Jake Kraus executes reverse lay-up defended bt Grand Meadow's Brice Benson. The Spring senior contributed 8 points and 7 rebounds to Lions' sub-section scorching of the Superlarks.
Jake Kraus executes reverse lay-up defended bt Grand Meadow's Brice Benson. The Spring senior contributed 8 points and 7 rebounds to Lions' sub-section scorching of the Superlarks.
The Spring Grove Lions boys basketball team, ranked No. 9 in state polls, took their No. 2 sub-section seeding and hosted Grand Meadow on March 1, defeating the seventh-seeded Superlarks 81-38.

Senior captain Jake Kraus out-hustled two opponents for the opening tip and immediately put Spring Grove ahead in the first couple of seconds as the Lions advanced to the Sub-section 1A East semi-finals.

Spring Grove was ready to play. With six of the Lions' nine 3-point field goals coming early on, the Lions raced out to a 32-7 lead.

Aric Elton had game-high numbers with 25 points, 9 rebounds, five assists, four steals and two charges taken - all with no turnovers.

Blaine Storlie nailed 5 of 9 treys while scoring 20 points and becoming one of only a dozen Lion boys to score over 400 points during a single season.

Josh Olerud was the third Lion in double figures with 15 points. Kraus added 8 points with another 5 from Eli Gleason and 2 points each from Derek Johnson, Kyle Sylling, Alex Engelhardt and Brady Schuttemeier.

Dezmon Johnson, the lone Grand Meadow senior, closed his prep career with a team-high 11 points.

With 9 rebounds, Superlark sophomore point guard Trenton Bleifus (8 points) shared game rebounding honors, but the Lions forged a commanding 38 to 21 advantage on the boards.

In addition to Elton's 9 rebounds, Kraus collected 8 caroms and Gleason 5 with 3 each from Storlie and Sam Ellingson.

The Larks' only statistical edge came by hitting 74 percent of their free throws (14 for 19) while Spring Grove shot a more modest 57 percent (16 for 28).

The Lions shot a good 38 percent from beyond the arc. With a 15 to 29 turnover margin, the Lions shot more often and more accurately, topping Grand Meadow overall from the field 48 percent to 31 percent. The Lions outscored the Larks 24 to 5 with fast breaks.

Including previous 53-point and 31-point wins against Grand Meadow this season, Spring Grove has now won 29 straight in the series, which the Lions lead 38 to 13. Grand Meadow closed the season at 9-18.

Up Next: The Lions improved to 24-2 while advancing to the March 6 sub-section semi-finals against No. 3 Fillmore Central.

If Spring Grove defeats the Falcons, they will advance to the 1A East Sub-Section Championship at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 10 at the Mayo Civic Arena.

The winner of that game will take the court against the West Sub-Section champions on Thursday, March 15 at the same venue.