Spartan girls fall to Hawks

The Superior High School girls basketball team battled Lake Superior Conference for Hermantown Tuesday night in Superior with the Hawks coming out on top 52-30.

Superior High School's Bettye Jo Nelson (13) drives to the hoop against Hermantown's Kaylee Steen (41) during the first half of Tuesday night's game in Superior. (Jed Carlson/

The Superior High School girls basketball team battled Lake Superior Conference for Hermantown Tuesday night in Superior with the Hawks coming out on top 52-30.

Superior held a 3-2 lead early in the first half, but foul trouble quickly bogged the Spartans down. Just four and a half minutes into the game, Superior already had five team fouls. Hermantown took advantage by attacking the lane and scoring easy points on layups and free throws.

The Spartans, meanwhile struggle to get good looks early, first turning over the ball against the Hawks' press and then settling for quick shot behind the arc.

Yet despite early trouble, the Spartans only trailed by eight points when they picked up their seventh team foul with 9:42 left to play. After that point the Hawks went on an 11-3 run to end the first half up 26-12.

Superior ended the half with 12 team fouls. Hermantown also piled up the fouls with nine, but the Spartans were unable to take advantage as they shot 2-for-14 from the free throw line in the opening period.


In the second half Superior needed to come out strong to keep the game in sight. The Hawks scored the first points with a layup off of a Spartan turnover, but then Superior began to chip away at Hermantown's lead.

Taylor Kosey let things off with a pair of free throws 30 seconds into the half. She added a long two-point shot less than a minute later, and Janelle Strewler sunk a free throw and made a shot from the lane to cut the Hawks' lead to 30-19. The Spartans pulled within nine on the next possession as Kosey put up an off-balanced shot that rolled in.

During the Spartans' run, Hermantown turned the ball over on back-to-back possession with traveling calls and then threw it away with a bad pass. The Hawks regrouped though, and went on an 8-0 run that extended the lead to double figures again and kept it there.

In the waning minutes of the half, senior guard Kara Hoff provided a spark for Superior by breaking the Spartans' scoring drought and then making a pair of baskets inside.

Fouls caught up with Superior again with about three minutes left, and the Hawks made their free throws to win 52-30.

Hoff and Bettye Jo Nelson both had eight points to lead Superior. Kosey and Strewler scored six apiece, and MacKenzie Newman had two points in addition to some key steals. For the night, SHS shot 6-for-20 from the free-throw line and had no 3-pointers.

Hermantown was similarly quiet from behind the arc with only two shots. The Hawks did better at the free-throw line though, making 12-of-24. Leading Hermantown in scoring were Laura Kesti with 14 points and Nicole Niemi with 12 points.

SPARTAN SPIN: The Spartan JV game went into overtime after Chelsea Breimon hit two free throws with 1:11 left to tie the game at 40. Christine Johnstad put a shot off the glass to open the scoring for the overtime period, but it was all Hawks after that as Hermantown went on to win 51-42.


Busy weekend

The SHS girls were busy over the weekend, playing Duluth Central Friday night and Chippewa Falls Saturday. The Spartan girls defeated Duluth Central 33-20 but then fell to Chippewa Falls 43-30.

Superior fell behind early Saturday when Chippewa Falls converted three Spartan turnovers into four points and added two 3-pointers by Lori Kaeding to open up a 10-0 scoring run. Superior cut the lead to 10-5 with a basket by Christa Diedrich and two free throws by MacKenzie Newman, but Chippewa quickly answered with another scoring run and held a 25-6 advantage by halftime.

"Offensively we simply need to move the ball quicker and create more opportunities to penetrate," Schulz said. "We didn't look to get to the foul line nearly enough, and we turned the ball over far too often through careless mistakes."

In addition to turnovers, the Spartans struggled with Chippewa Falls' press in the first two quarters.

"We need to play with more confidence and have an aggressive attacking style when teams pressure us, and we didn't do that tonight," Schulz said. "We found ourselves passing backwards rather than attacking their press through quick forward passing to create advantage situations against their back line defenders."

The second half was more evenly contested, with Chippewa Falls outscoring the Spartans 8-7 in the third quarter and Superior narrowing the gap in the final score by outscoring the Cardinals 17-12 in the fourth quarter.

Superior ended the game with a very well-rounded scoring attack. Bettye Jo Nelson led the team with eight points, followed by Kara Hoff with six.


"I was pleased to see Kara Hoff to be more aggressive offensively," Schulz said. "She was looking for her shot more, and as a result, she converted on two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for the Spartans."

Christa Diedrich and Janelle Strewler both scored four points for SHS, Abby Gotelaere and Taylor Kosey had three points apiece, and MacKenzie Newman scored two points

Lindsey Gaber led Chippewa Falls with 12 points and Kaeding finished with nine.

"Janelle Strewler made a few nice moves in the interior, but we didn't get the ball into our post players enough," Schulz said. "Abby, MacKenzie and Janelle need touches in the paint on a consistent basis to be effective, which means we have to limit our turnovers on the perimeter."

On Friday, the Superior girls traveled to Duluth Central to play the Trojans and earned a 33-20 victory.

The Spartans led 18-12 after one half and then outscored Duluth Central 15-8 in the second to claim the win.

Central started out the game on an 8-0 run. Superior held the Trojans from that point to only four points the remainder of the half. Superior chipped away at the lead and eventually took an 18-12 advantage into the half behind 14 points from Bettye Jo Nelson and four from Abby Gotelaere.

"When our offense was struggling in the first half, Abby Gotelaere provided a spark by knocking down two key shots for us in the first half," Schulz said. "She was really active tonight offensively and she provided strong rebounding as well."


Superior's good defense continued through the second half, limiting the Trojans to only two field goals and four throws.

"Early on we were standing too much on offense, but as the game progressed I felt like we got into the flow and our ball movement was pretty good by the end of the game," Schulz said.

Nelson ended the game with an impressive night for the Spartans, scoring 22 points to lead the team. Gotelaere had four points, Taylor Kosey added three, and Carly Givens and MacKenzie Newman both finished with two points.

Lisa Muehlberger had eight points to top Duluth Central's scoring. Mary Von Rueden added five points, Shauna Wrazidlo had four and Sami Vezina had three.

SPARTAN SPIN: Sam DeMeyer led the Spartan JV team in scoring with seven point in a very close match with Duluth Central. Superior came away with the win, 19-18, and Raya Kosey and Lauren Phillips also added four points each for the Spartans.

Superior then played Chippewa Falls and fell 47-22 to bring the JV squad's record to 4-4. Casey O'Neill led the Spartans with nine points, and Alyssa Schlichting added six points.

Superior's C team defeated Duluth Central 36-17 before falling to Chippewa Falls by just one point, 25-24. The C team girls now hold a 5-2 record.

What To Read Next
Get Local