State tournament or 'Super Tuesday,' it doesn't matter to Spartans

Whatever you want to call it, a state tournament quarterfinal game or "Super Tuesday," the Superior High School boys basketball team is happy to still be playing in the middle of March.

Superior coach Dave Kontny shakes hands with his team after a big win earlier this season. (Jed Carlson/

Whatever you want to call it, a state tournament quarterfinal game or "Super Tuesday," the Superior High School boys basketball team is happy to still be playing in the middle of March.

After a 51-35 win over the D.C. Everest Evergreens Saturday night in Schofield, the Spartans will play the DePere Redbirds in a "Super Tuesday" game at 7 p.m. Tuesday at UW-Stevens Point. DePere advanced with a 59-47 win over Bay Port.

"We're looking at it as a quarterfinal game for the state championship," SHS coach Dave Kontny said. "When you're a sectional champion, you're a section champion, that much is clear.

"No matter what you call it, we're excited to be playing again and we know we have to play well Tuesday night for the chance to play in Madison."

Tuesday's winner will play in a state tournament semifinal game at 8:15 p.m. Friday.


Since SHS became a school in the mid-1960s, the Spartans' only trip to the state tournament came when they won it all in 1974.

"We're really excited, it's been a long time, 37 years since a sectional championship," Kontny said. "We were close a couple of years ago when we made it to the sectional championship game, so this is great for our community and our youth programs."

When asked during a teleconference about all the traveling the Spartans did over the weekend and what is the quickest way to get to Stevens Point, Kontny said, "the winning way."

"To be honest, the route we take to Point will be up to the bus driver," Kontny said. "We've traveled all over Minnesota and Wisconsin this season, so we're used to it. We're going to try and keep the same routine, make a couple of stops along the way and just try and keep loose."

The Spartans plan on returning home from Stevens Point after the game.

"We're planning on coming right back and go to school on Wednesday," Kontny said. "Then hopefully we'll be right back on the road again (for Madison on Friday)."

Standing in the way of Superior's trip to Madison are the DePere Redbirds, who are 23-2 on the season.

DePere received a No. 1 seed in it section and cruised past Green Bay Southwest 83-40 in the regional final. The Redbirds survived a 46-36 affair against Pulaski in the sectional semifinals, then beat fellow Fox River Classic co-champ Bay Port 60-47 to advance to Tuesday's showdown at UW-Stevens Point.


DePere will make just its second ever appearance in the quarterfinal round. The Redbirds last reached the state tournament in 1977, losing in their first and only game.

"Our city is excited and our school and players are excited," DePere coach Brian Winchester said. "We're not quite there yet (to state), so we're going to have to play well Tuesday night."

With DePere's sectional championship game played during the afternoon, Winchester and his coaching staff were able to watch the Superior-DCE game Saturday night.

"We have to control (Joel) Lindberg," Winchester said. "He's a very good player that can score in bunches, is a very strong kid and is very athletic. He likes to get within 15 feet, pull up and shoot.

"(Rob) Kraft is a factor as well. He shoots the 3 well, moves around the perimeter well and is a tough kid. And then (Josh) Kimmes inside, that kid has no problem finding the weight room, that's for sure. He's a presence on the inside on rebounding and can get the ball to the hoop with his left hand and soft touch on offense. They also have other kids that can shoot from the outside and we're going to have to handle that 1-2-2 zone they play."

The Spartans will have their hands full on defense trying to stop three players that are averaging in double figures for the Redbirds, senior guard Reece Zoelle (15.2), senior forward Chris Kading (14.4) and junior guard Brett Vanden Bergh (12.0), who scored a game-high 18 points on Saturday. Kading also leads the team with 7.6 rebounds per contest.

Lindberg and Kraft lead the Spartans in scoring with 17 and 16.3 points per game respectively. Kimmes adds 9.2 points and seven boards a game. Also expected in the starting lineup are Nathaniel Knutson and Dustin Hobson. Coming off the bench for Superior will be Ethan Anderson, Darcell Williams, Alex Tunnell and Cody Hunt. All are seniors expect Hunt, who is a junior.

SPARTAN SPIN: De Pere has no players shorter than 6-1 on its active roster. ... Germantown has also advanced to "Super Tuesday" with a 24-1 record. Its only loss was to DePere. ... As if the "Super Tuesday" designation wasn't confusing enough, Superior's history at the state tournament is just as cloudy. Superior High School is actually a consolidation of Central and East, which combined to make 33 trips to the state tournament and win four state championships. SHS has made the trip just once, when it won the gold ball in 1974. ... Superior ran the table with a perfect 8-0 record in the Lake Superior Conference. ... Superior ranks sixth in Division 1 scoring with just fewer than 68 points per game. ... Kontny earned his 200th career victory in a 73-66 win over Chippewa Falls in late February. ... Superior will have logged almost 1,500 miles of travel time this post season with two trips to Schofield on consecutive nights and a trip to Stevens Point Tuesday.

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