Spartan girls advance to regional finalsSUPERIOR — The Superior High School girls basketball team is headed to the regional finals following an 80-69 victory over Hudson Friday night. Jessica Lindstrom and Hailey Kontny scored 27 and 21 points for the Spartans, respectively, but it was sophomore Alyssa Correll who gave Superior edge.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
SUPERIOR — The Superior High School girls basketball team is headed to the regional finals following an 80-69 victory over Hudson Friday night.
Jessica Lindstrom and Hailey Kontny scored 27 and 21 points for the Spartans, respectively, but it was sophomore Alyssa Correll who gave Superior edge.
Correll hit five 3-pointers in the first half to help Superior to a 46-18 halftime lead. She finished the night with 19 points and was a key factor in deflating Hudson’s 2-3 zone defense.
“My grandma just died a week ago, so I wanted to play hard for her,” Correll said.
The sophomore’s eagle-eyed shooting changed the momentum of the game Friday.
Before Correll knocked down her first shot of the night, Superior led 13-11 and had seen the lead change five times. Correll made it 16-11 with 2:33 to play in first quarter, and 30 seconds later she put down another 3-pointer from the right corner to give Superior a 19-11 lead.
Superior pushed its lead to 12 at the start of the second quarter, and the Spartans led by double figures for the remainder of the game.
“It is a special thing about Alyssa and her grandma,” said Phil Roe, head coach of the Spartans. “Her grandma was like a second mother to her, and that (loss) has been tough on Alyssa, but she knows that her grandma’s spirit lives on with her. Her grandma was watching the game tonight.”
Superior now hosts Eau Claire North in the regional finals at 6 p.m. Saturday. ECN, the No. 5 seed, earned a 69-65 upset victory over No. 4-seeded Wausau West Friday night.
Superior defeated ECN 63-59 when the two teams played earlier this season. Lindstrom and Kontny combined to score 47 points in that game.
Friday night, Kontny and Lindstrom combined to score 48 points, with 31 of those coming in the first half. Superior also held Hudson to just three points in the second quarter — all on free throws — to claim a 28-point halftime lead.
“It was 46-18 at the half, and the second half was about making sure my starters and everyone was healthy for (Saturday),” Roe said. “That was my No. 1 objective, to keep everyone healthy. So we had some subs in and got girls some more playing time.”
Superior’s dominant win was a big change from the team’s previous outing, a 40-38 loss to Hayward on Feb. 18.
Roe said the Spartans have worked hard in practice since then to make corrections and to prepare for the playoffs.
“We let the dogs out in the first half,” Roe said. “They were ready. They were waiting for two weeks to get on that court and get after it again.”
When the game tipped off, the Spartans found themselves facing a familiar, but not totally unexpected setup.
“What’s interesting is Hudson came out in the same defense that Hayward did — their 2-3 zone — so I’m sure they had the Hayward film,” Roe said. “We’ve been working and putting in some new offensive schemes, and some of them are directed towards Alyssa.”
Correll took advantage of the situation with five 3-pointers. Lindstrom and Kontny also exploited the zone’s weakness with a pair of 3-pointers each in the first half.
Hudson made adjustments in the second half, but by then Superior had already built a 30-point lead.
“It will be harder for teams to know how to guard us now that we can beat their 2-3 zone,” Correll said.
If the Spartans continue to work as they have in practice, Correll added, the team stands a good chance of reaching the state tournament.
“This is a good team,” Roe said. “These girls are mentally and physically strong and very resilient. They took that loss (to Hayward) and the little bit of adversity and they learned from it. They grew from it.”
Hudson 15 3 16 35 — 69
Superior 24 22 19 15 — 80
Hudson — Sarah Krier 17, Kindra Witthus 17, Ellie Whitacre 8, Jordan Huber 6, Kaylyn Jenkins 5, Anna Paquette 4, Maggie Koehler 4, Morgan Armbruster 3, Jordan Little 3, Katy Fox 2.
3-point goals — Krier 3, Whitacre 2, Armbruster.
Superior — Jessica Lindstrom 27, Hailey Kontny 21, Alyssa Correll 19, Abby Clemons 7, Alison Wainionpaa 2, Shannon Johnstad 2, Rachal Fregin 1, McKenzie Kmecik 1.
3-point goals — Correll 5, Lindstrom 2, Kontny 2, Clemons.