Blaine Storlie searches for an opening between Fillmore Central defenders Jake Tammel (#3) and Nick Powell.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->SGH/Jon & Makena Speltz
Blaine Storlie searches for an opening between Fillmore Central defenders Jake Tammel (#3) and Nick Powell.

SGH/Jon & Makena Speltz
Three home games kept the Spring Grove boys' basketball team busy last week. Along the way, they secured career win number 300 for their coach Wade Grinde. See a separate article in this week's Herald about Grinde's accomplishment.

Following a close win against Fillmore Central, the boys remained unbeaten in conference play with routs of Glenville-Emmons and Grand Meadow

SG versus Fillmore Central

The Lions prevailed 71-67 over Fillmore Central on Jan. 21 marking the 300th career victory for Head Coach Wade Grinde. The FC game is a non-conference contest that annually figures heavily into sub-section seeding.

Each team erased double-digit deficits. The score was tied with 1:20 remaining before the Lions iced the win, scoring the final four points at the free throw line.

Fillmore Central committed 32 turnovers and still had a chance to win at the end. The Falcons stayed in the game by dominating the boards, out-rebounding the Lions 40-26. Their height advantage and rebounding resulted in FC outscoring Spring Grove 14 to 5 in put-backs.

Ultimately, it all came back to the charity stripe. Spring Grove outscored their rivals by 10 points at the foul line in a four-point win.

Fillmore hit 6 three-point shots while the Lions netted a season-low 2 treys. That was mostly due to Spring Grove's ability to go inside with the dribble for 25 points.

Six-foot, three-inch senior center Dan Gatzke (KFIL-Radio Falcon Player of the Game) and 6-2 junior forward Nick Powell both had double doubles, finishing with 18 points, 12 rebounds apiece. Falcon 6-1 senior Jake Tammel added 13 points and 5 rebounds.

Three Lions also scored in double figures, led by Josh Olerud with a team-high 15 points (despite missing action after two early fouls).

Spring Grove received 13 points each from KFIL Lion Player of the Game Blaine Storlie and eighth-grader Chase Grinde, the KFIL Game Ball Award winner.

Storlie had an unusual cold night shooting from the field but hit 10 of 16 free throws including three that assured the win in the final half minute. The senior point guard also directed the offense with a career-high 9 assists along with 4 steals and 4 rebounds.

Sophomore Dustin Vickerman and freshman Brady Schuttemeier each added 8 points with freshman Alex Engelhardt and senior Brandon Schuttemeier supplying 7 points apiece. Engelhardt led Lion rebounding with 7. Olerud had 5 rebounds and Brady Schuttemeier 4.

The Falcons fell behind after seven early turnovers, but came back to score on 10 of 14 possessions and took a 31-20 lead.

Spring Grove responded with a 17-3 run to lead 37-34 at halftime and then opened the second half with a 16-5 run. That put the Lions up 53-39, the greatest spread of the game for either team.

While the momentum swung drastically to the home team, the Falcons suffered through 18 turnovers.

Falcon ball handling improved from that point on. They steadily climbed back into contention, closing to within two points with 3:29 to play.

Driving baskets from Engelhardt and Grinde appeared to fend off the Falcons at 67-61, but a minute and 28 seconds later, FC pulled even for the first time in the second half.

The Falcons got only 3 steals during the first 34 minutes of the game, but stunned the large vocal crowd by coming up with three straight thefts for 6 fast-break points within 47 seconds to tie the score at 67-all with 1:20 to go.

Olerud was fouled on a drive and put Spring Grove ahead again with a free throw. FC then missed a chance to tie or take the lead by missing two free throws with 54 seconds remaining.

With the Falcons forced to foul, Storlie dropped in two free throws. Down by three points, FC missed a possible tying trey and a rebound putback with four seconds to play.

Storlie added a free throw to make it a two-possession spread (71-67) with three seconds left. It was just enough to make academic the Falcons' half court desperation shot at the buzzer.

The Falcons struggled mightily against the Lions' full-court defensive pressure, which forced 15 turnovers.

The visitor's plight was complicated by Logan Masters sitting out much of the first half after being whistled for two fouls during the first three minutes.

Following a fourth foul two minutes into the second half, the junior point guard missed 11 of the final 18 minutes.

There were many players in foul trouble; one Falcon, Andrew Coyle, fouled out, and seven other players finished with four fouls each (FC 4, SG 3 - Olerud, Vickerman, and Storlie).

Subtracting the Falcons' two late desperation fouls, FC was whistled for only three more fouls than Spring Grove. But with the Lions repeatedly driving inside, Spring Grove was fouled 12 times while shooting, resulting in 22 free throws.

In the B-team game, the mostly-sophomore Falcons won 53-43 against the Lions' 2 sophomores, 2 freshmen and 5 eighth graders. Spring Grove sophomore Elliott Cross led all scorers with 24 points.

Lions versus Glenville-Emmons

Engelhardt exploded on Jan. 22 for a career-high 27 points while matching a personal-best 4 steals as Spring Grove completed a season sweep of visiting Glenville-Emmons 78-38.

Four Lions scored in double figures with Storlie adding 15 points, Olerud 12 and freshman Brady Schuttemeier 11. Cross contributed 6 points, Vickerman 4 and Grinde 3.

