Grove girls perfect in SEC again!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:45 AM
With two wins last week, the Spring Grove girls won their 72nd consecutive Southeast Conference game, completing a fourth straight undefeated league championship as they prepared for post-season play.
Nicki Ellingson rebounds against Heather Boyum of Lanesboro
Spring Grove at Lanesboro
Feb. 12 brought a trip to the Burro barn, where SG scored a decisive 73-49 win.
Lanesboro netted the first five points and led for the first four and a half minutes. Then the Lion defense forced a steady flow of Burro turnovers during a 20-4 Lion run. The Burros, down 34-23 at halftime, were still behind by the same margin when the Lions put the game away with a 15-2 run. Spring Grove led 57-33 halfway through the second half and would lead late by as many as 30 points.
Four Lions scored in double figures with Samantha Bratland posting a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double along with a career-high 6 steals. Randi Mehus had game-highs with both 18 points and 7 assists. She also lifted 4 steals.
Nicki Ellingson battled early foul problems but finished with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Addison Cross added 11 points and 4 assists. Julianna Sand scored 7 points, Nikki Hansen 4, Aly Folz 2 and Lauren Arneson 2.
The greatest improvement for Lanesboro since their last meeting with SG was on the backboards. After being outrebounded by 20 in January, the Burros had a 36 to 35 edge in the rematch. It was only the seventh time in 25 games that the Lions did not win the battle of the boards.
Sophomore center Olivia Haug led LHS with a 17-point, 13-rebound double-double.
While Burro rebounding improved, ball handling did not. Spring Grove won with defense. Twenty-one Lion steals contributed to 29 Burro turnovers. SG only lost possession 16 times and passed out 18 assists.
The Lions shot a season-best 82% (9 of 11) at the foul line while the Burros hit 7 of 18 free throws (39%). Spring Grove shot 41% percent from the field, far below their season-high 60% versus the Burros in January. LHS shooting improved to 38% shooting success as they bettered their earlier 60-point loss to SG.
The Lion B-team girls won 33-23 completing a season sweep of Lanesboro and closing their season with a 16-6 record.
SG versus Hope Lutheran
The regular season ended on Friday. It was Senior Night for the Lions, who defeated a short-handed Hope Lutheran squad 78-15.
The second-place Patriots faced a steep uphill battle in the rematch with two starters out with injuries including two-time All-SEC Dakota Ellinghuysen. The junior standout had scored 16 points in Hope's 59-29 loss to the Lions at Winona a month earlier.
Hope led early after hitting 2 of their first 3 shots but would finish with only 7 field goals while logging more turnovers (40) than shot attempts (35).
Spring Grove shot a solid 46% from the field including 33% from beyond the three-point line (4 for 12). Lion foul shooting was 8 of 14 (57%).
For the hosts, a definite team strength was balanced scoring. Four SG players recorded double figures, topped by Cross who hit 3 for 4 treys while totaling a game-high 18 points. Mehus put in 14 points with 10 each from Sand and Ellingson.
Bratland and Arneson each added 6 points while Folz and Kailee Bjerke scored 4 points each. Contributing 2 points apiece were Elizabeth Johnson, Hansen and Kelsey Hermanson.
Spring Grove lifted a season-high 27 steals, which resulted in 18 of the Lions' 28 fast-break points. Eleven Lions were credited with thefts led by Mehus with 5 along with 4 each from Ellingson and Bratland.
The Lions had 16 assists with only 11 turnovers. Mehus was also the assist leader with 5 (and only one turnover). Passing out assists without a turnover were Folz with 4, Hermanson with 2 and Hansen with 1.
Bratland came away with 8 rebounds, Mehus 6 and Ellingson 5 as the Lions won the backboard battle 39 to 25
The Patriots' only statistical advantages were two fewer fouls and seven blocked shots.
Spring Grove led 41-7 at halftime and scored the first 21 points of the second period.
The Lions have now won at least 20 games for four straight seasons. They closed the regular season at 20-6 (18-0 SEC). Hope Lutheran (17-8, 10-8 SEC) placed second in the SEC East for the second time in three years.
The Patriots do not have a B-team.
Southeast Conference 2013
End of Regular Season
GIRLS Basketball conf. season
EAST DIVISION W L W L
Spring Grove * 18 - 0 20 - 6
Hope Lutheran 10 - 8 17 - 8
Mabel-Canton 9 - 9 13 - 12
Lanesboro 6 - 12 7 - 18
Houston 4 - 14 5 - 19
Lyle/Pacelli* 16 - 2 22 - 3
Grand Meadow 13 - 5 15 -10
LeRoy-Ostrander 11 - 7 12 -13
Schaeffer Academy 3 - 15 6 -18
Glenville-Emmons 0 - 18 1 -23
* division champion