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Spartans sharp in win over 'Hounds

When the Superior High School boys basketball team faced Duluth East earlier this season, the Spartans came away with a one-point win. On Saturday the two teams played again in Superior with the Spartans claiming a comfortable 69-46 victory.

When the Superior High School boys basketball team faced Duluth East earlier this season, the Spartans came away with a one-point win. On Saturday the two teams played again in Superior with the Spartans claiming a comfortable 69-46 victory.

"That was a good win for us," SHS coach Dave Kontny said. "We didn't come out sluggish, we came out with a lot of energy. We were ready to play.

"We just played an overall good game. We rebounded well, we moved the ball well on offense, we got drives, we got open jump shots. Everyone was just playing well, like we're capable of playing every night."

The seniors on the team had extra inspiration to get the win as it was senior night for the SHS boys.

"I think some players on their team (Duluth East) last time we played went into the zone and didn't miss the whole night," said Dustin Ritchie, one of six Spartan seniors. "We played really well this time as a team. We shared the ball and everybody contributed."

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Six different players scored for Superior in the first quarter and the Spartans finished with four players in double figures and three more with seven points each.

"That's just how it is all year," said Ryan Radzak, another SHS senior. "Anybody can step up any night. We're really unselfish."

All of the SHS seniors were suited up on the bench for the game, including Andy Radzak, who suffered a herniated disc early in the season and will not be able to return.

"I feel bad for Andy. He's a great kid," Kontny said. "He suited up and went through warm-ups, but it's hard on him. It's hard on all of us."

Radzak said he recently got a cortisone shot in his back, and it is feeling much better. But the senior still will not be able to play with his team again, though, and that is something that does not get easier.

"It's really hard, especially when we're down," Radzak said. "I just want to get in there so bad."

The Spartans were never down Saturday, but East managed to stay close in the first quarter.

After rushing out to a 7-0 lead with baskets from Keegan O'Neill, Joe Reichert and Ritchie, the Greyhounds managed to come back, led by sophomore Dyami Starks. Starks was the only East player to score in the first quarter, but he nearly gave his team the lead when he hit a 3-pointer at 2:19 to make it 16-15.

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Superior's seniors then stepped up to close out the quarter. Ryan Radzak started the run with a long 2-pointer, and Ritchie then ran the length of the floor for a layup and a five-point lead. With 10 seconds left in the quarter, senior Jesse Covill battled for an offensive rebound and made the putback to give SHS a 22-15 lead.

In the second quarter the Spartans continued to execute well offensively but made some changes in their defense.

"We went to our zone and basically took Starks out of the game," Kontny said "So we did what we wanted to do at the start of the second quarter. The kids really responded well.

"But Starks is a great player, no matter what you do against him he's going to score his points."

Starks led all scorers with 24 points, with 15 of those coming in the first quarter and seven in the final quarter. But Superior dealt its damage in the second and third quarters, building a double-digit lead the Greyhounds could never overcome.

In his first game back since spraining his right ankle against Ashland on Feb. 1, Ritchie said he was feeling good and was close to 100 percent.

Covill led the Spartans with 14 points, O'Neill added 12 points and Dustin Ritchie and Joe Reichert had 10 each. Ryan Radzak, Joel Lindberg and Chris Blake all added seven points apiece, and Garret Wessberg added two.

Kontny also was very pleased with the Spartans' defense Saturday.

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"I think we frustrated them all night," Kontny said. "It was like watching five cats on the floor playing defense. When they tried to pass the ball down, we were there. When they tried to pass the ball out we were there. Our feet were moving today."

SPARTAN SPIN: Superior plays at Rice Lake Tuesday then hosts Duluth Central on Friday to close out the regular season. Tuesday's game can be heard locally on WNXR 107.3 FM. ... The SHS JV team defeated Duluth East 65-51 Saturday to improve to 18-0 on the season. Andy Heytens had 16 points, Dylan Shatto 11, Brent Engstom 11 and Zack Colvin had 10.

Related Topics: BASKETBALLSUPERIOR
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