Senior guard 6-0 Nick Anderson led Wolverine scoring with 11 points.

The Lions' three top scorers were also the team's leading rebounders with 7 from Olerud and 5 each from Storlie and Engelhardt. In all, nine Lions were credited with rebounds. Despite the Wolverines' 6-foot, 2-inch senior Andrew Everson grabbing a game-high 9 boards, Spring Grove won the backboard battle 30 to 20.

Storlie was also the assist leader with 7 and the steals leader with 5. Gabe Solum and Grinde came off the bench for 4 and 3 assists respectively, each with only one turnover. Overall, the Lions had 20 assists with 16 turnovers.

The Lions repeatedly out-raced G-E while scoring a season-high 38 points in transition; nine successful fast breaks began with steals and another nine following rebounds.

The win over G-E was similar to the 74-30 road result back in early December. Both teams shot a little better (SG 49%, G-E 38%) in the rematch. Engelhardt nailed 11 of 16 shots from the field including a 3-for-3 result from beyond the arc. Overall Spring Grove was 6 for 18 (33%) on three-point shots while G-E hit 2 of 8 (25%).

The Lions continued to produce at the foul line, hitting 10 of 13 free throws (77%). The Wolverines sank 6 of 8 (75%).

Eight Lions grabbed 21 steals. With a season-high 36 turnovers for a Spring Grove opponent, the Wolverines had even less success against the aggressive Spring Grove defense than in their season opener.

As part of a boys/girls double header, there was no B-team game.

SG versus Grand Meadow

Spring Grove scored 11 three-point buckets and played with only 9 turnovers on Friday, overcoming a determined effort from SEC West leader Grand Meadow. The final favored the Lions, 66-47.

As Coach Grinde had told his players back in December after a 79-49 win in Grand Meadow, the Superlarks fielded a much-improved team the second time around.

Grand Meadow had fewer turnovers and fouls in the rematch. A challenging zone defense limited the Lions to half as many free throws (14) as they had in the first meeting (28), but Spring Grove attempted twice as many three-pointers as in December.

The Lions came in shooting a good 34% from three-point range for the season and hit an even better 39% on Friday (11 for 28). Spring Grove shot exactly 64% from the foul line in both games versus GM.

The Lions also defended well and limited the Larks to only 6 free throws (4 for 6). For the fourth straight game and for the 10th time in 17 games, the Lions made more free throws (9 for 14) than their opponent attempted.

Five Lions contributed to the 11-trey total, the second best of the season. Olerud had 4 triples on the way to a game-high 24 points.

Storlie, Spring Grove's all-time three-point leader, tossed in a pair of treys while scoring 11 points along with 6 assists.

Vickerman hit both of his three-point attempts, and Engelhardt also nailed two. Both finished with 8 points. Grinde used a three-ball for his 3 points.

Brandon Schuttemeier added 7 points and matched a career high with 12 rebounds. Brady Schuttemeier scored 5 points.

After being outrebounded by one back in December, the Lions had a 36 to 29 advantage in the rematch. In addition to Brandon's dozen, Engelhardt and Olerud each had 6 rebounds.

Engelhardt and Olerud also had 2 assists apiece, joining Storlie with more assists than turnovers. Overall, Spring Grove had 15 assists and only 9 turnovers.

The Lions did not match up well with 6-foot, 6-inch Bryce Benson who had scored 20 points with 13 rebounds when the teams first met.

But thanks to good post defense by Schuttemeier and Schuttemeier, the senior center was limited to only eight shots and 6 points in the rematch. Benson was still a force on the backboards with 12 rebounds.

Junior point guard Trenton Bleifus worked all night against the Lion full-court pressure defense and finished with 21 points, the only Lark scoring in double figures.

It was a three-point duel early with 4 Lion and 3 Superlark treys resulting in a 16-16 tie. Spring Grove took the lead for good at 21-18 with Grinde's triple.

The Lions trailed for most of the first seven minutes but led 30-26 at halftime. Olerud opened the second half with back-to-back three-point field goals to give his teammates their first double-digit lead.

It was the Lions' 31st straight win in a series they lead 40 to 13 and extended the Spring Grove conference-winning streak to 36 games.

After a 53-19 win in December, the Lion B-team (11-3) defeated GM again, 61-30. Cross scored 15 points and Dylan Kampschroer 13.

Up Next: On Friday, the Lions (13-4, 12-0 SEC) hit the road to LeRoy-Ostrander. The next afternoon is the makeup home game with Lansing Kee that was postponed due to icy conditions and no school on Monday. The B-team will tip off on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. with the varsity to follow at approximately 4:30 p.m.

Mabel-Canton visits Spring Grove on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Southeast Conference 2013

BOYS Basketball conf. season

EAST DIVISION W L W L

Spring Grove * 12 - 0 13 - 4

Lanesboro 11 - 1 12 - 4

Hope Lutheran 4 - 8 7 -10

Mabel-Canton 4 - 8 4 -12

Houston 1 -10 1 -16

WEST DIVISION

Grand Meadow 8 - 4 9 - 7

Schaeffer Academy 7 - 5 10 - 8

Lyle/Pacelli 7 - 5 9 - 8

Glenville-Emmons* 3 - 8 3 -13

LeRoy-Ostrander 2 -10 2 -15

* defending division champion