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SHS girls get defensive

Jed Carlson/ Superior's Chloe Kintop (2) knocks the ball away from Proctor's Emma Terhaar (24) in the first half of the Spartans win over the Rails on Tuesday night. 1 / 6
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The Superior High School girls basketball team improved to 2-0 on the season with a 50-27 win over the Proctor Rails Tuesday in the SHS gym.

Defense was once again the main ingredient in the Spartans’ winning formula.

After opening the season with a 40-22 win last week at Ashland, Superior didn’t allow Proctor to score during the opening 5 minutes and 43 seconds of the game, the final seven minutes of the first half, and the final six minutes of the game.

“Our defense carried over from the Ashland game,” SHS coach Phil Roe said. “The 22 points Ashland scored were the lowest amount of points we allowed in a few years, and the girls had a goal of trying to stay around that this game.

“I think we have a very smart group of kids that can switch up and give a lot of different looks. We can trap, play man-to-man, pack in a zone and we’ll deny. Everyone knows their role, they know where they’re at all the time and that helps create a lot of chaos and confusion. The girls did a great job of pressuring at all times and working really hard.”

While they were shutting down the Rails at the start of the game, the Spartans opened up an 11-0 lead.

Freshman Katelyn Marunich scored Proctor’s first basket with 12:17 on the clock, and the Rails eventually got within 15-13 on a Paige Nylund 3-pointer at 7:00.

Superior turned up its defensive pressure again and in the process scored the final seven points of the first half to take a 22-13 halftime lead.

Ellie Leadstrom scored 13 of Superior’s points in the first half and eventually finished with a game-high 20 points. She completed a double-double with 11 rebounds.

“Ellie’s a great leader and she’s worked extremely hard,” Roe said. “She came to every open gym in the offseason, helped at every youth camp, and it shows. Her hard work is paying off for her.”

Superior also got eight points from Natalie Olson and seven from Madison Newman.

Six of Olson’s points came on a pair of 3-pointers in the opening minute of the second half.

Superior outscored Proctor 23-14 in the second half with a majority of the points coming on 14-of-23 shooting from the free-throw line.

Overall, the Spartans were 18-of-31 on free throws.

“We have to cash in on those free throws,” Roe said. “But I’m blessed to have Bernie Tomzak, the free-throw shot doctor, around and he’s going to get on them a little bit.

“The free throws are eventually going fall, but if we miss a few shots and keep playing that way on defense, I’ll take that every night.”

After Proctor got within 37-27 on two free throws by Sam Pogatchnik with six minutes remaining, the Spartans finished the game with a 13-0 run.

“I have to give credit to my assistant coaches,” Roe said. “Andrea Sorensen does a fantastic job mixing up creative sideline out of bounds plays which work; Megan Johnson has worked extensively with our post players, paying attention to fine details, and you can see that paying off; and I have one of the best assistants for free throw and shooting form in Bernie Tomzak.”

“The girls embraced the ‘we’ over ‘me’ mentality and it is paying off.”

The Spartans host Chisago Lakes at 7:15 p.m. Friday.

Chisago Lakes is led by Carmen Backes, a 6-foot-1 junior guard who is currently ranked among the top 50 players in the country.

“She’s one of the best players in the nation and has about 30 (college) offers,” Roe said. “She can do it all, so we’re going to have our hands full with her.”

Superior lost 70-61 at Chisago Lakes last season.

SPARTAN SPIN: Pogatchnik led the Rails with seven points. … The Rails, whose starting lineup included a senior, three freshmen and an eighth-grader, was 1-of-8 from the free-throw line. … Proctor head coach Sarah Myhre and Superior assistant coach Megan Johnson are sisters. … Superior won the JV game 33-29. The Spartans were led by Lexi Jensen’s eight points. Juliana Haller, Briley Izzard and Emily Hunter added six points apiece.

Proctor.................................. 13    14   —        27

Superior................................. 22    28   —        50

Proctor — Sam Pogatchnik 7, Emma Terhaar 6, Sam Parendo 5, Katelyn Marunich 4, Paige Nylund 3.

3-point goals — Terhaar 2, Pogatchnik, Nylund.

Superior — Ellie Leadstrom 20, Natalie Olson 8, Madison Newman 7, Chloe Kintop 3, Jessica Kimmes 2, Lauren Gray 2, Erika Olson 2, Daisy White 2.

3-point goals — N. Olson 2, Newman 2, Leadstrom 2.