one point was knocked to the floor when two defenders flailed for the ball.
“I got tackled by like three girls at one point,” Lindstrom said. She came out of the game immediately afterward, and Roe told her the 1,000-point mark might have to wait.
“He said it wasn’t worth the risk of getting hurt,” Lindstrom said. “It was unreal. It really was like football.”
Lindstrom remained on the bench for a few minutes but eventually re-entered the game. From that point on, her teammates went out of their way to get her the ball at every opportunity.
“I wouldn’t have earned my 1,000th point if it wasn’t for them,” Lindstrom said. “They gave me the best passes, and they’d look for me on the floor.”
After Superior’s 61-38 victory, Lindstrom posed for photos and gave her father, Mitch, a big hug on the sidelines. She was also stunned to learn her grandmother had attended the game.
“My grandma was a surprise,” Lindstrom said. “She lives in Maryland and Florida almost year-round, so I didn’t even know she was there. I almost cried.”
Later that night Lindstrom heard from her older sister, Lindsey.
“She texted me and called me to say congratulations,” Jessica Lindstrom said. “Actually one of the first things she said was, ‘You’re going to beat me. Congrats.’”
Lindsey Lindstrom was the last Spartan girl to score 1,000 career points. She also holds the all-time girls scoring record, which is next in Jessica’s sights.
“That’s my main goal,” Jessica Lindstrom said. “It sounds like a bad goal, but it’s a little rivalry.”
Lindstrom is likely to break her sister’s scoring record by the end of this season. Junior guard Hailey Kontny, meanwhile, is poised to become the fourth member of the 1,000-point club. She needs 213 more points to reach 1,000.
With Lindstrom’s 1,000-point milestone now behind them, the Spartans have shifted their focus to the challenging string of opponents they’ll face in the next week and a half.
Superior begins today with a showdown in Chippewa Falls. The Spartans then travel to Rice Lake for a holiday tournament Dec. 27-28. Superior plays Wausau West Dec. 27 and D.C. Everest Dec. 28.
“The main thing is playing our game the way we want to play,” Roe said. “It’s not anything new that we have to adjust, it’s doing the things that we do well.”
Chippewa Falls has been an especially difficult opponent for Superior.
The Cardinals hold a winning streak that stretches back beyond memory and last year dealt the Spartans a heartbreaking 48-47 loss.
Superior enters today’s game with a perfect 5-0 record, while Chippewa Falls sits at 5-1.
“I don’t remember the last time Superior High School has ever beat Chippewa Falls,” Lindstrom said. “I think it is a great challenge. We’re ready for it.”
The last time Lindstrom and the other five juniors on the team defeated the Cardinals was 2010. The girls were eighth-graders then and defeated Chippewa Falls in the semifinal game of the Wisconsin Eighth-Grade Division 1 state tournament.
The traveling team went on to win the state title and finished with a 51-2 record, but the two losses Superior suffered are noteworthy. Both came to Chippewa Falls.
“It is a mental thing, I really think it is,” Lindstrom said. “We ended up beating them in eighth grade when it mattered at the state tournament, but it always feels like every time we play them we have a different mindset — a little scared.”
“We definitely need everyone to give 100 percent,” Roe said. “Our theme this week has been sacrifice and what our girls are willing to sacrifice; maybe making that extra pass or taking a charge in a game or playing through some fatigue when they’re tired. I know all our girls are on board for that, and they’re really excited to play Chippewa Falls.”
SPARTAN SPIN: Before the game Roe met with the referees and the Denfeld coaches to tell them Lindstrom was close to passing the 1,000-point mark. He asked if the game could be halted when she reached the milestone, and the teams began play with one of Superior’s basketballs. When Lindstrom hit 1,000 points, she kept the ball and the game continued with one of Denfeld’s basketballs. “I didn’t know everyone knew until after,” Lindstrom said. “If I would have known that before I would have been even more nervous to let people down.” … Lindsey Lindstrom scored her 1,000th point on Dec. 15, 2006 against the Proctor Rails. “It was here (at SHS) and she got the ball that says ‘Lindsey Lindstrom: 1,000 points.’ I remember that distinctly,” Jessica Lindstrom said.