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Prep girls basketball: Raye leads Superior past Northwestern

The Tigers are still a “work in progress,” according to coach Paul Eberhardt, but should improve as the season moves forward.

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Superior’s Emma Raye (34) reverses the ball as she gets trapped by Northwestern’s Tieryn Plasch (1) and Abby Wennersten (23) in the first half of the game in Superior on Friday evening, Dec. 17, 2021. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
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Superior’s Emma Raye took over the second half of the Spartans’ game against Northwestern Friday in Superior.

Raye scored 17 of her game-high 26 points in the second half and almost as important as her six field goals was her defense. At one point, with the Spartans looking to close out the game, Raye forced a Tiger player into an awkward shot under the basket. The Tigers got the rebound, but Raye was able to recover to block the putback and then took the ball all the way down the court for a layup and give the Spartans a 23-point lead they would eventually turn into a 60-37 win.

“I saw my opportunity because she was ready to shoot it,” Raye said. “I put my hand up, blocked it and I just sprinted down the court.”

The shot was part of a 37-point second half for the Spartans after struggling to a 23-23 tie at halftime.

Northwestern came out in a zone to try to limit Raye’s drives to the basket and force the Spartans to hit shots from the outside. The Spartans struggled to hit those shots in the first half, but Savannah Leopold hit two deep 3s early in the second half that were sandwiched around another shot from deep by Raye.

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“They hit three straight deep 3s and we’re like ‘Ok, we’ve got to get out further,” Tigers coach Paul Eberhardt said. “So we ended up getting out and then Emma Raye’s really good. She’s a really good athlete, she’s the whole package. She’s got a big physical frame, she’s athletic, she shoots it and she has the ability to put it on the ground and go by us.”

The additional scoring for Superior allowed them to set up a full-court press, creating more turnovers and allowing Raye and other Spartan players to get out in the open floor for easy buckets.

“I think our pressure took its toll,” Superior coach Dave Kontny said. “We came out from half and said just relax on our shooting. Then we knocked down three 3s and we went into our press. We got some momentum going and you could just feel the energy coming on and they struggled with our pressure.”

Raye was happy with the performance coming off the Spartans’ 59-45 loss Tuesday to Proctor. They didn’t play as a team against the Rails, but really came together against the Tigers.

“One thing that’s so special about our team, once we work together, all of us can start to score,” Raye said. “All of us are great basketball players, we just need to share the ball and get other people open for them to show their talents.”

Eberhardt said the Spartans were a bad matchup for Northwestern, but the Tigers are still learning after losing seven players to graduation and another that moved out of the area.

Reigning Superior Telegram All-Area Player of the Year Tieryn Plasch scored 17 to lead the Tigers, but she was the only Northwestern player in double figures.

“She’s really good, but one of our issues is we have to figure out ways to get others involved and have them step up,” Eberhardt said. “I told everyone that listened early on that this is going to be a work in progress. We’ve got to figure out how to play and once we do that, I think we’ll be pretty good.”

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Northwestern 23-14—37

Superior 23-37—60

Northwestern — Tieryn Plasch 17, Gabby Risley 5, Alison Raboin 6, Madi Guentzel 3, Shayna Wick 5, Abby Wennersten 1. Totals 15 2-3 37.

3-point goals — Plasch 2, Risley, Raboin, Guentzel.

Superior — Annabel Manion 2. Emma Cooper 2, Kloe Zentkowski 7, Savannah Leopold 14, Eva Peterson 9, Emma Raye 26. 21 10-12 60

3-point goals — Leopold 4, Eva Peterson 2, Raye 2.

Related Topics: BASKETBALLGIRLS BASKETBALL
Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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