Lion girls clinch third straight SEC title
Tuesday, February 07, 2012 5:01 AM
The Lanesboro Burros visited Spring Grove on the final day of January. On Feb. 2, the Lions visited Schaeffer Academy. The following night, Grand Meadow came to Spring Grove.
Cheyenne Moen shoots over Lanesboro’s Paige Hungerholt as Burro Kiah Halvorson looks on during battle of top two teams in the SEC East.
With three convincing wins, the Lady Lions clinched the Southeast Conference East title.
Lions versus the Burros
Ranked no. 5 in Minnesota Class A, Spring Grove (13-0 SEC) clinched at least a tie for a third straight conference championship with a 79-32 win over the Burros.
Lanesboro (8-5 SEC) stands in second place. The Lions walked off the court with a five-game lead and five league games remaining.
The 47-point margin was close to the earlier 48-point December decision at Lanesboro.
Ball handling was again the Burros' downfall against the speedy quick-handed Lion defense.
Lanesboro committed 40 turnovers (30 of which were SG steals) while attempting 42 shots. The Lions took 64 shots.
Unlike that first game, fouls were a problem in the rematch for Lanesboro, whistled for twice as many fouls (26) as Spring Grove (13). The Lions went to the foul line 18 times (hitting 20 of 34 free throws) with only 4 trips for the Burros (6 for 8).
There were some Burro bright spots. Lanesboro greatly improved its shooting at 30% compared to 16% in the first meeting. Lanesboro had more points at halftime in the rematch (24) than they had in the entire game in December (a season-low 14 points).
Bolstered by 38 fast-break points, Spring Grove shot 45% overall but hit only 1 of 9 three-pointers (11%) - the Lions' second lowest long-range percentage in 21 games.
Richell Mehus led the Lions in points (21), rebounds (7), steals (7) and assists (7) with only one turnover. Taylor Elton was also strong across the board with 16 points, 5 steals, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
Nikki Hansen added 9 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Spring Grove received 6 points each from Addison Cross, Nicole Ellingson and Samantha Bratland.
The Burros' leading scorer for the season, Paige Hungerholt, was in foul trouble all night, sitting out many minutes in the first half before fouling out with 10:30 left in the game. The senior forward finished with three points and five rebounds.
Eight Burros scored, led by reserve Kirsten Ruen with 8 points. Alisa Warnes added 6 points and grabbed a game-high 8 rebounds.
Spring Grove has now won seven straight versus Lanesboro with the Lions leading all-time 31 to 17.
It was a season sweep for the entire program with Spring Grove winning both the eighth-grade and seventh-grade games along with a 45-16 Lion B-team victory.
Lions against Lions
In a make-up game from Jan. 20, Spring Grove defeated Schaeffer Academy. When the Lion versus Lion tussle was over, Spring Grove had clinched their third straight outright SEC East championship with a decisive 73-20 win.
The visiting Lions, with 23 steals, scored nearly half their points in transition with 35 fast-break points. On the other side of the coin, Spring Grove was stingy when it came to giving up the ball, losing only seven possessions to turnovers (a season-best), while passing for 21 assists.
Spring Grove shot a season-best 43% from three-point range (3 for 7), and held a 32-25 rebounding margin. Five players grabbed anywhere from four and six off the glass, led by Randi Mehus with 6 boards (and 5 points).
Elton, although somewhat under the weather, scored 13 points in addition to 9 steals and 7 assists. Cross added 7 points plus 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Ellingson put in 8 points. Cheyenne Moen (2 points) was effective beneath the boards with 5 rebounds. Michaela Neuzil (3 assists) and Hansen each had 4 points and 4 rebounds.
For the Schaeffer Lions, Nicole Arpin scored 8 points while Melanie Murray grabbed a game-high 9 rebounds.
Spring Grove has won all five games played against Schaeffer. The Spring Grove B-team (13-3) won the early game 48-20.
Lions versus Super Larks
The high-scoring Lions continued their winning ways on Friday, defeating Grand Meadow, 83-39.
Spring Grove posted its third-straight 20-win season (sixth of all-time) with the victory, improving to 20-3. It was their 51st consecutive conference win.
Even after committing 15 turnovers, Grand Meadow had scored 15 points and was within 11 points of Spring Grove before the Lions caught fire with 25 unanswered points on their way to a 58-20 halftime lead.
Spring Grove out-rebounded the Super Larks 36-27 and held a 21-36 turnover margin. They hit as many free throws (17 for 27) as Grand Meadow attempted (7 for 17). The Lions also hit a season-high eight three-point field goals and shot a season-best 47% from trey territory.
Junior guard Cross came in to hit 4 of 5 triple shots, going 7 for 10 from the field overall to finish with 19 points, 4 assists and 4 steals.
Richell Mehus had a 24-point, 14-rebound double-double along with 5 assists. Elton added 10 points and had game-highs with 7 steals and 6 assists. Randi Mehus (3 rebounds, 3 steals) scored 11 points, putting four Lions in double figures.
Moen and Hansen added 6 points each while Ellingson put in 5 points and Neuzil 2.
Stephanie Russell, the lone Super Lark senior, scored 11 points. Audra Durhman had 8 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Courtney Olson scored another 8 points and rebounded 6 times.
Including a 70-31 win earlier this season, Spring Grove has now won seven straight against GM. In the series, the Lions lead 28-20.
Spring Grove's B-team (13-3) trailed all game before staging a dramatic last-minute 40-37 win, improving to 14-3.
On Feb. 4, Taylor Elton was named the KFIL-Radio Female Athlete of the Month for January. Sportscaster Devin Krueger noted her comeback from knee surgery.
Up Next: Friday, Feb. 10 is a girls/boys double-header at LeRoy-Ostrander, which will be broadcast on KFIL radio at 103.1 FM beginning at 5:45 p.m.
A Feb. 14 doubleheader versus Hope Lutheran has been moved to Spring Grove from Winona.
On Friday, Feb. 17, Schaeffer Academy will visit Spring Grove for the last game of the regular season.
Southeast Conference 2012
GIRLS Basketball conf. season
EAST DIVISION W L W L
Spring Grove* 15- 0 20 - 3
Lanesboro 9 - 5 10 -12
Hope Lutheran 5 - 8 7 - 9
Houston 4 -10 6 -14
Mabel-Canton 4 -10 5 -14
LeRoy-Ostrander 13 - 1 16 - 5
Lyle/Pacelli 10 - 4 13 - 6
Grand Meadow 6 - 8 9 -11
Schaeffer Academy 4 -11 6 -13
Glenville-Emmons 0 -13 0 -17
* clinched division championship