Girls finish fourth at state
Community enjoys 'ride of a lifetime'
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 7:55 AM
Class A State Tournament
Mt. Iron-Buhl 50, Sleepy Eye 31
Ada-Borup 67, Minneota 63
Maranatha Christian 76, Isle 58
Spring Grove 68, W-A-O 66 (OT)
Mt. Iron-Buhl 49, Ada-Borup 45
MCA 65, Spring Grove 61
Ada-Borup 70, Spring Grove 59
Maranatha 49, Mtn. Iron-Buhl 37
When the Spring Grove girls entered the "great eight" state tourney, they came in as the smallest school in the field, with just 86 students.
Defending Class A champion Maranatha Christian Academy was the largest school in the group, with twice as many pupils. The other teams averaged nearly 50 more students than did Spring Grove.
That didn't deter a gutsy group of Lions who closed at 28-5 with a fourth-place finish at state.
In each of the three games, the opponent opened with sensational shooting to put the Lions in an early double-digit hole. But each time, Spring Grove exhibited great heart with remarkable exhilarating rallies against high-powered opponents.
Only the first dramatic comeback resulted in a scoreboard victory. Both teams that edged out the Lions needed either a school or state tournament record to get it accomplished!
Both Richell Mehus and Taylor Elton were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Huge Spring Grove crowds and the well-traveled pep band attended each game in full volume while other Lion fans back home either listened to KFIL or KNEI radio broadcasts or watched live telecasts at home or at the Spring Grove Cinema.
The school's first-ever state-tourney basketball trip had begun on Wednesday with an entertaining outdoor school-wide send-off.
Following their emotional Saturday morning game, the girls attended the prestigious ExCEL Award ceremony at the Target Center for teammate Randi Mehus and Josh Olerud, two of only 32 students statewide to be so honored.
The amazing journey ended back in the Spring Grove Gymnasium with a welcome home celebration on Saturday evening. Almost every speaker, staff or student, had to fight back emotions while addressing a large and appreciative crowd.
Members of the community commented in the grocery store, on the street, on Facebook and anywhere else they gathered that the girls' trip to state was 'the ride of a lifetime' for the whole town!
This year is the 100th state basketball tournament in Minnesota with the first one being in 1913.