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PREVIEW: Spartan boys shoot for fourth straight LSC title

Superior High School coach Jake Smith, left, watches as Corey Sanders runs the offense during a scrimmage with South Shore earlier this season. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Superior High School boys basketball coach Jake Smith will have some pretty big holes to fill this season.

Graduated off last year’s Lake Superior Conference champions are all-conference players Justin Reinkall, Blake Graskey and Aaron O’Shaughnessy.

Smith is looking to fill that void with junior guards Mason Ackley and Xavier Patterson and senior guards Corey Sanders and Kaleb Zentkowski, who all saw extensive playing time last year.

Add to that group seniors Cam Borgh and Stephen Gee, juniors Ben Rhodes, Beau Severson and Elijah Owens and sophomore Joey Barker, and Smith has hopes of the Spartans winning their fourth straight Lake Superior Conference championship.

The Spartans (9-14)  won last year’s LSC title with a record of 6-1. Their only loss was to Duluth Denfeld, 55-53.

Smith said the team’s strengths will be the ability to push the pace, shoot well from the outside and play stingy defense. A couple of concerns will be rebounding and leadership.

“We have a group of guys that take the game very seriously and come to practice every day wanting to get better,” Smith said. “We have developed good chemistry and all the guys really get along and like each other. We’re playing a style this year that really fits our personnel and it’s a fun way to play and our guys have responded well.”

Smith got his first look at the Spartans in their new system in Thursday night’s 79-63 loss at Forest Lake, Minn.

Ackley and Rhodes led Superior with 14 points apiece. Ackley’s stat line included five rebounds and five assists, while Rhodes had two assists and made two of Superior’s seven 3-pointers.

Zentowski also had 13 points with three 3-pointers, five rebounds and a steal.

John Schrader and Thad Ball led Forest Lake with 19 and 18 points, respectively.

“We take things one day at a time and don’t look ahead, but we want to be extremely competitive in every game (both in conference and Big Rivers play),” Smith said. “We all understand that if we put in the work every day and trust the process, everything else will take care of itself.”

Smith sees Proctor and Cloquet joining the Spartans as the teams to beat in the LSC.

“Our expectations are high every year and this year is no different,” Smith said. “We strive to continue to get better every day and want to be playing our best basketball towards the end of the season.”

The Spartans host Esko at 7:15 p.m. today. Esko defeated Hermantown 80-58 on Thursday.

SPARTAN SPIN: Smith’s assistant coaches are Rick Raymond, Willie Moon, Brent Engstrom and Jed Carlson, while the team managers are Garrett Lickiss, Kylie Mason and Lia Loberg. … Superior lost to eventual state champion Stevens Point 88-53 in the opening round of the WIAA playoffs. … The Spartans will play Menasha and Green Bay Notre Dame in the Sun Drop Tournament Dec. 27-28 in Green Bay. Two other non-traditional games are against Bemidji and Hinckley-Finlayson.

 

Superior........................ 32     31        —        63

Forest Lake.................... 40     39        —        79

Superior — Mason Ackley 14, Ben Rhodes 14, Kaleb Zentkowski 13, Xavier Patterson 7, Cam Borgh 6, Elijah Owens 3, Corey Sanders 2, Joey Barker 4. Totals 23 10-18 63.

3-point goals — Zentkowski 3, Rhodes 2, Owens, Barker.

Forest Lake — Cooper Berg 10, Galvy Ngimukua 1, Thad Ball 18, Hunter Damon 19, Roman Notch 2, John Schrader 19, Connor Hale 10. Totals 28 14-19 79.

3-point goals — Berg 2, Damon 5, Schrader 2.

Superior High School

2017-18 Boys Basketball

Thur., Nov. 30.... at Forest Lake (L. 79-63)

Tue., Dec. 5....... vs. Esko, 7:15 p.m.

Tue., Dec. 12..... vs. Denfeld, 7:15 p.m.

Tue., Dec. 19..... vs. Chip. Falls, 7:15 p.m.

Thur., Dec. 21.... at Menomonie, 7:15 p.m.

Sun Drop Shootout — Green Bay

Wed., Dec. 27.... vs. Menasha, 1:40 p.m.

Thur., Dec. 28.... vs. Notre Dame, 3:15 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 6........ at Hermantown, 5:15 p.m.

Mon., Jan. 8....... at Marshall, 7:15 p.m.

Thur., Jan. 11..... at Duluth East, 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 13...... vs. Hinkley at East, 10 a.m.

Tue., Jan. 16...... at Hudson, 7:15 p.m.

Tue., Jan. 23...... vs. E.C. North, 7:15 p.m.

Fri., Jan. 26........ at Cloquet, 7:15 p.m.

Tue., Jan. 30...... vs. Proctor, 7:15 p.m.

Thur., Feb. 1....... at Denfeld, 7:15 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 2.......... vs. Bemidji, 7:15 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 5....... vs. Duluth East, 7:30 p.m.

Thur., Feb. 8....... vs. Gr. Rapids, 7:15 p.m.

Tue., Feb. 13...... at Rice Lake, 7:15 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 16........ at E.C. Mem., 7:15 p.m.

Thur., Feb. 22..... at Ashland, 7:15 p.m.

Fri., March 2....... WIAA Regional

Sat., March 3..... WIAA Regional

Thur., March 8.... WIAA Sectionas

Sat., March 10... WIAA Sectional

March 16-17....... State - Kohl Center

Superior High School Spartans

Boys Basketball Varsity Roster

5  Mason Ackley................. 11      G/F     6-4

11 Xavier Patterson............. 11       G       6-0

13 Kaleb Zentkowski........... 12       G       6-0

15 Ben Rhodes.................... 11       G      5-11

21 Elijah Owens.................. 11       G       5-9

23 Stephen Gee................... 12       G       6-1

25 Cam Borgh...................... 12       C       6-6

31 Corey Sanders................ 12       G       6-1

33 Beau Severson............... 11       F       6-2

45 Joey Barker.................... 10       G       6-1

 

Junior Varsity

3  Judd Erickson.................................... 11

5  Jarrett Gronski.................................... 10

13 Seth Shea......................................... 10

23 Draden Jensen.................................... 9

25 Luke Wessberg................................. 10

35 Willem McClellan............................. 11

43 Ben Hunter.......................................... 9

45 Joey Barker....................................... 10

51 Kal Kappes....................................... 10

53 Kaden Kimmes................................... 9

 

C Team

Chase Magnuson, Jonathan Rhodes, Lars Olson, Malachi Simiyu, Logan Peterson, Jake Edwards, Kristopher Sigfrids, Mason Maki, Stanley Wu, Zachary Roach, Noah Gunderson.

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