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Yellowjackets sweep UMAC’s top awards

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The first year in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference has been a memorable one for the University of Wisconsin-Superior basketball program.

The Yellowjacket women went a perfect 16-0 to win the UMAC regular-season championship, then defeated Martin Luther and Northwestern by a combined 39 points to win the UMAC playoff championship and an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championships.

The UWS men also fared well in the UMAC, qualifying for the postseason tournament during the final weekend of the season.

The Yellowjackets’ success on the court has led to Hailey Kontny and Zach Schradle being named the UMAC Players of the Year and Don Mulhern being named the UMAC Women’s Coach of the year.

Kontny, a sophomore from Superior, also earned All-UMAC First Team honors, while teammate Justine Larson was named All-UMAC honorable mention and named to the UMAC All-Defensive Team, and Bailee Bartunek (Audobon, Minn.) received the UMAC Sportsmanship Award.

In her first year with UWS, Kontny helped pace a balanced offensive attack for the Yellowjackets. Appearing in 27 games and starting 24, Kontny is the only Yellowjacket to average double digit points on the year, scoring 12.9 points per game to date. She currently sits third on the team in assists (49), rebounds (119) and steals (36).

“With Hailey being a Superior native, we have had the luxury of watching her play and develop since she was young, and from an early age you knew she was going to be a very good player,” Mulhern said. “Getting her here this year has been a good thing for our team, as she has really helped us and our balanced attack. She’s a tremendous ball handler and shooter and has a nose for the basket, and when the game is on the line Hailey is the kind of player that wants the ball in her hands and wants to take that big shot. As a coach you are excited to have players like that.

“I’m excited for Hailey and excited that the other coaches in the league recognized how good of a year she had for us.”

Larson, a sophomore from Stanchfield, Minn., who has appeared in all 27 games to date and made 23 starts, ranks third on the team in points (190) and was second in assists (55) and steals (45).

“Justine is just a complete player. She gets it done at both ends of the court,” Mulhern said. “She has taken a step forward this year from where she was as a freshman, and we are really excited to see where she goes from here.”

For the third time in four years, Mulhern has grabbed the league coach of the year honor, the previous two coming while the Yellowjackets were members of the WIAC.

This season’s team set a new school record for wins (24 to date) and consecutive wins (16) and went unbeaten in conference play, both during the regular season and playoffs.

The Yellowjackets were also unbeaten at home and have compiled a record of 41-5 the last four seasons at Mertz Mortorelli Gym.

“To me, and I think I have said this each time I have won it, but this is a team award,” Mulhern said. “I appreciate the other coaches of the conference selecting me for this honor because it says that they recognize what our team was able to do on the court.

“Without the players doing what they do on the court day in and day out, the members of the UMAC would have no reason to vote for me. So to me this award is for the members of my coaching staff and the members of my team. I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve been able to do so far.”

Schradle, a junior from Clayton, was also named All-UMAC First Team, while senior Brian Lindblom was named All-UMAC Second Team and Taylor Mattison (Sturgeon Lake, Minn.) received the UMAC Sportsmanship Award.

“Zach had an amazing year, just tremendous. I’m not sure there is any other way to say it,” UWS men’s coach Paul Eberhardt said. “Everything I asked him to do, he did. He took the team on his shoulders most nights and did a great job of leading our team and getting us back into the playoffs.”

Schradle led the Yellowjackets in both scoring and rebounding an astounding 14 times during the season. He had 12 games where he reached double digits in both points and rebounds.

Feb. 19 was arguably the high point of the season for the Yellowjackets and Schradle. That day Schradle posted his first career triple-double and reached the 1,000-point mark for his career as the Yellowjackets defeated the University of Northwestern to secure a berth in the UMAC playoffs.

“That game in particular really showed the kind of player Zach is and the kind of season he was having,” Eberhardt said. “He played his best game of the year when the team needed it the most and the result got us in the playoffs. For him to do it and reach that scoring milestone was really special.”

Lindblom, a senior from Spooner, started all 26 games for the Yellowjackets and was second on the team in points (449), assists (43), and rebounds (133).

The high point for Lindblom came in December when he scored a career-high 32 points and posted a double-double in a win over Finlandia.

“I had Brian with me for four years and he got better each year that he was here. He played a lot of minutes for us during his career and he really became a go-to guy for us,” Eberhardt said. “I can’t say enough about all the time and energy that Brian put into his game and our program.”

