Elizabeth Johnson searches for an opening at Grand Meadow.
Elizabeth Johnson searches for an opening at Grand Meadow.
The Lion girls (3-1, 3-0 SEC) managed to tough out a last-minute victory over SEC opponent Grand Meadow last Thursday, but fell to Iowa Class AAA Waukon the following night.

SG at Grand Meadow

After SG came battled back from an 11-point second half deficit, a 3-point basket by Julianna Sand put the Lions ahead for good with 24 seconds to go. Spring Grove won by four, 47-43.

The Lions hit only 3 of 6 free throws in the final 12 seconds, but steals by Nicki Ellingson and Lauren Arneson (6 steals) allowed SG to fend off GM in a white-knuckle finish. Elizabeth Johnson sealed the win, hitting 2 free throws with 3 seconds remaining.

The Lions' 75th straight conference victory was in peril all night. SG never led until a Samantha Bratland fast break with 6:57 left made it 33-32.

The teams then traded baskets with the Superlarks regaining the lead 42-41 with 1:06 to play. A free throw gave GM a 43-41 edge with 43 seconds on the clock.

Sand's late go-ahead field goal was her second trey and only the Lions' second triple of the game.

Each team battled to overcome major liabilities. GM struggled to get shots; SG struggled to make shots. Out-shot from the field 36% to 18%, the Lions suffered their coldest shooting in 10 years (almost to the day - December 13, 2003).

The Larks were besieged by their own fouls and turnovers. GM had 46 official shots and 42 rebounds but also 43 turnovers and 27 fouls. Three Superlarks fouled out.

SG attempted 80 shots compared to the Larks' 46, but GM still had a 39-30 scoring lead from the field.

The Lions won by getting to the foul line, where they shot often but not well. The SG girls missed more free throws than they made, hitting 17 of 36 (47%). But they allowed GM only 11 charity shots (4 for 11, 36%) and outscored the Larks by 13 points at the line.

With a flood of missed shots, there were plenty of rebounds - SG 49 and GM 42. Four players, two on each team, had double digit rebounds.

Bratland had a 16-point, career-high 17-rebound double double along with 5 steals and 2 assists. Ellingson had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Johnson had her best stat night with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 3 assists.

Two Superlarks combined for 34 of their team's 43 points. Junior guard Rachel Oehlke scored a game-high 21 points while tall sophomore center Rio Landers had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Junior center Jamie Stevens grabbed 10 rebounds.

Both teams arrived undefeated with GM at 2-0 following runaway wins over LeRoy-Ostrander and Lanesboro.

The B-team game had far less drama with the Lions winning 50-15. Eighth grader Lauryn Bohr had 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Both junior high teams fell by wide margins versus Caledonia.

Varsity numbers at Grand Meadow

all FG: SG 18% (14-80), GM 39%

3-pt FG: SG 15% (2-13), GM 50% (3-6)

2-pt FG: SG 18%, GM 38%

FT: SG 47% (17-36), GM 36% (4-11)

Rebounds: SG 49, GM 42

Turnovers: SG 22, GM 43

Fouls: SG 18, GM 27

INDIVIDUALS: P-points, R-rebounds, A-assists, S-steals, B-blocked shots, H-hustle points, * starter.

*Bratland 16P, 17R, 2A, 5S, 5H; *Ellingson 10P, 10R, 2A, 3S, 6H; Johnson 8P, 6R, 3A, 4S; *Sand 7P, 2R, 3S, 6H; *Arneson 2P, 3R, 4A, 6S, 8H; Aly Folz 2P, 4R, 1S; *Kailee Bjerke 1P, 4R, 3H; Jordan Anderson 1P, 3R, 1A, 1S.

B-team stats at Grand Meadow

*Lauryn Bohr 15P, 11R, 3S, 1H: *Harlee Gavin 2P, 2R, 3A, 3S; *Grace Edgington 8P, 5A, 1S; *Breanna Lee 9P, 6R, 1A, 1S, 2H; Desirae Brainard 4P, 6R; *Kelsey Hermanson 12P, 9R, 6A, 8S, 6H; also playing Hannah Borreson

SG vs. Waukon

SG rebounded and handled the ball well but could not shoot well enough to stay with the Indians, losing 37-45. It didn't help that one out of every five Lion shots from the field were blocked by tall and athletic Waukon post players.

