Halfback Matt Schleich follows blocking around end as Lion gridders prepared for last week’s summer camp in South Dakota.
Halfback Matt Schleich follows blocking around end as Lion gridders prepared for last week’s

summer camp in South Dakota.

Twenty-two Spring Grove players and two coaches attended the annual summer football camp at the University of South Dakota at Vermillion on July 11 and 12.

SG was one of nine 9-man teams including three Southeast Conference rivals - Houston, Grand Meadow and LeRoy-Ostrander. Others in attendance were from Canada, South Dakota and western Minnesota. There were also eight 8-man squads from Iowa and Nebraska.

In addition to instruction sessions, the Lions scrimmaged four other 9-man teams, but not any SEC brethren.

The team competition came with the 'king of the hill" finale inside the dome. SG won the 9-man division, but fell 2-1 in a three-play showdown with the 8-man champion.

Coach Zach Hauser was well pleased with the experience.


The Lion ladies took both games on July 9 to run their summer league record to 4-4. Later in the week at the Wartburg College Tournament, the Lions (9-5) ran their winning streak to seven.

SG 27, Tomah 23

The game became close late as SG missed all five free throws in the final minute. Overall, oddly enough, it was getting to the foul line that was the difference on the scoreboard.

Neither team shot well from the field (SG 26%, Tomah 24%) but both had 9 two-point baskets and 2 three-pointers. The Lions, however, attempted 13 more free throws (7 for 18) than did the Wolves (3 for 5) but only scored four more foul-line points in a 4-point win.

Post players Nicki Ellingson and Samantha Bratland were effective with post-to-post passes underneath.

The Lions were never caught after scoring the final 3 points of the first half to lead 11-9 at the break and then pulled away with the first dozen points of the second half.

The Lions' only 2 treys came during that second-half surge, back-to-back triples from Lauren Arneson and Elizabeth Johnson.

SG 37, Fillmore Central 13

SG held the Falcons scoreless in the second half with half-court pressure defense forcing 16 turnovers and Fillmore Central missing all seven shots. With their starting guards unavailable, the Falcons were overwhelmed when the Lions increased perimeter pressure. SG scored 10 points directly from steals.

Lion free throw shooting improved, sinking 10 of 16 while not sending FC to foul line all game.

All seven Lions contributed to the scoring on Tuesday. The full nine-girl lineup would return for the July 11-12 trip to Waverly, Iowa.

Wartburg Tournament

The girls would finish with a 5-1 tourney mark, starting with a 4-0 first-place finish in their six-team pool. In the playoffs, SG won one and lost one.

SG 45, Janesville (IA) 27

The Lions rolled to a 23-13 halftime lead against the Wildcats and coasted to their first tourney win.

SG 44, East Dubuque (IL) 37

The Lions had their hands full with a team returning most of last winter's 18-5 lineup. After trailing 20-18 at halftime, SG edged ahead in the second half. When the Warriors were forced to foul late, the Lions sealed the win with free throws.

SG 48, West Hancock (IA) 13

The Lions led 27-13 at intermission and then held what appeared to be a young team from Britt, Iowa scoreless in the second half. It was the third game on Thursday.

SG 23, Maquoketa Valley 18

It was close throughout with the Lions up 17-14 at halftime versus the girls from Delhi, Iowa. SG only outscored the Wildcats 6-4 in the second half. With MV sitting back in a zone defense and down by six points, the Lions ran most of the final five minutes off the clock.

This Friday morning win closed pool play against similar small-school clubs. The playoffs would also include the larger schools.

SG 37, Ottumwa (IA) 27

The Lions led 26-8 at halftime, but the Bulldogs took advantage of cold SG shooting to rally in the second half.

It was a physical game especially at the end when Ottumwa was forced to foul. The Bulldogs were whistled for two late intentional fouls, and their coach was assessed a technical foul. The Lions hit the free throws and advanced to the second round of playoffs.