NOTES: The Yellowjacket women (24-3) open the NCAA tournament at 7 p.m. Friday at UW-Oshkosh. … Former Superior Spartan Jordan Hughes, a junior at St. Scholastica, was the Saints’ recipient of the sportsmanship award.

UMAC Women’s All-Conference Team

Player of the YearHailey Kontny, UW-Superior

Freshman of the Year — Haley Sandin, Fr., Bethany Lutheran

Coach of the YearDon Mulhern, UW-Superior

First-Team

Amy Berglund............. So.   G   Northwestern

Brittani Brennan........... Sr.   F    St. Scholastica

Minnie Frederick........... Jr.    G   Bethany Luth.

Hailey Kontny............... So.    G   UW-Superior

Haley Sandin............... Fr.    G   Bethany Luth.

Second-Team

Briana Brandts............ Jr.    G   Bethany Lutheran

Regan Cooper............. Sr.   F    Northwestern

Jamie High.................. Sr.   F    North Central

Elli Stevenson.............. Fr     G   Minn. Morris

Lizzy Swanson............ So.   G   North Central

Honorable Mention

Bethany Best.............. Jr.    F    Northland

Jessica Cole................ So.   G   Northwestern

Desiree Davis.............. Jr.    G   Crown

Tori Holt..................... Jr.    F    Minn. Morris

Justine Larson.............. So.    F    UW-Superior

Erin Schmeling............. Sr.   G   Martin Luther

Grace Schultz............. So.   G   Martin Luther

UMAC All-Defensive Team

Cori Becker................. Sr.   G   Minn. Morris

Amy Berglund............. So.   G   Northwestern

Minnie Frederick........... Jr.    G   Bethany Luth.

Jamie High.................. Sr.   F    North Central

Justine Larson.............. So.    F    UW-Superior

UMAC Sportsmanship Awards

Team Award — Northwestern

Bethany Lutheran — Briana Brandts

Crown — Hannah Malone

Martin Luther —Sarah Koelpin

Minnesota Morris — Maja Coomes

North Central — Sydney Steele

Northland — Emily Howe

Northwestern — Courtney Cunard

St. Scholastica — Holly VanKempen

UW-Superior  Bailee Bartunek

 

UMAC Men’s All-Conference Team

Player of the YearZach Schradle, Jr., UW-Superior

Freshman of the Year — Brandon Newman, Fr., St. Scholastica

Coach of the Year — David Staniger, St. Scholastica

First-Team

Todd Brassow............ Sr.   G   Martin Luther

Michael Carney............ Sr.   G   Northwestern

CD Douglas................. So.   G   Minn. Morris

Brandyn Frelix............. Jr.    F    Bethany Luth.

Zach Schradle*.............. Jr.    G   UW-Superior

Second-Team

Julius Johnson............. Jr.    G   St. Scholastic

Andrew Laughlin.......... Sr.   F    St. Scholastic

Brian Lindblom.............. Sr.    F    UW-Superior

Kyle Ooms................. Sr.   F    Northwestern

A. VanDerHeyden........ So.   F    Crown

Honorable Mention

Bryshaun Brown.......... Sr.   F    Northland

James Brown.............. Jr.    F    Crown

Joel Cline.................... So.   F    North Central

Cody Martin................ Sr.   G   North Central

Jake Naslund.............. Sr.   G   St. Scholastica

Cody Sprenger............ Jr.    G   Northwestern

Travis Voigt................. So.   G   North Central

UMAC All-Defensive Team

CD Douglas................. So.   G   Minn. Morris

Julius Johnson............. Jr.    G   St. Scholastica

Kyle Ooms................. Sr.   F    Northwestern

Cody Sprenger............ Jr.    G   Northwestern

Tyler Ukkelberg............ So.   G   Minn. Morris

UMAC Sportsmanship Awards

Team Award – Northwestern

Bethany Lutheran – Nick Sanborn

Crown – Seth Moan

Martin Luther – JD Uhlhorn

Minnesota Morris – Kevin Heysse

North Central – Isaiah Rustad

Northland – Dan Campion

Northwestern – Cody Sprenger

St. Scholastica – Jordan Hughes (Superior)

UW-Superior – Taylor Mattison,

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