SHS boys win regional titleThe Spartans play again in Thursday's sectional semfinals in Marshfield
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
The Superior High School boys basketball team is headed back to the sectional tournament for the fifth time in seven years.
“We’re looking forward to going back to the sectional. We took a year off,” said Dave Kontny, head coach of the Spartans. “And you know, the kids worked hard. What are we, 20-3? That’s a great season.”
The Spartans advanced with a 52-42 win over Eau Claire Memorial Saturday night in Superior.
Superior will now play D.C. Everest in Marshfield Thursday. D.C. Everest defeated Marshfield 45-42 in the other regional final game Saturday.
Superior’s victory Saturday followed a narrow win over Wausau West in Friday’s regional semifinal. The Spartans scored only 16 points in the first half of that game and finished with a 33-32 victory.
“We definitely thought we couldn’t have shot any worse last night,” said senior Ben Erickson. “We kind of had a chip on our shoulder. We’re the No. 1 seed, and we had to play up to it. All of us guys kind of got that intensity — we win or we go home. That’s what stayed with us, and we played as a team.”
Superior started out fast against ECM, giving up a reverse layup on the Old Abes’ first possession and then scoring the next 10 points.
The Spartans extended their lead to 20-9 by 4:25 in the second quarter, but ECM roared back with a 3-pointer from Ben Everhart and a dunk and layup from Daminiqus Ford. Malek Lemke put the Old Abes within two points, 20-18, with a pair of free throws at 1:23. Superior’s Nick Mehlum then closed out the half with a turn-around jumper to give the Spartans a 22-18 advantage.
Both teams battled for the lead in the second half, and the score was tied four times, with the last coming at 39-39 with 4:21 to play. Erick Tunell put Superior back in front with a layup 10 seconds later, and Derek Kontny made it 42-39 with a free throw. Another basket from Tunell and a driving layup from Erickson made it 46-39 with 2:26 to play, and ECM then began fouling to try to get back in the game. Four straight free throws put the Spartans’ lead at 50-39 with a minute to play, and Superior held on to win 52-42.
Tunell, who scored just seven points Friday night, led Superior with 18 points. Mehlum added 12 points, including six key points in the third quarter.
“I’ve said it all year, these two guys tonight, two different guys tomorrow,” Dave Kontny said. “That’s the unique thing about this team. We’re as good as we’ve ever been defensively, if not the best; and we definitely have more weapons offensively because we can hurt you at all eight positions.”
Bryan Sanders and Erickson both finished with eight points, Jordan Hughes had four in the first half, and Derek Kontny and Carter Anderson added a free throw apiece.
SPARTAN SPIN: Superior went 11-0 at home this season.
Superior 16 6 13 17 — 52
ECM 9 9 9 15 — 42
Superior — Erick Tunell 18, Nick Mehlum 12, Ben Erickson 8, Bryan Sanders 8, Jordan Hughes 4, Derek Kontny 1, Carter Anderson 1.
3-point goal — Tunell.
ECM — Ben Everhart 12, Daminiqus Ford 9, Nick Uthe 7, Gianni Rossato 6, David Schnack 4, Alex Grant 2, Malek Lemke 2.
3-point goals — Everhart 4.