SHS girls hope to rebound after losing two seniors

The Superior High School girls basketball team may have a different coach this year, but little else has changed, as the Spartans hope to be a strong force in the Lake Superior conference again this year.

The Superior High School girls basketball team may have a different coach this year, but little else has changed, as the Spartans hope to be a strong force in the Lake Superior conference again this year.

After losing just two starters (Alexa Leighton and Lindsay Battuello) to graduation, many familiar faces return for the Spartan team.

Senior Lindsey Lindstrom, who averaged 17.5 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game last season, returns as the Spartans' leading scorer. Laura Amys, who averaged 7.9 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game last season, is another returning starter from whom the Spartans expect big things. Rounding out the returning starters for the Spartans is Britnee Blake, a sophomore guard.

"We have the majority of our starters back from last year," said SHS first-year coach Dan Schulz. "Overall, this team will be comparable to last year's."

While many teams often have difficulty adjusting to a new coach and coaching style, the Spartans have done well so far.


"I think that they're accepting of the style that we want to play, and they're making their adjustments to it," Schulz said. "They don't understand everything I'm trying to do right now, (but) they're doing the best that they can with it. I think that we're going to get a lot better as the season goes on."

Aside from learning to play under a new coach, the Spartans have a few aspects of their game that could use improvement.

"Rebounding has been an issue so far. It's something we need to address," Schulz said. "We work on it every day, just getting better positioning, making sure we get a body on someone, really attacking the glass."

Schulz said the team is small at the guard position, but because the Spartans have adequate height inside, he doesn't think height is the major factor in the team's rebounding troubles.

"It's more just a matter of getting after it all the time," Schulz said. "Especially on the defensive end, we need all five people pounding the glass."

Another potential area of concern for the Spartans is the team's lack of depth in the post position.

"We really only have two post players, and they play almost the whole game," Schulz said.

Over the course of a game, Schulz said the two players naturally wear down from having to battle in the post, but they've done their best at the start of this season.


Rachel Samuelson, the Spartans' center, broke her ankle in the preseason and is currently not able to play.

"I think as we get a couple players back that we lost and add to our depth, that'll be the team that we are at the end of the year," Schulz said.

As a whole, Schulz thought the team needed to work on being patient on offense.

"I think we're very talented offensively, but I think sometimes we take that talent for granted and don't get as good of shots as we need to get and don't work the ball as well as we can," Schulz said. "When we're patient it really shows; we get easy shots, and we get to the free-throw line a lot by being aggressive and taking the ball to the basket.

"When we play from behind we need to be even more patient than when we were playing with the lead. We haven't done a very good job all year when we fall behind. The other team has seemed to stretch the lead out on us a little bit because of our impatience on offense."

Another adjustment the Spartans have tried to make at the beginning of this season is to develop more balanced team scoring.

"We've had good balance the last few weeks," Schulz said. "Early on, Lindsey (Lindstrom) was our leading scorer the first couple of games by a large margin. She was giving us almost half our scoring. So if other teams are going to focus in on her more, we need the other girls to step up, and they have responded to that."

In order to spread out the scoring, Schulz again emphasized the need for patience on offense. He said it is important for the players to get into their offense, run it through and taking advantage of mismatches and other opportunities.


"We definitely have enough girls that can score, not just one or two girls," Schulz said.

On defense, Schulz said the Spartans are scrappy and are, for the most part, in the right positions all of the time.

"They're really focused on their defense," Schulz said. "It's what we start our practices with and generally what we end our practices with, so it's our number one focal point."

The team plays mostly man-to-man, Schulz said, but a few times it has had to change to zone because of foul trouble. Ideally, Schulz would like to see the Spartans play up-tempo, man-to-man the entire game and press the other team periodically.

"We want to pressure all the time," Schulz said. "We want to pressure defensively, and then we've got to learn a little bit to relax ourselves on offense. We force an up-tempo game, but then we've got to make sure when we don't have an opportunity to strike that we're patient enough to settle down on offense and get the shot that we want to get."

The Spartans have a few things to work on this season, but one area with which Schulz has absolutely no complaints is the team's attitude on the floor.

"They show up for practice and they take it (seriously)," Schulz said. "When they come into the gym they work extremely hard. There's not a lot of mental lapses in practice; we've had a few of them during games, but it's not due to lack of effort. These girls work extremely hard and they're very coachable."

In fact, sometimes Schulz said they can be a little too coachable.


"We've had a few times in practice where I've said something and they want to find out exactly what I mean before the play is even done," Schulz said with a grin.

"But it's a very coachable team, and I think that's going to be the main reason why we're going to improve as the season goes on."

Superior Spartans

Coach: Dan Schulz

Nov. 24-25 -- Turkey Classic, at Hudson (L, W)

Nov. 30 -- at Grand Rapids (W 45-37)

Dec. 2 -- Eau Claire North (L 62-48)

Dec. 5 -- at Rice Lake (L 49-42)


Dec. 15 -- Proctor

Dec. 19 -- Duluth Denfeld

Dec. 22 -- at Chippewa Falls

Jan. 4 -- at Cloquet

Jan. 12 -- at Duluth Central

Jan. 16 -- Hermantown

Jan. 19 -- Duluth East

Jan. 23 -- Cloquet


Jan. 25 -- Duluth Central

Feb. 1 -- Ashland

Feb. 6 -- at Duluth Marshall

Feb. 8 -- at Duluth Denfeld

Feb. 13 -- at Hayward

Feb. 15 -- at Proctor

Feb. 17 -- Eau Claire Memorial, 1:45 p.m.

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