Spartans turn up the heat on No. 3 WarriorsWith temperatures outside hovering around 1 above Saturday night, the Superior High School boys basketball team heated things up inside the SHS gym with a 76-60 win over the Rice Lake Warriors.
With temperatures outside hovering around 1 above Saturday night, the Superior High School boys basketball team heated things up inside the SHS gym with a 76-60 win over the Rice Lake Warriors.
The Warriors entered the game ranked No. 3 among Division 2 schools in Wisconsin, but it was the Spartans who jumped out to an 11-0 lead and never looked back.
“I thought our defense gave them a ton of problems which resulted in us being able to get out and run on them,” SHS coach Dave Kontny said. “You could see it early that they were tired and we took advantage of our athleticism and speed and got some easy looks.
“I’m proud of our kids, they really came ready to play. We were everywhere on defense and our rotations tonight were outstanding.”
Superior went on to lead 23-16 after the first quarter, 41-27 at the half and 57-45 after three quarters.
Erick Tunell led the Spartans with 17 points, nine steals and eight assists. Nick Mehlum added 16 points, Ben Erickson had 15 points and six rebounds and Derek Kontny had 11 points.
Henry Ellenson, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, led Rice Lake with 30 points and 18 rebounds despite sitting out a stretch of about six minutes in the second half with four fouls.
“Henry’s a great player and it’s obvious why he is a big-time Division I player,” Kontny said. “We did a great job focusing on making the other guys make mistakes, and when we play with that kind of intensity we are a very good team.”
Superior (11-2) also got six points from Bryan Sanders, five points from Anthony Valentine, four from Jordan Hughes and two from Carter Anderson.
“You could just feel the energy in the gym tonight and our kids just fed off of it,” Kontny said. “We hurt them offensively with our balance, and all eight guys contributed with big baskets at different times. We also did a great job handling their pressure, forcing the tempo: and beating the No. 1 team in the Big Rivers Conference speaks for itself.
“I’m so proud of our kids, each one contributed on both ends of the court and as a coach when you see them playing for one another with so much emotion you know you’re doing something right. We can enjoy this one for a day or so but it’s back to work to get ready for East on Tuesday.”
The game with East was postponed because of cold weather. That game will now be played at 7:45 p.m. on Jan. 31 at Duluth East.
The Spartans play next at Ashland at 7:15 p.m. Friday and at Chippewa Falls at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 29.
SPARTAN SPIN: The SHS JV fell to 11-2 with a 61-53 loss to Rice Lake’s JV. The Spartans were led by Nate Sanders’ 16 points. John Lindberg added nine points and Jake Libal had eight. … The Superior freshmen improved to 11-0 with a 51-30 win.
Rice Lake 16-11-18-15—60
Rice Lake—Ben Widdes 3, Adam West 5, Shawn Magee 2, Henry Ellenson 30, Brandyn Christman 7, Ellwood Ellenson 10, Austin Angel 3.
3-pointer: Widdes, West, H. Ellenson, Christman.
Superior—Ben Erickson 15; Jordan Hughes 4; Carter Anderson 2; Nick Melhum 16; Derek Kontny 11; Bryan Sanders 6; Erick Tunell 17; Anthony Valentine 5.
3-pointers: Tunell 2; Kontny 2.