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Lion rally overtakes W-A-O in overtime
By Craig Moorhead
, Government/Sports Writer
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 7:53 AM
All-Tournament Taylor Elton, amid a corral full of W-A-O Ponies at Williams Arena, gets off a jump shot over Sarah Durand, the all-time leading scorer for Warren-Alvarado-Oslo.
First up on March 15 were the Warren-Alvarado-Oslo Ponies, who hail from the town of Warren in northwestern Minnesota, about as far from Spring Grove as you can get without leaving the nation. They arrived with a record of 26-4.
Spring Grove brought a No. 4 state ranking to historic Williams Arena on the campus of the University off Minnesota. They defeated the Ponies 68-66 in overtime.
The first half of play saw the Ponies race out to a 9-1 lead and then continue a hot-shooting streak, hitting 11 of their first 13 shots to go up 23-11.
Spring Grove got back in with some solid defense, forcing Pony turnovers. Even so, they only overtook W-A-O once during regulation play (28-27 for a few seconds) with about two minutes left in the first half.
The Lions were behind by nine at halftime, battling back to tie at the 5:00 mark, again with 1:05 to play and once again with 42 seconds left.
After W-A-O missed a jumper with 5 seconds left, the game went into overtime (OT).
A Taylor Elton driving basket opened OT scoring and put Spring Grove ahead to stay. Five turnovers doomed the Ponies in the extra period as Elton sank 3 of 4 free throws to give Spring Grove its greatest lead of the game at (68-64) with 37 seconds remaining.
A Pony rebound basket made it a two-point game with 21 ticks left. W-A-O then came up with a steal, but a high pass gave it back to Spring Grove with 3 seconds to play.
After two missed Lion free throws, W-A-O could not get off a shot before time expired.
Elton scored 17 points with 9 coming during the final 6 minutes of regulation and then tallied all five Lions points in overtime.
Until then KFIL-Radio Player of the Game Richell Mehus had shouldered the scoring load with a career-high 37 points along with a team-best 8 rebounds and 3 steals.
Elton, the KFIL Game Ball winner, had a Lion-high 6 assists and 3 steals.
Spring Grove ball handling was superb; joining Elton with more assists than turnovers were Addison Cross, Randi Mehus and Richell Mehus.
Nikki Hansen sparked the defense with a team-best 5 steals. Other scoring came with 6 points from Randi Mehus along with 4 each from Hansen and Cross.
Randi Mehus and Nicole Ellingson each came down with 6 rebounds
For the Ponies, senior center Sarah Durand scored 27 points and snagged a game-high 13 rebounds. Senior guard Angie Erickson and junior forward Alexandra Erickson each scored 11 points, while junior forward Abbie Mercil added 10.
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