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Spartan boys clinch LSC title

The Superior High School boys basketball team breathed a sigh of relief Thursday night after defeating Hermantown 65-62 in Superior. With 22.5 seconds to play, Superior led 63-56 and Spartan fans had already begun celebrating their team's victory...

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Superior's Brett Lozon (21) shoots over Hermantown's Nick Bostrom (5) in the first half of the Spartans win in Superior on Thursday evening. (Jed Carlson/jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

The Superior High School boys basketball team breathed a sigh of relief Thursday night after defeating Hermantown 65-62 in Superior.

With 22.5 seconds to play, Superior led 63-56 and Spartan fans had already begun celebrating their team’s victory.

But a perfect storm of events left Hermantown a chance to tie the game at the free-throw line with 5.9 seconds to play.

Shooting was the Hawks’ Thomas Madison. To that point the senior had been astounding at the free-throw line, making 22-of-22 shots.

He’d been fouled on a 3-point shot and needed to make all three to tie the game.

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Madison swished the first two to make it 63-62 before SHS coach Jake Smith used his final timeout.

“We were preparing for the make. We know Thomas is a great free-throw shooter,” Smith said.

The Spartans drew up a play to get the ball to one of their two returning starters - Brett Lozon and Brandon Myer - and hoped they’d have time to get off a desperation shot at the buzzer.

But luck smiled upon Superior when Madison’s third shot bounced out, and Myer grabbed the rebound. He was promptly fouled and made a pair of free throws to give Superior the 65-62 victory.

“We were definitely prepared that he (Madison) was going to make that, and then we’d have to make another miracle play that we’ve seemed to do the past five games,” Smith said. “Out of the last five games, we’ve won by a total of 12 points.”

The tight finish Thursday came after Hermantown’s Nick Bostrom slipped inside for a layup with 14 seconds on the clock and was shoved after the play to draw a technical foul. Bostrom made both penalty shots to cut Superior’s lead to 63-60.

The Hawks then got the ball to Madison, who drew contact at the arc and headed to the free-throw line for three shots.

“Down the stretch, I thought we lost our emotions tonight,” Smith said. “When you let your emotions get the best of you, sometimes that can unravel out of control very quickly, and we kind of saw that happening right before our eyes.”

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The stakes were high for Superior Thursday. The Spartans entered the game four points ahead of Hermantown in the Lake Superior Conference standings, and the victory clinched Superior’s second consecutive LSC title.

Superior is now 16-2 overall and 8-0 in the LSC.

“That’s our No. 1 goal every year - to win conference,” Myer said. “It’s the second year in a row, and we’re happy to win it. It means a lot.”

Myer finished with 26 points for the Spartans, including 14 in the first half when Superior was forced to rally from a 13-point deficit.

Hermantown was led by Madison, who finished with 25 points.

Madison helped the Hawks get off to a fast start with his first free throws of the night at 16:18 to give Hermantown a 6-0 lead. Myer scored Superior’s first basket on a pass from Lozon at 16:06, but a three-point play by Zack Brendon and a 3-pointer by Christian Comstock put the Hawks up 11-2.

By 12:21, Hermantown had extended its lead to 19-6.

“We’ve been doing that too often this year,” Myer said. “We dig a hole, and then we have to work our way out of it. But our record shows we fight back every single time.”

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Superior’s comeback began with a layup and free throw from Shaun Petrovich. Myer cut the lead to seven with a 3-pointer, and Superior remained close until overtaking Hermantown in the final four minutes of the half. The Spartans scored the last eight points of the first half to take a 31-29 lead.

Superior opened the second half with a 13-6 run to lead 44-35 at the 10-minute mark. Hermantown closed to within five after a 3-pointer from Comstock and four free throws from Madison, and at 5:03 Myer picked up his fourth personal foul and headed to the bench.

With Myer out of the game, Lozon took over for Superior. The senior scored six points and dished out an assist in the next two minutes.

“Lozon’s a competitor. He’s a player,” Myer said.

Lozon scored 10 points in the second half and helped Superior to leads of nine and seven points before Hermantown nearly tied the game in the closing seconds.

“I thought Brett was huge there in the second half,” Smith said. “He’s so quick. He’s always strong with the basketball, and he was able to try to drive by his defender. If he can get in the middle of the paint area, rise up and knock those down or shoot the floater, that’s one of Brett’s best shots right there.”

Lozon finished with 14 points for Superior, while Bostrom and Comstock had 13 apiece for Hermantown.

The Hawks were 27-of-39 from the free-throw line, which included Madison’s 22-of-23 performance.

Superior was 15-of-20 from the line, led by Myer going 8-for-8.

The Spartan boys host Duluth East at 7:15 p.m. today. The SHS and East girls play at 5:45 p.m.

 

Hermantown........................... 29    33   -        62

Superior................................. 31    34   -        65

Hermantown - Thomas Madison 25, Nick Bostrom 13, Christian Comstock 13, Zack Brendon 6, Nate Soumis 3, Caleb Steinert 2.

3-point goals - Comstock 4, Bostrom, Madison, Soumis.

Superior - Brandon Myer 26, Brett Lozon 14, Devin Borstad 5, Aaron O’Shaughnessy 5, Shaun Petrovich 5, Justin Reinkall 4, Garrett Hobson 3, Blake Graskey 3.  3-point goals - Myer 2, O’Shaughnessy, Hobson.

Related Topics: SUPERIORBASKETBALL
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