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SHS girls prepare for championship game

GREEN BAY -- The Superior Spartans have a long day of waiting ahead of them.

For the first time in school history, the Superior High School girls basketball team will be playing in the WIAA Division 1 state championship game. The game is scheduled to begin at 8:15 p.m. today at the Resch Center in Green Bay.

"We've talked about it all year and now it's here, and I think the closer you get to that the more you believe," said Spartan coach Phil Roe Friday night after Superior's 51-49 semifinal victory over Mukwonago. "We want to play right now. We've got that kind of energy and those kind of girls."

Superior (24-3) will play Oak Creek (25-2) in the championship match tonight.

The Oak Creek Knights defeated Kimberly 46-40 in overtime Friday night. The two teams also went into extra minutes in their regular season game -- with Kimberly winning 49-48 in double overtime.

In Friday's state semifinal game, the Knights started hot from the arc and took a 12-4 lead after one quarter. Katie Finn's 3-pointer to start the second quarter pushed Oak Creek's lead into double figures, but Kimberly then went on an 11-2 run, led by Jenna Smarzinski and Marley Chevalier.

By the end of the third quarter the game was tied at 27-27, and the Knights forced overtime with two seconds remaining when Stephanie Kostowicz made a layup off an inbounds pass. Oak Creek scored first in overtime and never trailed, going 6-for-8 at the free-throw line in the extra session.

Finn led the Knights with 16 points. Oak Creek's pair of 6-foot-2 player, Tamya Sims and Kostowicz, added 10 and eight points, respectively.

"It's going to be a battle. They have those two twin towers," Roe said. "But the majority of the teams are taller than us; that's something that we've dealt with. Our girls may be smaller, but they're good post defenders."

Sims is Oak Creek’s leading scorer, averaging 15.4 points per game. Kostowicz leads the team in rebounding, with 7.5 rebounds per game, and is the second-leading scorer with almost 14 points per game.

The Spartan girls have never played in a state championship game before, but the players say they feel more confident from their experience of playing in the state semifinals last year.

"Last year we were really, really nervous. We'd never played in front of that many people before," said senior Jessica Lindstrom. "I think this year everyone was just calm about it and everyone played their game."

"It definitely helped us a lot," said point guard Hailey Kontny. "We were more calm, more collected; we knew what we were going into coming in, which some of the teams really didn't."

For Kontny and the other five seniors on the team, today's game will be their last in a Spartan uniform. They're hoping to end their high school careers with a victory, but for that they'll need the same energy they brought Friday night.

"We just played our hearts out," Kontny said. "We knew as seniors in general we had to come in and play with no regrets. It was our last shot. And it's our last shot to make school history, and that's what we came down here for."