Cascade (IA) 44, SG 19

The Cougars were coming off an Iowa Class AAA state tourney season and for the second summer defeated SG.

Lion coach Heath Olson estimated Cascade hit about a blistering 60 percent from the field. Olson added that the Lions showed some fatigue in this sixth game in two days.

SG center Nicki Ellingson said the small quick Cougar defenders would swarm into the lane to make shooing inside difficult.

Cascade led comfortably at halftime 27-11 and would advance to the semi-finals while ending the Lion tourney run.


SG 65, Luther (#2) 23

The Lion defense dominated both in full-court and half-court sets, both while employing a zone defense and playing man-to-man.

Onalaska Luther Team Two got off only 25 shots while suffering through 33 turnovers, which contributed to 30 fast-break points for SG.

The Knights scored all 23 points in the second half after a 38-0 halftime count. SG improved to 4-1 in summer league play and 7-5 overall.


Aquinas (#2) 54, SG 48

A Tobias Leahy 3-point basket capped a nine-point run that brought SG back within one point with 2:12 to play. But the Lions would not score again, missing their final six shots.

SG (2-3) played from behind most of the game, down 29-22 at halftime. The Lion lineup consisted of upcoming freshmen, eighth graders and seventh graders. All four sophomores play exclusively in varsity games.


Central (#6) 43, SG 36

The teams traded late runs. An 8-2 Lion run brought SG back within two points, but La Crosse Central Team Six scored the next seven points.

SG (0-5) led for most of the first half, up 19-17 at intermission. The taller Red Raiders were ahead for most of the second half and appeared safe with an 8-point advantage.

But a pair of traditional 3-point plays on fast breaks by Cullen Patterson and Brock Schuttemeier anchored a rally, that also included an Ethan Matzke jump shot, chopped the deficit down to 36-34 with 2:29 to play.


Caledonia closed the regular season with a 3-0 shutout at Chatfield on July 8. Friday's game with Rushford was canceled. The boys took the No. 4 seed into the postseason tournament against visiting No. 5 St. Charles on Monday of this week with the second round today, July 17, and action continuing on Friday and Saturday.

Against Chatfield, winning pitcher Ryan Frank and catcher Josef Pettit throttled the Gopher attack with 9 strikeouts. Pettit had no passed balls and twice threw out Chatfield speedster Jake Neis on attempted steals at second base.

Pettit also had one of only four Caledonia hits. A clutch hit came when Seth Twite drove in two runs in the sixth inning. Caledonia committed 2 errors in the field while improving to 7-0.


After a rain postponement on Tuesday, Spring Grove played Friday at Houston dropping both the league game and the second non-league game with only 2 hits in each. Caleb Nerstad had two of the four hits including a double.

Houston 14, SG 2

It ended two innings early with the 10-run rule as things got out of hand with 7 Houston hits (including two triples) and 6 Lion errors.

Hurricane hurler Joey Fishel struck out 7 Lions and walked only 2. The walks did not figure into a score, but all three Houston errors came in the third inning after a leadoff double by Nick Peterson.

The Lions were playing without a couple of usual starters as their league record slipped to 2-5.

SG 002 - 2 2 6

Hou 455 -14 7 3

SG: Bergrud (5K) and Elton

Hou: Fishel (7K) and Hongerholt

Houston 8, SG 6

Both SG hits (Nerstad double and Payton Leahy single) came while taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning. The Lions moved ahead 4-2 in the second inning after Peterson walked and then scored after a pair of passed balls and a wild pitch.

Houston would also finish with only 2 base hits but would hold an 8-4 lead after three innings.

The Lions added one run in each of the last two innings with no hits. Kyle Hagen and Peterson both scored after reaching base on an error and stealing bases. Noah Elton had an RBI sacrifice fly. SG is 1-6 in the non-league games.

SG 310 11 - 6 2 5

Hou 224 0x - 8 2 3

SG: Nerstad (6K) and Bergrud

Hou: Van Gundy (7K) and Fishel