Sophomore guard Dustin Vickerman drives inside for two of his career-high 17 points against Lyle/Pacelli. At left, teammate Josh Olerud works for rebound position.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Photo courtesy of Shannon Schuttemeier
Sophomore guard Dustin Vickerman drives inside for two of his career-high 17 points against Lyle/Pacelli. At left, teammate Josh Olerud works for rebound position.

Photo courtesy of Shannon Schuttemeier
The Spring Grove boys persevered though multiple injuries and illness to remain undefeated in conference play, collecting a pair of conference road victories against Hope Lutheran and Lyle/Pacelli.

SG at Hope Lutheran

The Lions defeated the Patriots 87-56 on Jan. 15. Three Spring Grove starters were unavailable to play Tuesday, out with either injury or illness.

A fourth, Josh Olerud, was just back from a few days under the weather. He and fellow senior guard Blaine Storlie were the only surviving starters on the road at Hope Lutheran.

Sophomore Dustin Vickerman started for the second night in the absence of injured freshman Brady Schuttemeier.

With senior Brandon Schuttemeier and freshman Alex Engelhardt out with illness, freshman Gabe Solum and eighth-grader Chase Grinde drew their first starting assignments.

Joining sophomore center Tanner Sanness in reserve, eighth-grade center Jordan Jaster saw his first varsity action.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, all the Lions on the bus came to compete and were too much for the home team. Spring Grove never trailed, leading 41-26 at halftime. They then missed only two shots during a 19-4 second half run that removed all doubt as to the outcome.

Olerud scored 24 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Grinde missed most of the first half in foul trouble while Storlie suffered the same fate in the second half. Nevertheless, Storlie finished with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists while Grinde matched a career-high 20 points to go with 4 rebounds and 3 steals.

Vickerman was at point guard for much of the game, distributing 5 assists with only one turnover while scoring 9 points and securing 4 rebounds.

Sophomore Elliott Cross also enjoyed an extended role and responded with 7 points and 3 rebounds. Freshman Dylan Kampschroer put in 4 points and came away with 3 rebounds. Solum did not attempt a shot but remained reliable on defense with 2 steals and 6 rebounds.

The young Lions out-boarded Hope 37 to 30 and committed half as many turnovers (12) as did the Patriots (24). Spring Grove hit a strong 50% of their field goal attempts, including a very good 40% on three point buckets (6 for 15) while limiting Hope to 38% from the field.

Both teams used the dribble to get to the foul line; Spring Grove hit 15 of 24 (63%) while Hope went 14 for 26 (54%).

The Patriots' junior two-time all-conference floor leader, Jason Klug, scored 22 points to go with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Despite foul problems, 6-foot, 2-inch senior center Brady Meyer had a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double.

Hope dipped to 6-8 overall, 3-6 in the conference, having now lost all 12 games in the series versus Spring Grove. Hope Lutheran does not field a B-team.

Spring Grove at Lyle/Pacelli

Opening the second half of conference play at Lyle on Friday. Jan. 18, the Lions topped the Athletics 78-70 to run their SEC record to 10-0.

The Lions led 47-38 at halftime with Storlie scoring 24 of his game-high 28 points before the break. The all-conference point guard finished hitting 9 of 15 shots from the field and 8 of 9 free throws in addition to passing around 6 assists.

It was by far the highest-scoring first half this season with the two teams combining for 85 points. Spring Grove shot 59% with L/P ablaze at 67% in the opening period.

Both teams cooled off considerably in the second half (SG 32%, L/P 42%), but Vickerman scored 15 of his career-high 17 points after intermission as the Lions successfully protected narrow leads.

Engelhardt returned from illness for a double-double with 12 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.

Olerud was the fourth Lion in double figures with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists.

Brady Schuttemeier returned after a three-game absence on the injured list. In limited action, the freshman scored 5 points to go with 4 rebounds 3 steals and an assist.

Two of the three starters who had missed the previous game were back, but Brandon Schuttemeier missed his second straight game with illness.

It was a back-and-forth duel until the Lions erased a two-point deficit by scoring on 11 of 12 possessions, storming ahead 45-30. Not to be outdone, the Athletics closed out the first half with an 8-2 run, then opened the second period outscoring their opponents 9-2. That cut Spring Grove's lead to 2.

A 7-0 run put the Lions back up by nine, and the Athletics would not get any closer than three points thereafter.

Spring Grove won by getting to the free throw line where they made twice as many buckets (16 for 22) as L/P attempted (2 for 8). That made up for being outscored 68-62 from the field where the Lions ended up shooting 43% to the Athletics' 53%.

Even though the Lions shot a hot 73% at the foul line, they hit only 2 of 5 in the final minute. L/P hit only 1 of 4 from the field at the end along with a turnover as Vickerman took a charge to foul out Matt Kasel with 11 seconds to play.

Two-time All-SEC 6-foot, 4-inch guard Skylar Meyer sat out most of the first half in foul trouble but still finished with a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double.

All-SEC David Diang had another double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Jordan Hart led L/P scoring with 19 points.

Despite the Athletics' distinct height advantage, Spring Grove held a slim 33 to 31 rebounding advantage. All seven Lions were credited with boards.

Ball handling could have been better for both teams with 20 turnovers for the Lions and 26 for the Athletics.

L/P remains very much in the SEC West race even after unsuccessfully hosting Lanesboro and Spring Grove, the top two teams in the SEC East, on two successive nights.

Sophomore center Tanner Sanness had 20 points and 13 rebounds as the B-team boys (10-2) also completed a season sweep of L/P, 47-41.

Up Next: Spring Grove improved to 11-4 by holding off Fillmore Central 71-67 just as the Herald was going to press on Jan. 21. Look for complete details next week.

The following night, they were scheduled to play Glenville-Emmons in the Lion's den.

Friday brings another home game, this time with Grand Meadow. Monday, Jan. 28 is a home game versus Lansing Kee.

Southeast Conference 2013

BOYS Basketball conf. season

EAST DIVISION W L W L

Spring Grove * 10- 0 11 - 4

Lanesboro 9 - 1 10 - 4

Mabel-Canton 4 - 6 4 -10

Hope Lutheran 3 - 8 6 - 10

Houston 1 - 9 1 -14

WEST DIVISION

Grand Meadow 7 - 3 8 - 6

Lyle/Pacelli 6 - 4 8 - 6

Schaeffer Academy 6 - 4 9 - 7

Glenville-Emmons* 2 - 7 2 -12

LeRoy-Ostrander 2 - 8 2 -13

* defending division champion