SHS boys improve to 15-2In the past three games, Superior has had four different players score in double figures. Erick Tunell led the Spartans Thursday against Duluth East, Derek Kontny was the leading scorer Saturday against Menomonie, and Tunell led Superior again Tuesday against Duluth Denfeld, followed closely by Jordan Hughes.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
Who will be the leading scorer tonight?
It’s a question that’s left opponents scratching their heads this season when they face the Superior High School boys basketball team.
In the past three games, Superior has had four different players score in double figures. Erick Tunell led the Spartans Thursday against Duluth East, Derek Kontny was the leading scorer Saturday against Menomonie, and Tunell led Superior again Tuesday against Duluth Denfeld, followed closely by Jordan Hughes.
All three games ended in victories for the Spartans, who are now 15-2 overall and hold an eight-game winning streak.
“They don’t know who to guard,” said Kontny, one of six seniors on the team. “They can’t converge on one guy.”
Superior’s balanced offense has been its greatest asset this season. The Spartans routinely have eight players in the scoring column, and any one of them can lead the team in scoring.
“I’ve been saying it all season and I’ll say it again: It’s a hard team to guard because on any night, we have eight kids that can score between 10 and 20 points,” said Dave Kontny, head coach of the Spartans. “That’s what makes us a real good team.”
Kontny used his son Derek as an example. Against Duluth East on Thursday, the senior scored just two points in Superior’s 60-58 victory. Two days later against Menomonie, he scored nine points in the first quarter and finished with a game-high 22 points.
“I think we all play unselfishly, and we’re really deep,” said Derek Kontny. “Any given player can be a scorer on any given night.”
Against Duluth Denfeld Tuesday, Superior jumped out to a 15-4 lead in the opening minutes. Five different players scored during the run, and when Derek Kontny was benched with an injury, Hughes came in and led the Spartans with 13 points in the first half.
Superior led 43-37 at halftime and outscored the Hunters 32-18 in the second half to claim the 75-55 victory.
“We’ve been playing together, the seniors, since sixth grade — or probably the third grade in the RBA,” Hughes said. “We always look for the open guy, and all of us are good at what we do I think. We knock it down when we need to.”
“I knew we had one vital component coming in, and that was team chemistry,” Dave Kontny said. “This is a fun group to be around. They all get along, they all laugh, they all hang out. The atmosphere in practice is just like it is (during games) — just fun.”
With the win over Duluth Denfeld, Superior moves to 7-0 in the Lake Superior Conference.
The regional playoffs loom just two weeks away, but the Spartan boys’ first goal is to wrap up a conference title.
Superior finished second to Duluth Denfeld last season in the LSC standings. Prior to that, the Spartans had won six consecutive LSC titles, with a 56-2 record against conference teams.
Superior 79, Menomonie 61
Superior improved its record against Wisconsin opponents Saturday with a 79-61 victory over the Menomonie Mustangs at SHS.
Menomonie took the lead 15 seconds into the game on Mitchell Stai’s 3-pointer and stayed in front for most of the first quarter, but Superior came back to tie the game at 16-16 on a 3-pointer by Derek Kontny.
Kontny led Superior in the first quarter with nine of the team’s 16 points. The Mustangs focused on stopping Kontny in the second quarter, but Tunell then took over and scored 11 of the Spartans’ 24 points in that period.
Superior showed its depth in the third quarter as seven different players scored. Those points add up, Coach Kontny said, and the combined totals make the Spartans a very difficult bunch to shut down.
“We’re balanced,” Kontny said. “These six, seven and eight points, those are big numbers.”
Superior led by 23 points with 3:57 left to play in the third quarter, but Menomonie answered with three 3-pointers and a pair of free throws in the two minutes to cut the lead to 14 points, 59-45.
The Mustangs continued to chip away in the fourth quarter and pulled within nine with 6:48 left to play.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” Hughes said. “They’re going to make a run; we just have to make one back. We kept calm and that’s what we did.”
Superior went on a 12-3 run for the next five minutes, highlighted by a dunk from Derek Kontny at 4:28. Menomonie added four points in the final two minutes but fell short, 79-61.
Duluth Denfeld 37 18 — 55
Superior 43 32 — 75
Denfeld — Jerome Strother 27, Jamarr Harkins 13, Sergei Hanka 12, Spencer Wallner 3. 3-point goals — Wallner.
Superior — Erick Tunell 20, Jordan Hughes 17, Bryan Sanders 12, Nick Mehlum 7, Carter Anderson 6, Anthony Valentine 5, Ben Erickson 5, Derek Kontny 3.
3-point goals — Tunell 2, Mehlum, Hughes.
Menomonie 16 13 20 12 — 61
Superior 16 24 23 16 — 79
Menomonie — Lucas Stanley 21, Colton Tarter 2, Mitchell Stai 8, Nathan Stanley 5, Richard Stewart 10, Marshall Ohvall 13, Xavier Buttke 2.
3-point goals — Ohvall 2, L. Stanley 2, Stai 2, N. Stanley.
Superior — Derek Kontny 22, Erick Tunell 21, Nick Mehlum 8, Bryan Sanders 8, Ben Erickson 6, Jordan Hughes 7, Anthony Valentine 3, Carter Anderson 4.
3-point goals — Kontny 3, Hughes.
Superior 31 29 — 60
Duluth East 33 25 — 58
Superior — Erik Tunnell 20, Jordan Hughes 14, Nick Mehlum 8, Brian Sanders 6, Ben Erickson 4, Anthony Valentine 4, Carter Anderson 2, Derek Kontny 2.
3-point goals — Hughes 4, Tunnell 2.
Duluth East — Mat Lochner 33, Shaq Coleman 18, Ryan Downing 4, Chase DeDominces 3.
3-point goals — DeDominces.