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Always striving: Raye pushed herself, Spartans to work hard, have fun

Superior's Emma Raye is the Telegram's 2022 Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

Superior’s Emma Raye holds a basketball in the storage room at Superior High School
Superior’s Emma Raye holds a basketball in the storage room at Superior High School on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. The junior, who averaged 18.4 points per game for the Spartans, has been named the 2022 Superior Telegram Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

SUPERIOR — With 18.4 points per game and a .411 shooting percentage, Emma Raye, a junior shooting guard for Superior High School, is the Telegram's 2022 All-Area Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

This year's team features seven juniors and three sophomores.

Raye is a three-year starter who scored a total of 461 points this season and helped lead the Spartans to a regional title.  

“Emma leads by example, and she is a humble person that is never really satisfied with how she plays. She always wants to do better. She always has a great smile going and wants her team to be successful and have fun doing it,” said coach Dave Kontny.

The Spartans finished the season 20-5, which Raye said "was a huge accomplishment for us."

“As a team, I think we knew that we had a lot of talent; we just didn’t know how good we would be," she said.

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Next season, she would like to see the team improve at ball movement.

"I think the one thing we need to work on is swinging the ball and looking for open people. I feel like we do a good job of it already, but being able to move the ball faster than the defense will create a better win average than this season,” Raye said. “In order to do this, I feel we need to work hard and be aware of where we are and who is around us on the court.” 

Personally, Raye said she didn't know what to expect coming off a season shortened by COVID-19. She said she was surprised, but also proud of what she achieved on the court.

Superior’s Emma Raye (34) smiles as she cuts off a piece of net
Superior’s Emma Raye (34) smiles as she cuts off a piece of net after the Spartans defeated Eau Claire Memorial for a WIAA Divison 5 regional championship in Superior on Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Even so, she already knows what she wants to improve upon for next season. 

“My goal next year is to be more patient. At times I tend to go a little too fast, which can cause turnovers,” she said.

Hard work and dedication to the game led Raye and the Spartans all the way to the sectional semifinals. The team had to grind out a win against Eau Claire Memorial for the regional title, a win that echoed beyond the halls of the high school to the city at large.

“Being able to pull that off was such a great feeling. Our whole team had shown grit throughout the entire game, especially being down most of the way,” said Raye. “Also, being able to make our city proud is always a good feeling, especially when girls basketball hasn’t won a regional final in a couple of years.” 

Superior’s Emma Raye poses for a photo in the hallway at Superior High School
Superior’s Emma Raye poses for a photo in the hallway at Superior High School on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Raye has been named the 2022 Superior Telegram Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Having coached her for three seasons, Kontny said Raye has improved each year.

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“Watching her grow has been so much fun,” he said.

Despite her individual achievements, Kontny said Raye puts the team first.

“Emma knows that every great player is surrounded by great teammates and that only teamwork and hard work bring success to players and their teams, and she embraces her teammates, encourages them to push themselves, and wants them to be successful,” said Kontny.

Indeed, Raye said she could not have become the player she is today without help.

“I would just love to say thank you to all the people who have helped me in my life, including my family, friends, teammates, and coaches, for creating such a strong support system for me,” she said.

Superior’s Emma Raye (34) smiles as she gets ready to check back into the Spartans game
Superior’s Emma Raye (34) smiles as she gets ready to check back into the Spartans game with Eau Claire Memorial in February. Raye has been named the 2022 Superior Telegram Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Superior Telegram Girls Basketball Players of the Year

2022 — Emma Raye, Jr., Superior

2021 — Tieryn Plasch, So., Northwestern

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2020 — Karsyn Jones, Sr., Northwestern

2019 — Morgan Anderson, Sr., Solon Springs

2018 — Katie Lundeen, Sr., Northwestern

2017 — Katie Lundeen, Jr., Northwestern

2016 — Mackenzie Kmecik, Sr., Superior

2015 — Megan Gustafson, Sr., South Shore

2014 — Jessica Lindstrom, Sr., Superior

2013 — Jessica Lindstrom, Jr., Superior

2012 — Jessica Lindstrom, So., Superior

2011 — Jessica Lindstrom, Fr., and Hailey Kontny, Fr., Superior

2010 — Annie Block, Jr., Northwood

2009 — Ashlee Blegen, Sr., Northwood

2008 — Gretchen Grube, Sr., Northwestern

2007 — Lindsey Lindstrom, Sr., Superior

2006 — Lindsey Lindstrom, Jr., Superior

2005 — Lindsey Lindstrom, So., Superior

2004 — Jolene Anderson, Sr., South Shore

2003 — Nancy McConkey, Sr., Maranatha

2002 — Katie Moench, Sr., Maranatha

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