Randi Mehus passes the ball upward away from Waukon’s Eli Ronan. Also shown are Nicki Ellingson and Indian point guard Abie Mellick.
Randi Mehus passes the ball upward away from Waukon’s Eli Ronan. Also shown are Nicki Ellingson and Indian point guard Abie Mellick.
The girls from Spring Grove hosted the Waukon Indians on Dec. 17, falling 47-60 to the Iowa school.

It was the second time in 11 days that the teams met, and the Lions suffered the same fate as they did when they visited Iowa.

Overcoming a height disparity and facing star forward Deneshia Snitker were the biggest problems for Spring Grove.

Snitker scored 28 points in the first game and 33 in the rematch, hitting 16 of 25 shots from the field (often in traffic) including a 1-on-4 fast break. She also paced the defense with six steals.

Despite being double-teamed on the low post, 6-foot, 1-inch Alyssa Collins scored 17 points for Waukon. She also had 14 rebounds while 6-0 Eli Ronan snagged 11. They combined to block 10 of the Lions' 60 two-point shots.

When Ronan sat down with four fouls late in the second half, she was replaced by 6-foot-plus Ashley Fuhrman who scored four points and grabbed two rebounds.

Kirsten Christianson, who attempted only three shots, had eight assists with pinpoint passes into closely guarded and frequently double-teamed Ronan and Collins.

As in the previous meeting, the Lions enjoyed early success. The last lead change wiped out a 22-20 Lion lead as the Indians closed the first half with a 17-2 run.

Almost half (7) of the Lions' 15 turnovers came in that game-changing run. After hitting 10 of its first 22 shots, SG hit only 1 for 9 field goals while Waukon raced away.

The Lions were down 37-24 at halftime and trailed by double-digit margins throughout the second period, during which each team scored 23 points.

Waukon led by 21 points when the Indian starters began to retire to the sideline. The Lions scored the last eight points of the game with mostly reserves from both teams on the court.

Despite the height disadvantage, Spring Grove fought hard for 37 rebounds with Waukon securing 45.

Nicki Ellingson had eight rebounds with seven each from Samantha Bratland and Aly Folz plus six boards from Addison Cross.

Folz and Cross also led Lion scoring with 12 points apiece, a career-high for Folz. Nikki Hansen put in six points with Bratland adding five, Julianna Sand four and two each from Ellingson and Elizabeth Johnson.

Randi Mehus scored four points and had team highs with four assists and four steals.

Blocked shots contributed to Spring Grove shooting only 31 percent from the field, but the Lions were also a dismal 31 percent from the foul line (4 for 13) while Waukon went 10-for-13 (77%) from the charity stripe.

Waukon scored every basket except one close to the hoop. With their height advantage, the Indians attempted few shots from the perimeter, matching exactly their 0-for-6 shooting from three-point range of the previous meeting.

Indian point guard Abie Mellick led a very efficient offense. Indian starters committed only 10 turnovers with the reserves losing possession four times in the final three minutes.

Iowa Class AAA Waukon improved to 8-1 while Spring Grove (5-3) fell for the second time to Waukon and for the third time overall.

The Lions were only one point shy of their previous score versus Waukon while holding the Indians to 18 fewer points than in the earlier 78-48 decision. Waukon leads the series with SG 14 wins to 9.

The Indians trailed most of the B-team game before edging the Lions 50-47 in overtime.

Up Next: The Dec. 21 home game versus Lanesboro was postponed with a makeup date to be determined.

Spring Grove hosts the varsity girls portion of the annual Holiday Festival doubleheaders. On Thursday, Dec. 27, the Lion ladies face state-ranked no. 6 Class AA Caledonia at approximately 7:30 p.m. following the 6 p.m. opener between Rushford-Peterson and La Crescent. Then on Saturday, again in the nightcap, the Lion girls take on Rushford-Peterson after the early game between La Crescent and Caledonia.