Lion defenders Elizabeth Johnson and Randi Mehus (#5) converge on Rushford-Peterson’s Keela Brand.
Lion defenders Elizabeth Johnson and Randi Mehus (#5) converge on Rushford-Peterson’s Keela Brand.

The Spring Grove girls saw their second game of the Holiday Festival bounce away at home against Rushford-Peterson on Dec. 29. Hitting the road on Jan. 4, the Lions won their 60th consecutive conference contest and 12th straight versus LeRoy-Ostrander by a resounding 71-34 margin.

SG vs. R-P, 41-52

After achieving their greatest lead of a very close contest, the Lions went scoreless in field goals during the final nine minutes.

It was second night of holiday doubleheaders and a highly anticipated rematch from last year's sub-section championship game between this season's two sub-section favorites.

A three-point bucket from sophomore guard Elizabeth Johnson had sent the Lions into halftime with a 22-19 edge. Had a couple of Lion shots fallen late in the second half, the outcome could have been different.

When the Lion offense went into reverse, R-P scored on six of nine possessions to convert a four-point deficit into a four-point lead (43-39). As the game slipped away, the Lions hit 6 of 8 free throws but went 0 for 13 from the field. They also lost eight turnovers.

Neither team handled the ball with poise down the stretch, combining for 10 turnovers during the final four minutes. But the Trojans were businesslike at the foul line, hitting 6 of 6 free throws within 17 seconds to extend a five-point lead into the final 11-point spread.

KFIL-Radio Lion Player of the Game Randi Mehus scored 10 points and rebounded 7 times. Sophomore Samantha Bratland led team scoring, coming off the bench for a career-high 12 points.

Also scoring for Spring Grove were Nicki Ellingson with 6 points, Johnson with 5, Addison Cross 4, Aly Folz 3 and Julianna Sand 1.

Ellingson grabbed 8 rebounds, Mehus 7 and Cross 7 to lead Spring Grove to a 36 to 32 edge on the backboards. Cross also passed out a career-best 5 assists.

Junior point guard Kendra Crawford, the KFIL-Radio R-P Player of the Game, scored a game-high 14 points along with 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a blocked shot in addition to taking 2 charges.

The KFIL Game Ball Award went to 5-foot, 3-inch junior forward Keela Brand who put in 9 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Also in double figures for R-P was Mariah Mueller with 11 points.

Sierra McNamer, first cousin of Mehus and the tallest Trojan at 5-10, recorded a solid all-around 6 points, 8 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 assists.

Until the final Lion scoring deprivation, neither team had led by more than four points in a game that saw nine lead changes and seven tie scores.

The Lions shot only 25 percent from the field including a chilly 16% with 3-point attempts (3 for 19). R-P finished at 38% overall despite going 0 for 12 from beyond the arc. Oddly enough, Spring Grove has lost all three games this season in which the opponent went scoreless from 3-point range.

Both teams left with 5-5 records, but this was the first time the Class A Trojans faced another Class A team. Rushford-Peterson leads Spring Grove 28-15 all-time.

In the holiday double headers at Rushford, the Lion B-team improved to 7-3 with a 46-21 pounding of R-P and an exciting 44-43 win over Caledonia.

SG at L-O, 71-34

The Lions had a season-high 19 assists while committing only 6 turnovers, their fewest of the season. Spring Grove also had season-highs with 71 points and 65% free throw shooting (15 for 23). The Lions also matched a season-best while shooting 37% from the field, including a good 31% from three-point range (4 for 13).

Spring Grove limited L-O to only 9 free throws (2 for 9), the fewest attempts and points scored at the foul line for any opponent this season. The Cardinals' 27% shooting from the field was the second lowest of any opponent thus far.

Bratland came in to hit 7 of 9 shots from the field and 4 of 4 from the free throw line for a career-high and game-high 18 points.

Cross added 16 points along with 5 assists and only one turnover. Mehus had a career-best 7 assists with no turnovers while scoring 9 points and rebounding 8 times.

The Lions controlled the glass with their greatest rebounding margin of the season, 47 to 30. Ellingson led with 12 boards with Folz matching Mehus' 8 rebounds along with 6 from Cross and 4 from Bratland.

Folz scored 9 points while Ellingson and Nikki Hansen added 6 each. Sand put in 5 points and Johnson 2.

On defense, Hansen blocked 3 shots while 12 Lion steals contributed to 20 Cardinal turnovers. Fifteen of those L-O turnovers came during the first half as Spring Grove led 52-18 at the break.

Senior guard Jessica Jennings led L-O with 14 points. The Cardinals, the defending SEC West champion, dropped to 4-8 overall and 3-4 in the SEC. Spring Grove improved to 6-5 and 6-0 in the conference.

Jordan Anderson, Samantha Bratland and Kailee Bjerke all scored in double figures as the B-team girls (8-3) crushed LeRoy-Ostrander 51-13.

Up Next: The Lions play five games in six days starting with the Thursday, Jan. 10 home makeup date with Lanesboro. The girls host Schaeffer Academy on Friday night before a Saturday afternoon visit from state-ranked no. 2 Goodhue with a 2:30 p.m. tip-off as the first half of a girls/boys doubleheader.

The girls host La Crescent on Monday, Jan. 14 and play the next night at Winona versus Hope Lutheran in the second game of a boys/girls twin bill.

Southeast Conference 2013

GIRLS Basketball conf. season


Spring Grove * 6 - 0 6 - 5

Hope Lutheran 4 - 3 10 - 3

Mabel-Canton 4 - 3 6 - 4

Lanesboro 2 - 3 3 - 6

Houston 1 - 4 2 - 6


Lyle/Pacelli 6 - 1 8 - 1

Grand Meadow 5 - 2 6 - 5

LeRoy-Ostrander * 3 - 4 4 - 8

Schaeffer Academy 1 - 6 3 - 9

Glenville-Emmons 0 - 6 1 - 7

* defending division champion