Free throws cannot be blocked, but SG shot a miserable 37% at the foul line (7 for 19).

Fourteen offensive rebounds helped the Lions attempt 19 more shots from the field and 14 more free throws than did the visitors.

SG out-rebounded the taller team 36 to 34 and had only 13 turnovers to the Indians' 18.

Waukon was ineffective getting to and scoring at the foul line (1 for 5) but out-shot SG from the field 42% to 25%.

That Waukon free throw futility all came while the Indians were running their delay offense during the final seven minutes. Trying to protect a lead, Waukon missed the front ends of three 1-and-1 trips during the final 2:06.

SG forced 7 of the Indians' 18 turnovers down the stretch and cut a 16-point Waukon lead in half, but it was too late.

There had been five lead changes, all on the way to a 22-22 halftime tie. But Waukon scored the first 10 points of the second half while SG missed 10 straight shots (4 blocked).

SG gave up two Indian fast-break baskets during that critical stretch. The Lions were outscored in transition 12 points to 5 for the night.

Ellingson had SG highs with 14 points and 11 rebounds, her second double double in two nights. Sand and Bratland (fighting an injury) each collected 7 rebounds while Johnson and Arneson each passed out 2 assists with no turnovers.

The Indians worked the ball inside during the first half and then displayed outside shooting ability in the second.

Waukon 6-foot-1 senior center Alyssa Collins had a 13-point, 15-rebound double double and blocked at least 6 shots.

Senior guard Kiersten Christianson scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half while junior point guard Thea Meyer directed the attack, dishing out 5 assists.

The Minnesota Class A Lions are at 3-1 (3-0 SEC) after suffering their first loss of the young season against Iowa Class AAA Waukon. The Indians improved to 3-2, recording their fourth straight win over SG.

The Lion B-team (2-1) also lost for the first time, 47-24.

Up Next: SG traveled to Lanesboro on Tuesday, Dec 17. On Friday, the Lions host Schaeffer Academy. Holiday Festival action kicks off on Thursday Dec. 26, when SG plays at Caledonia. The same venue features a Spring Grove vs, Holmen game on the Saturday Dec. 28.

Varsity numbers vs. Waukon

all FG: SG 25%, Wau 42%

3-pt FG: SG 0% (0-5), Wau 50% (2-4)

2-pt FG: SG 28%, Wau 41%

FT: SG 37% (7-19), Wau 20% (1-5)

Rebounds: SG 36, Wau 34

Turnovers: SG 13, Wau 18

Fouls: SG 10, Wau 16

INDIVIDUALS: *Ellingson 14P, 11R, 1A, 6H; *Bratland 6P, 7R, 2S, 5H; Bjerke 6P, 2R, 1H; *Arneson 3P, 2R, 2A, 1S, 2H; *Sand 2P, 7R, 4S, 2H; Folz 2P, 2R, 2A, 1S, 2H; *Johnson 2P, 3R, 2A, 1S, 3H; Anderson 2P, 2R, 1H.

B-team stats versus Waukon

ALL FG: SG 26%, W 29%

3-pt: SG 50% (1-2), W 0% (0-1)

2-pt: SG 25%, 30%

FT: SG 38% (3-8), W 50% (3-6)

Rebounds: SG 19, W 42

Turnovers: SG 30, W 19

Fouls: SG 11. W 11

*Bohr 3P, 6R, 2S, 4H; Gavin 3P, 1R, 1A, 3S, 2H; *Edgington 2P. 1R, 2H; Borreson 1S; *Anderson 4P, 3R, 1A, 3H; *Lee 2P, 1R, 4H; Brainard 2P, 1R, 1A; *Hermanson 8P, 6R, 4A, 2S, 6H.



Southeast Conference Girls Basketball through Dec. 16 games

EAST DIVISION

Houston 3-0 SEC (4-1 all)

Spring Grove 3-0 SEC (3-1 all)

Mabel-Canton 2-1 SEC (3-2 all)

Lanesboro 1-2 SEC (1-6 all)

Hope Lutheran 0-3 SEC (1-5 all)

WEST DIVISION

Lyle/Pacelli 3-0 SEC (4-0 all)

Grand Meadow 2-1 SEC (2-2 all)

LeRoy-Ostrander 1-2 SEC (1-2 all)

Schaeffer Academy 0-3 SEC (1-3 all)

Glenville-Emmons 0-3 SEC (0-4 all)