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Holiday tournament frenzy

The holiday break is over for the Superior High School girls basketball team.

The Spartans haven’t played in a week, but they’ll need to be in top form for the Big Rivers Conference/Wisconsin Valley Conference Challenge this weekend.

Superior is among eight teams playing in the annual holiday tournament. The others are Chippewa Falls, D.C. Everest, Eau Claire Memorial, Rice Lake, Wausau East, Wausau West and Wisconsin Rapids.

Superior hosts the event this year, and SHS coach Phil Roe says the Spartans are looking forward to home court advantage.

“The nice thing about it is it’s going to be right here on this court finally — the first time in eight years,” Roe said. “So they can come up north and our girls are going to be ready and fired up.”

Superior enters the holiday tournament with a 4-1 record. The team’s only loss came to Chisago Lakes, which was ranked No. 7 among Minnesota’s Class AAA schools in this week’s Associated Press poll.

In the holiday tournament, Superior will face more tough competition.

“We’re against D.C. Everest the first night, and D.C. Everest is 7-0, and we’re against Wausau West the second night, and Wausau West is 5-0,” said Phil Roe, head coach of the Spartans. “So we’re playing the best three-game stretch of our season right now, and these are huge seeding games.”

The Spartans won their first three games of the season by an average of nearly 40 points, but the last two match-ups have been much closer.

On Dec. 17, Superior fell to Chisago Lakes in overtime. Superior then returned home to defeated Chippewa Falls 58-57 on Dec. 20.

The Spartans play D.C. Everest at 7 p.m. today and Wausau West at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Against D.C. Everest, Superior be at a slight disadvantage in height.

Taylor Hodell, a 6-foot-3 forward, leads the Evergreens in scoring and rebounding, averaging about 15 points a game. Jessica Lindstrom, at 6-foot-1, is Superior’s tallest player.

D.C. Everest is 8-0 following a 59-32 victory over Wisconsin Rapids on Dec. 20. The Evergreens are averaging 54.5 point per game and allowing just 31.5 points per game.

Wausau West also comes into the tournament undefeated, averaging 56 points on offense and holding opponents to about 38 points per game.

Senior Katrina Cihlar has averaged 17 points per game for Wausau West, and junior Jasmin Samz is close behind with 14 points per game.

“We definitely have some really strong competition,” said Hailey Kontny, Superior’s point guard. “There’s going to be some intense games, and I’m hoping we’ll have a good turnout for our fan section because we definitely need the encouragement from our community.”

Lindstrom, Kontny and Alyssa Correll all average double figures for Superior. Kontny aggravated a deep bruise on her leg during the Chippewa Falls game, but she has no plans to sit out the holiday tournament.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll play,” Kontny said.

The Spartan boys will also be playing in the BRC/WVC Classic, hosted by Menomonie this year.

Superior (3-1) faces Eau Claire Memorial at 4:15 p.m. today and Hudson at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

On the ice, the SHS girls hockey team will compete in the 2013 Culvers Cup High School Hockey Tournament in Madison.

Superior opens the tournament at 7:15 p.m. today against the Middleton Metro Lynx at Hartmeyer Ice Arena. The winner plays at 2:45 p.m. Saturday, and the loser plays at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Championship and consolation games will be played Sunday.