Nicole Ellingson battles for loose ball with Lydia Geving of Mabel-Canton.Closing in are Aly Folz (#40) and Sara Lind (#10).
Nicole Ellingson battles for loose ball with Lydia Geving of Mabel-Canton.

Closing in are Aly Folz (#40) and Sara Lind (#10).

The Spring Grove girls twice shot 37 percent from the field and twice scored the same number of points as they opened the season with a pair of resounding conference road wins - a 61-18 thrashing of Glenville-Emmons on Nov. 27 and three nights later a 61-35 triumph at Mabel-Canton.

SG at Glenville-Emmons

It was a road game for the Lions, who took up where they left off in Southeast Conference (SEC) competition, notching a 55th straight conference victory.

Senior point guard Addison Cross scored a career-high 26 points, sinking six of nine from beyond the arc. Junior forward Nicole Ellingson grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds along with a personal-best six steals. Junior guard Julianna Sand also had career-highs with five steals, eight points and two assists.

Other personal records were set by Randi Mehus (5 assists), Samantha Bratland (3 steals) and Aly Folz (3 steals).

Neither team shot well from the free-throw line (SG 2 for 8, G-E 4 for 10) or from the field (SG 37%, G-E 16%). Spring Grove missed seven lay-ups. The exception was the Lions' 44% in three-point attempts (7 for 16). Most of that was provided by Cross.

As one-sided as the score appears, it could have been worse; the Lions led 49-7 at halftime. The running-clock rule was in effect for much of the second half. Sand and Bratland came in off the bench for an identical eight points apiece; Mehus added seven, and Ellingson chipped in five.

Ball control didn't hurt the visitors' effort. Spring Grove had 17 assists with only nine turnovers. Mehus was among seven Lions with more assists than turnovers including the other four starters - Cross, Nikki Hansen, Ellingson and Folz - and reserves Sand and Lauren Arneson. Lion defenders forced 29 Wolverine turnovers.

Spring Grove started three seniors and two juniors, but all 13 Lions in uniform saw action. It was the varsity debut for sophomore Kailee Bjerke, freshman Jordan Anderson and eighth-grader Kelsey Hermanson.

G-E sophomore guard Madi Ziebell hit the first basket in each half and led Wolverine scorers with seven points. Senior guard Jaden Rasmussen, only five feet, six inches in height, rebounded 10 times.

The Lion B-team also won handily, 44-4.

Spring Grove at Mabel-Canton

Spring Grove scored an identical number of points on the way to defeating the Cougars, 61-35 three nights later.

Spring Grove cruised to victory with ball control, dominating on the offensive boards, giving up fewer turnovers, and grabbing three times as many steals.

Even though the Cougars (1-1 SEC) had enough height to block 10 Lion shots, they failed to snag any offensive rebounds.

Each team recorded 17 defensive rebounds. Spring Grove had 15 offensive boards, but Mabel-Canton was hampered by a lack of second chances.

With 40 turnovers (10 forced by the Lion full-court press) and no second shots, the Cougars only got about half as many shots at the hoop (35) as Spring Grove (69).

Those 10 blocked shots helped M-C outshoot Spring Grove 43% to 37%, including a much better average in treys completed (3 of 8 compared to 3 of 14). Even so, it wasn't enough to make up for the lack of offensive opportunities.

Four of the five scoring runs belonged to Spring Grove. The Lions used a 9-point run to go up 13-2, but the Cougars answered with 9-point run of their own. That was followed immediately by a 10-2 Spring Grove spurt that led to a 28-17 halftime margin.

The visitors put the game out of reach with a 12-2 start to the second half. A later 8-0 run gave the Lions their greatest lead of 28 points at 51-23.

One area of improvement for the Lions was their shooting from the charity stripe. After hitting only 25% in game one, they made 57% on Friday.

Their biggest disappointment was probably the fact that they gave up 22 turnovers after losing the ball only nine times versus the Wolverines.

Bratland snagged a game-high seven rebounds and scored 11 points, both career-highs for the sophomore center. Cross led the Lions with 14 points, five steals and four assists.

Ellingson shot 60% from the field, scoring 12 points while grabbing five rebounds. Mehus hit 2 of 4 from beyond the arc, scoring 10 points and contributing six rebounds.

Sand came off the bench with seven points and five steals. Hansen had three points, three assists, four rebounds and four steals. Folz added four rebounds.

For the Cougars, Sara Lind led with seven points. Danielle Paul and Lydia Geving each contributed six while Carly McCabe scored five.

The Lions took the B-team game, 59-22.

Playing their first five games on the road, the Lions took on Class AA Rochester Lourdes on Tuesday of this week before a Thursday, Dec. 4 trek to Waukon (Iowa) and than back into conference action on Friday at Austin versus Lyle/Pacelli.

Southeast Conference 2013

GIRLS Basketball conf. season


Spring Grove * 2 - 0 2 - 0

Mabel-Canton 1 - 1 1 - 1

Hope Lutheran 0 - 0 2 - 0

Houston 0 - 0 0 - 0

Lanesboro 0 - 1 1 - 2


Lyle/Pacelli 1 - 0 1 - 0

Grand Meadow 1 - 0 1 - 1

Glenville-Emmons 0 - 1 0 - 1

Schaeffer Academy 0 - 1 0 - 2

LeRoy-Ostrander * 0 - 1 0 - 3

* defending division champion