Superior Central girls basketball team working hard to improve

Superior Central’s Riley Johnson, right, dribbles out of the corner as North Dickinson’s Micah Lindholm defends in their Skyline Central Conference game played March 15 in Felch. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Matt McCarthy)

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of season previews of Marquette and Alger County high school basketball teams as the girls’ season started Monday and the boys season commences next Monday.


EBEN — The Superior Central girls have an opportunity to see how far experience can take them this basketball season.

Superior Central has eight on its team, including six seniors. Among the returners are 5-foot-9 senior forward-centers Riley Johnson and Emma Rutter.

Johnson averaged 12 points a game last season, and Rutter carried an 11-point average.

Superior Central's Emma Rutter, center, attempts a layup between Rapid River defenders, from left, Aerianna Spriks, Kristin Goodacre and Shania Poore, in their MHSAA Division 4 district tournament game played March 2, 2020, at Mid Peninsula in Rock. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Justin St. Ours)

“This is a culmination of everything,” second-year coach Skip Rutter said. “We have a lot of senior leadership. The girls made a run (to the MHSAA Division 4 regional finals) in volleyball, which I think will help them mentally.”

Additional seniors include 5-10 center Olivia Millin, 5-8 forward Maggie Rondeau, 5-7 forward Katrina Augustyn and 5-6 guard Charlotte Charlebois.

“Everything was new last year,” Coach Rutter said. “The girls are more familiar with our system. Although, we’re far from perfect with it. We’ll just have to keep plugging away.”

Also returning are 5-8 junior point guard Maddie Begovac and 5-7 sophomore guard Alice Hancock, who moved up from the JV team for the district tournament.

“They’re also a big part of our team,” Coach Rutter said. “We struggled a little at the point last year, although I think we’ll be stronger with that this year. Our experience will be a strength, and we have a little bit of height, length and quickness. We have to continue to perfect our system, and we’re trying to do the same thing on the JV level.”

Norway's Danae Anderson, left, and McKenna Neuens, second from right, defend Superior Central's Charlotte Charlebois in the first quarter of a game at Norway on Feb. 25, 2020. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo)

The Cougars plan to use man-to-man as their base defense.

“We always run a lot of man-to-man and should be stronger on defense this year,” Rutter said. “We’ll run some zone, too. Everybody is going to have an opportunity to play a lot of minutes. Offensively, we’ll play more of a half-court game and run a lot of motion.”

What can the Cougars expect in their opener?

“I watched a lot of film on them (Stephenson) the other day,” Rutter said. “They lost some good seniors. I don’t think they’re overly big, but they’ll also run a lot of motion. I’m sure they’ll be a challenge.”

Rutter, however, points to D-4 state semifinalist Carney-Nadeau as the team to beat in the Skyline Central Conference.

“Tessa Wagner is going to be a load,” he said. “They’re the favorite to come out of the U.P. We’re at Munising for our second game. They’re always going to be tough, and Bark River-Harris is always tough. They (BR-H) know their system inside-out.

“We’re just trying to concentrate on what we can do. We just need to get better overall.”

The Cougars are on the road for their first three games before hosting Brimley on Dec. 11.


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