Spartan boys shut down taller LumberjacksRelentless defense and sharp shooting from the perimeter helped the Superior High School boys basketball team to a 67-35 victory over the Cloquet Lumberjacks Thursday night in Superior.
Relentless defense and sharp shooting from the perimeter helped the Superior High School boys basketball team to a 67-35 victory over the Cloquet Lumberjacks Thursday night in Superior.
The Spartans improve to 9-2 overall and 5-0 in the Lake Superior Conference, while Cloquet falls to 5-6 and 2-2.
Defense was key for the Spartans as they contended with the taller Lumberjacks, including 6-foot-8 senior Aaron Johnson and 6-foot-7 junior Adam Laine. Superior hounded Cloquet’s ball handlers to prevent the lob inside and managed to hold Johnson and Laine to 14 and 13 point, respectively.
The Spartans limited Cloquet to 16 points in the first half, six coming at the free-throw line, and 19 points in the second half.
“This was a big win for us — it was a four-point conference game,” SHS coach Dave Kontny said. “We were very concerned about stopping Laine and Johnsonm but I thought our kids played extremely hard and our game plan going in was right on the money.
“I thought our pressure made things difficult for them defensively and I give our kids credit. Their rotations in the zone were percise and fast, and that’s exactly what we talked about and worked on to prepare for their size. Offensively we got off to a good start and our adjustments at halftime really took their toll on Cloquet’s weaknesses.”
Superior also benefited from hot shooting to start the game. Derek Kontny led off a barrage of 3-pointers with a shot from the top of the arc a few minutes into play. Erick Tunell added another 3-pointer on the next possession, and Kontny’s second 3-pointer followed to give Superior a 9-0 lead.
A dunk from Johnson put Cloquet on the board, but Superior’s streak at the arc continued. Five of Superior’s first six field goals are 3-pointers.
Ben Erickson and Nick Melhum pushed Superior’s lead to 21-7 on a pair of inside shots, and Tunell’s floating layup made it 23-7.
At halftime, Superior led 28-16. The Spartans added 39 more points in the second half as nine different players scored for Superior.
For the night, Superior was 8-of-11 from the free-throw line and Cloquet was 11-of-15.
Tunell led the Spartans with 20 points and Kontny added 16, which included three 3-pointers.
Superior hosts Minneapolis Southwest at 3 p.m. Saturday.
SPARTAN SPIN: the SHS junior varsity improved to 10-1 with a 48-36 win. John Lindberg led the way with 11 points, Matt O’Sshaughnessy and Devan Rivord added eight apiece. … The Spartan freshman team won 49-17 to improve to 9-0 and run the freshmen win streak to 30-0. “Our freshman coach, Rick Raymond, does a great job,” Kontny said. “He’s a fundamentally excellent coach who makes sure that every kid is improving throughout the year while balancing playing time and instilling strategies that win games.”
Cloquet 16 19 — 35
Superior 28 39 — 67
Cloquet — Aaron Johnson 14, Adam Laine 13, Zach Gerlach 4, Tim Paczynski 2, Victor Foxx 2.
3-point goals — None. Free throws — 11-of/14.
Superior — Erick Tunell 20, Derek Kontny 16, Nick Melhum 8, Ben Erickson 5, Carter Anderson 6, Anthony Valentine 5, Jordan Hughes 4, Bryan Sanders 4, Mathew O’Shaughnessy 2.
3-point goals — Kontny 3, Tunell 2. Free throws — 8-of-11.