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Prep report: Esko girls short-circuit Superior win streak

Feb. 5—SUPERIOR — Superior girls' basketball's bid for its first four-game winning streak of the season was foiled 63-53 by Esko on Monday night, Feb. 5.

Superior has won three in a row twice this year, but the home defeat dropped the Spartans fell to 12-8 overall with three games remaining in their regular season.

Esko, meanwhile, has achieved its second five-game win streak of the season. After winning its last road game of the regular season, Esko pursues its last four regular season games at home with a 15-6 mark.

Stats for Monday's game were not provided.

Solon Springs blitzed Hurley in the first half on Monday night, as the Eagles jumped out to an 18-1 lead in the opening 10 minutes of action.

Juniors Hannah Polkoski and Ella Postl led the early offensive charge for Solon Springs, guiding the Eagles to a 27-12 lead at the half. Polkoski and Postl both finished with 14 points, tied for a team-high figure.

Hurley, despite trailing at the break, responded with a scoring run in the second frame guided by senior guard Jaana Aukee, who finished with a game-high 29 points. Aukee and the Northstars eventually cut the lead to single digits, but Hurley ultimately came up short in the defeat.

With the win, Solon Springs improved 5-10 overall while Hurley slipped to 9-10 for the season.

Despite starting the season with just six varsity players, Solon Springs has won a handful of games this year and head coach Saah Smith believes her Eagles are capable of continuing their stretch of good basketball going into the upcoming playoffs.

"For starting the year with only six girls, we are celebrating that we are still playing this late in the season and have been mostly injury and sickness free," Smith said. "The girls are seeing that they are capable of playing good basketball and looking to make a run heading into (the) playoffs in two weeks. I am very proud of them playing team basketball and pulling out the win tonight."

Mountain Iron-Buhl's blowout home victory against Ely on Monday night marked the Rangers' 18th win in their last 19 games.

Senior guard Jordan Zubich was MIB's driving force against Ely, pouring in 31 points while shooting 10-for-13 from the floor, in addition to going 9-for-10 from the free throw line. She also tallied five rebounds, five assists and four steals in the win.

Anna Neyens and Gabby Lira supplemented Zubich's scoring against Ely, finishing with 15 and 10 points, respectively. The duo helped MIB build a 47-25 lead going into the break.

MIB tightened the screws defensively in the second half, holding Ely to just 11 points in the final 18 minutes while the Hunters scored 38 of their own. Lira was a large part of that effort, as the defensive menace snagged a game-high seven steals in the win.

The Rangers improved to 19-2 overall while Ely dropped to 15-5 for the season.

The Lumberjacks scored 53 first-half points and cruised to a home victory on Monday night, Feb. 5.

Lelani Fonoti led the charge with 23 points, while Ava Carlson added 16 and Carly Johnson 15.

Alyssa Grammer led Denfeld with 10 points.

Duluth Denfeld snapped its three-game skid with a double-digit win against Two Harbors largely because of senior Ethan Starstead.

Starstead imposed his will early and often, dominating the paint en route to a game-high 32 points against the Agates. He guided Denfeld to a 43-34 halftime lead, an advantage he and the Hunters expanded by outscoring the Agates by four points in the second half, leading to the lopsided victory.

Starstead paced the Hunters while Jace Gomez's 19 points led the charge for the Agates. Isaiah Hietala also had 13 points while Cash Williams poured in 11 in Two Harbors' defeat.

Starstead, who was averaging 13.7 points per game entering Monday night, carried the offensive load in the absence of junior guard MarNaries Ferguson, who has missed the last handful of games due to injury. Senior Mace Brooks, who finished with 14 points, was Denfeld's only other player in double figures.

With the win, Denfeld improved to 10-10 overall while Two Harbors dropped to 10-9 for the season.