Lion senior Julianna Sand shoots over Fillmore Central defenders Sammi Bakke (#32) and Morgan Malley (#10). Photo by Jon Speltz
Lion senior Julianna Sand shoots over Fillmore Central defenders Sammi Bakke (#32) and Morgan Malley (#10). Photo by Jon Speltz
The Spring Grove girls' season ended at (19-8) in the 1A East Sub-section semi-finals versus Fillmore Central March 4. The 51-40 struggle featured a season-low 9 field goals for SG, which succumbed to a second-half scoring drought for a second time this year to the selfsame Falcons.

The Lions remained in contention with free throws but finished with their second lowest points output of the year.

Two post players shared the KFIL Radio Lion Player of the Game Award. Junior Samantha Bratland scored 18 points. Senior Nicki Ellingson closed out her high school career with 14 points and a team-best 8 rebounds.

Ellingson left the game briefly with an ankle injury, and point guard Lauren Arneson left with a head injury in the final minute.

FC was led by 5-foot-4 freshman point guard Kenzie Broadwater, who passed out 7 assists, one more than the Lion team (another SG season low). With 15 points, the Fillmore Central Player of the Game was also the only Falcon scoring in double figures.

The Game Ball Award went to 6-foot junior forward Sammi Bakke, who had 8 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

SG paid attention to Morgan Malley, who had scored 30 points and rebounded 8 times against the Lions back in January. At sub-section, the 5-8 junior guard was held to 8 points and 4 rebounds.

The game began badly for SG with turnovers and missed shots helping FC take a 9-2 lead. But the Lions began to hit a few shots to answer with an 11-2 run, the first of 4 lead changes.

Offensive rebounds and a 3-point basket by Malley put FC ahead at halftime. Even though Spring Grove had struggled mightily in that first half with 13 turnovers, the Lions were only 3 points down at intermission (22-19).

A 13-to-10 rebounding margin and 6-for-8 shooting from the foul line helped SG keep things close. Unfortunately for the Lions, while ball handling improved greatly in the second half with only 6 turnovers, shooting and rebounding went downhill.

After hitting 38% before the break, the Lions shot a frigid 16% in the second half and were out-rebounded 19 to 12. SG stayed in the game by getting to the foul line, sinking 13 of 18 free throws (73%) for the night.

Then, with a 6-point run, SG tied the score at 29-all with just under 12 minutes to play. Offensive rebounds helped FC score the next 4 points. That began a game-deciding 16-4 Falcon run featuring 3 perimeter baskets and 2 fast breaks.

The Lion defense also broke down by allowing 2 scoring dribble drives and not protecting the basket on an in-bounds play.

On the other end of the floor, SG did not hit a basket during the final 9 minutes. While the Lions came up empty with their final 10 attempts from the field, they could have hardly been better at the foul line, hitting 9 of 10 free throws. But scoring their final 9 points from the foul line was not enough to cut into a 12-point deficit.

The Falcons went to a delay offense for the final 3 and half minutes. Forcing SG to foul, FC hit only 6 of 14 late free throws. But with no Lion baskets, the Falcons survived.

FC had received the No. 2 seed and SG the No. 3 slot due to the Falcons' 65-53 win at SG in late January. That game had also been tied in the second half before a 12-point Falcon run during a 5-minutes-plus SG scoring drought doomed the Lions.

That regular-season decision snapped the Falcons' nine-game losing skid against SG while the playoff result halted the Falcons' five-game postseason slide versus the Lions. FC had been eliminated at sub-section by SG in five of the six previous seasons.

With no seniors on the roster, FC started 3 juniors and 2 freshmen and advanced to the championship game for the third time in six seasons. There the Falcons (14-13) fell for the third time this season to No. 1 seed Rushford-Peterson 34-20.

After winning the last three sub-section championships, SG saw the end of a five-year streak of playing in the championship game. The Lions still lead the series with FC, 18-12.

all FG: SG 26%, FC 37%

3-pt: SG 20% (3-15), FC 33% (4-12)

2-pt: SG 30%, FC 38%

FT: SG 73% (19-26), FC 45% (9-20)

Rebounds: SG 25, FC 29

Turnovers: SG 19, FC 13

Fouls: SG 21, FC 18


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

*Bratland 18P, 3R, 1S, 5H; *Ellingson 14P, 8R, 1B, 5H; *Arneson 2P, 5R, 1A, 3S, 6H; *Jordan Anderson 2P, 2R, 3A, 2H; Kelsey Hermanson 2P, 2R; Elizabeth Johnson 1P, 3R, 2H; *Julianna Sand 1P, 1R, 1A, 1S, 1B, 5H; Kailee Bjerke 1R; Aly Folz 1A; also playing Amanda Hahn

Sub-section 1A-East

Girls Basketball 2014

#9 Lanesboro 63, #8 Houston 50

#7 Hope Lutheran 42, #10 Schaeffer Academy 38

Sub-section Quarterfinals

#1 Rushford-Peterson 79, Lanesboro 38

#4 Mabel-Canton 51, #5 Wabasha-Kellogg 44

#2 Fillmore Central 48, Hope Lutheran 45

#3 Spring Grove 64, #6 Kingsland 44

Sub-section Semi-finals

Rushford-Peterson 68, Mabel-Canton 60

Fillmore Cent. 51, Spring Grove 40

Sub-section Championship Finals

Rushford-Peterson 34, Fillmore Central 20


Section 1A championship March 13, Rochester 6:00 p.m.

Rushford-Peterson vs. Goodhue - winner advances to state