In their first-ever meeting versus Class AA Rochester Lourdes, the Spring Grove girls basketball team fell 43-31 on Dec. 4. Two days later the Lions crossed the border, visiting Iowa class AAA Waukon, where the Indians routed the visitors, 78-48. The week ended on a high note Friday night, when the girls visited SEC West rival Lyle/Pacelli and extended their conference-winning streak to 57 games with a come-from-behind win!

SG at Rochester, 31 to 43

The match-up against AA Eagles saw the fewest points scored in 151 games for the Lions, who attempted 13 more shots from the field but scored 12 fewer points than Lourdes.

Turnover numbers were even (17 for both teams) and rebound totals (SG 31, RL 34) were also very similar, but the Eagles shot 39% from the field and 64% from the free throw line (9 for 14).

Overall, the Lions shot 24% from the field and missed more free throws than they hit (6 for 15, 40%).

Spring Grove's only 3-point field goal was the first score of the game before the Eagles rolled in 20 of the next 25 points. Lourdes broke a 5-5 tie by hitting 6 of 8 shots on the way to a 19-13 halftime lead.

The Lions outscored the Eagles 18-14 in the second half, but never cut the lead to less than nine points.

Samantha Bratland led Spring Grove scorers with 11 points while Nicki Ellingson recorded 9 points, a game-high 10 rebounds, and a Lion-best 3 steals.

Three Eagles scored 11 points apiece. Five-foot, 11-inch junior center Sara Hobday had 11 points, eight rebounds, and blocked at least four shots. The Eagles' most heralded player did not play after a recent concussion.

Each team left the court with a 2-1 record. Lourdes won the B-team game 36-29.

SG at Waukon, 48 to 78

Spring Grove faced the Indians who scored all but 10 of their points near the basket in a rout of the visitors, 78-48.

Indian guard Daneshia Snitker scored most of her 28 points going inside while towering post players Eli Ronan and Alyssa Collins put in 15 and 14 points respectively.

Waukon's height advantage resulted in eight blocked shots and a huge 42-24 rebounding margin.

Ronan had 13 rebounds, Collins 9 and Snitker 7. Waukon scored 33 points with passes into the post and scored 18 points with offensive rebounds.

The Lions hit 7 of their first 14 shots from the field and led 17-16 after one quarter (Iowa plays quarters), but then endured the frustration of 10 straight possessions with only one made free throw to show for their efforts.

Meanwhile, the Indians scored on 7 of 8 possessions to open up a 14-1 run. Waukon led 37-25 at halftime and would outscore Spring Grove 41-23 in the second half.

Spring Grove was out-shot from the field 52% to 34% and sent the Indians to the line for 29 free throw attempts. Waukon scored on 16 of those tries. The Lions hit 9 of 17 free throws.

It was a rare game with only one 3-point field goal. With their domination near the basket, the Indians attempted only six treys; Spring Grove went 1 for 9 from beyond the arc.

Junior guard Julianna Sand came off the bench to lead Lion scorers with a career-high 13 points. Randi Mehus and Addison Cross added 11 points each.

Bratland came in to lead Lion rebounding with a career-high eight caroms. Mehus grabbed 6 boards and lifted a team-best 3 steals.

Nikki Hansen scored 3 points, with 2 points apiece added by Aly Folz, Kailee Bjerke, Ellingson and Lauren Arneson. Bratland and Jordan Anderson scored one point each.

The Indians' 78 points is the most by one team in the 22-game series which Waukon leads 13 to 9. Waukon also won the B-team game, 52-46.

SG at Lyle/Pacelli, 65-64

It was back on the road for the girls from Spring Grove the next night, when they visited SEC West rival Lyle/Pacelli. The Lions defeated the Athletics in a nail-biter, 65-64.

L/P came in determined to end Spring Grove's conference winning streak, but the Lions rallied from 16 points down to eke out the win - by far the closest of their 57 straight SEC victories.

Spring Grove trailed all night until a Mehus free throw tied it at 59-all and a Sand free throw put the Lions ahead, both in the same trip down the floor with about four minutes remaining. Two Hansen free throws then put Spring Grove ahead to stay 62-60 with 26 seconds to play.

The Lions' final nine points all came at the foul line. Spring Grove hit 5 of 6 free throws in the final 26 seconds. The single miss left the door open for L/P with 10 seconds to play.

Three points down, the Athletics missed a trey attempt, got the rebound and passed it outside where Annie Holtz hit a shot at the buzzer. But it was just a two-point basket, and the Lions escaped by one.

Overall, Spring Grove did not shoot free throws especially well (56%), but they got to the foul line just often enough to overcome a 10-point deficit from the field. While playing catch up in the second half, the Lions scored 19 points at the foul line and 15 from the field.

Five Athletics and two Lions fouled out as 56 total fouls were called resulting in 65 free throws, with nearly twice as many for Spring Grove (43) as for L/P (22). That's the most free throws attempted by the Spring Grove girls in the nine seasons for which single-game records exist.

The game was also decided from the 3-point arc. After hitting 5 of 13 triples while scoring 43 points in the first half, the A's missed all 10 trey tries while scoring only 21 points in the second period.

Down 16 points in the first half, the Lions came back slowly. They trailed by 12 points at halftime, the same 43-31 score that was the final count in the loss to Lourdes three nights previous.

Halfway through the second half, Spring Grove was back within five points (55-50) and took five more minutes to pull even at 59-all.

In the last nine minutes, L/P had nine turnovers while attempting only seven shots from the field and four free throws.

Cross led all scorers with 22 points while her all-conference counterpart Ann Rysavy was impressive with 19 points for L/P. Hansen hit some critical outside jump shots while matching a career best with 13 points and passing out a Lion-best four assists with only one turnover. All-SEC last year as an eighth grader, Courtney Walter put in 10 points for L/P.

Mehus scored eight points for Spring Grove while matching a career-high with nine rebounds and achieving a career-best with seven steals.

Bratland added another eight points and seven rebounds. Ellingson added five points and eight rebounds. Sand contributed five points and Folz four. Each had four boards.

Each team had 36 rebounds and 25 turnovers.

The Athletics had taken control early with a full-court press, and the Lions went scoreless while suffering through seven turnovers in nine possessions.

That drought was soon followed by an L/P scoring spurt in which the A's cashed in on 7 of 8 possessions including three treys. The resulting 16-point L/P lead (43-27) would not quite be enough as the Lions slowly clawed their way back.

Spring Grove improved to 3-2 (3-0 SEC). L/P, with no seniors and only three juniors on the roster, slipped to 3-1 (2-1 SEC). Spring Grove has now won 23 of the 24 games played against the Athletics.

Kailee Bjerke scored 16 points as the Lion B-team improved to 3-2 with a 35-19 win the early game.

After five road games, Spring Grove opened at home versus Houston on Dec. 11. On the 14th, they take on Grand Meadow at the same venue. Monday the 17th brings a return visit from Waukon.

Southeast Conference 2013

GIRLS Basketball conf. season


Spring Grove * 3 - 0 3 - 2

Hope Lutheran 2 - 0 5 - 0

Mabel-Canton 2 - 1 2 - 1

Houston 0 - 1 0 - 1

Lanesboro 0 - 2 1 - 3


Grand Meadow 2 - 0 2 - 1

Lyle/Pacelli 2 - 1 3 - 1

Schaeffer Academy 1 - 2 1 - 3

Glenville-Emmons 0 - 2 0 - 3

LeRoy-Ostrander * 0 - 3 0 - 5

* defending division champion