Shots were falling and bodies were flying as Superior cruised to a lopsided win over Cambridge-Isanti in pool play at the Twin Ports Summer Jam tournament Monday, July 26, at Cloquet Middle School.

The Spartans didn’t win the tournament on Tuesday, July 27, but their aggressive play is a positive sign for first-year coach Kory Deadrick. In addition to this week’s tournament, Superior has played in the St. Scholastica league, went to the Minnesota Duluth team camp and spent hours at open gyms working on skills and scrimmaging.

“They’re getting after it,” Deadrick said. “A lot of them haven’t played serious minutes since March — some have — but they’re hungry and they want to play. They want to see what they can do and now they’re putting in the work. I’m excited to see them play come wintertime.”

Deadrick hasn’t put together a starting lineup for the regular season yet, but he expects seniors Evan Bennett, Shane Leask and Robert Olson and junior Caden Bresnahan to all log major minutes for the Spartans.

Superior's Robert Olson brings the ball up the court during the Spartans game against Cambridge-Isanti at the Twin Ports Summer Jam Monday, July 26, 2021, at Cloquet Middle School. (Jamey Malcomb / jmalcomb@pinejournal.com)
Superior's Robert Olson brings the ball up the court during the Spartans game against Cambridge-Isanti at the Twin Ports Summer Jam Monday, July 26, 2021, at Cloquet Middle School. (Jamey Malcomb / jmalcomb@pinejournal.com)

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Bennett said he thinks Deadrick’s presence on the sideline has made a big difference already.

“One thing Kory preaches is having energy and always giving your max effort,” Bennett said. “I think that’s really helped us get a lot better in just a short amount of time.”

Bennett says the Spartans won’t be as big as some of the teams on the schedule this winter, but their speed will allow them to get out in transition and their ability to shoot from outside will be an asset.

Deadrick said his transition as the Spartans’ coach has gone well and he points to the senior leadership as one of the reasons why.

“It's been a good adjustment,” he said. “A lot of kids have a good base of knowledge and good skill sets ... It’s been a lot of fun, we’ve had a lot of kids and just competition and game-wise, and I think that starts with our senior group. They’re pushing each other, and I think there’s a lot of excitement around the upcoming season.”