State girls basketball: Superior falls to Oak Creek in championship game

GREEN BAY -- When Jessica Lindstrom opened Saturday night's Wisconsin Division 1 girls basketball title game with an offensive rebound and a two-point putback, it felt like the beginning of Superior's coronation as state champs.

Girls basketball
Superior's Jessica Lindstrom looks for an opening past Oak Creek's Stephanie Kostowicz during Saturday's Wisconsin Division I girls basketball championship game in Green Bay. (Jed Carlson /

GREEN BAY - When Jessica Lindstrom opened Saturday night’s Wisconsin Division 1 girls basketball title game with an offensive rebound and a two-point putback, it felt like the beginning of Superior’s coronation as state champs.
The Spartans’ 6-foot-1 star looked like she was going to pick up where she left off Friday when she scored 20 points and pulled down 18 rebounds in a narrow semifinal victory over Mukwonago. Red-hot Oak Creek, though, looked everything like the best team in Wisconsin while riding the all-state duo of Stephanie Kostowicz and Tamya Sims to their 17th consecutive victory, 73-52 over Superior at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Kostowicz and Sims, both 6-2 centers, combined to score 37 points and thwart the Spartans’ bid for the first gold ball in program history. It was an anticlimactic finish to a brilliant season for Superior (24-4), which climbed to new heights on the backs of Lindstrom and fellow senior Hailey Kontny. The Spartans’ second consecutive trip to the state tournament - and just the third in team history - ended a win shy of what everybody in the baby-blue uniforms expected.
“It’s tough to lose a game like that,” Superior coach Phil Roe said. “At the same time, my girls really battled and played extremely hard. We had our chances and really chipped into their lead, and got the momentum at the beginning of the second quarter.”
Roe was talking about a near-disastrous start in which it looked like Superior was going to get run out of the gym immediately after Lindstrom’s putback. Oak Creek (26-2) ripped off a 16-2 run before the Spartans settled down and crawled back. A 3-pointer from Mackenzie Kmecik early in the second gave Superior a 19-18 lead, but it was short-lived as the Knights ended the opening half on another spurt, this time 18-8.
The Spartans had to expend a lot of energy just to get back into it one night after an emotional last-second win sent them into Saturday’s final.
“We weren’t just going to sit back and let them control it,” Roe said. “We had to take some chances. We set some traps, we scrambled and sometimes it worked and sometimes they hit 3s.”
Superior could only watch helplessly in the third quarter as Oak Creek put on a shooting clinic that sucked the drama out of the finish. The Knights shot almost 68 percent (25 of 37) from the field, including a dizzying 9 of 15 from beyond the arc. Every time the Spartans tried to mount a comeback, Oak Creek responded with a lethal 3-pointer.
Katie Finn was the chief antagonist. She made all three of her 3-point tries.
“Once we get hot, we normally stay hot,” Kostowicz said.
Told it was likely his team had just set a state record for field goal shooting percentage, Oak Creek coach Steve Hluchnik deadpanned: “That’s pretty good.”
Lindstrom led Superior with 23 points. She added 17 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive end as she repeatedly got to the free-throw line. The all-time leading scorer in Superior history proved a handful for Kostowicz and Sims.
“She got us in foul trouble,” Sims said sheepishly. “You always need to know where she’s at on the court, which is difficult because she’s always moving around.”
“She’s strong - she’s so strong,” Kostowicz said. “She’s really hard to defend, especially when you’re trying to box her out. It’s impossible to get around her.”
Kontny, the spark plug who’s headed to Minnesota Duluth, had 16 points for the Spartans, who were beat at their own game. The highest-scoring team in the state struggled from the field, making just 17 of its 53 shots for a 32 percent mark while watching the Knights race up and down the court pumping in 3s almost at will.
“They didn’t seem to have an answer for us, for our offense,” Hluchnik said.
Now, Roe and the Spartans face a harsh reality of having to move on without their seniors.
“They’re irreplaceable,” Roe said. “They’re players that have kind of changed the game of basketball in Superior.
“They left behind a legacy for future generations.”

  • Lindstrom and Kontny each were named to Wisconsin’s All-State First Team on Friday.
  • There is a welcome-home celebration for the Spartans at 4 p.m. today in the high school gymnasium. It is open to the public.

  RELATED CONTENT: Lindstrom's college coach likes what he sees

Oak Creek 18-18-20-17-73

Superior 14-13-12-13-52

Oak Creek - Tamya Sims 18, Stephanie Kostowicz 19, Hannah Settingsgaard 7, Jenna Santi 5, Katie Finn 15, Katie Settingsgaard 9. Totals 25 14-16 73.
3-point goals - Finn 3, K. Settingsgaard 3, Kostowicz, H. Settingsgaard, Santi.
Superior - Mackenzie Kmecik 5, Jessica Lindstrom 23, Alyssa Correll 2, Hailey Kontny 16, Rachal Fregin 6. Totals 17 13-22 52.
3-point goals - Kontny 2, Fregin 2, Kmecik.


Girls basketball
Superior's Mackenzie Kmecik moves the ball past Oak Creek's Jenna Santi during Saturday's Wisconsin Division I girls basketball championship game in Green Bay. (Jed Carlson /

What To Read Next
Get Local