Elizabeth Johnson drives past Lyle/Pacelli’s Ann Rysavy. Jon Speltz/Spring Grove Herald
Elizabeth Johnson drives past Lyle/Pacelli’s Ann Rysavy. Jon Speltz/Spring Grove Herald
The Spring Grove girls had their extraordinary Southeast Conference basketball winning streak end at 86 games against state-ranked Lyle/Pacelli one night before the Lions clinched their fifth straight SEC East Division championship at Mabel-Canton.

Later in the week, SG clubbed winless Glenville-Emmons before going on the road for a hard-fought non-conference win over Kingsland.

The girls head into the final week of the regular season with an 18-6 record (16-1 SEC)

SG vs. Lyle/Pacelli

A twice-postponed showdown between Spring Grove (with 86 consecutive conference wins) and the league's highest-touted team, undefeated Lyle/Pacelli, took place on Monday, Feb. 17.

The state-ranked (No. 5) Athletics had already clinched a second straight SEC West Division championship while the Lions were well on the way to their fifth straight East Division title. When the dust settled, the A's prevailed 68-52.

Despite the L/P boys playing at home, many fans made it to SG but were stunned as the Athletics struggled to keep up in the first half.

The large Lion student section was in 'blackout' (dressed all in black), chanting and roaring as the home team rallied from an early 6-point deficit (11-5) with a 14-2 run.

The packed house was somewhat bewildered as underdog SG led 36-25 at halftime. The Athletics had not trailed at halftime all season.

SG shot only 29% overall from the field. But after shooting only 28% during the first half, the Athletics blazed at 59% following intermission.

Fast breaks may have been the deciding factor. L/P converted defensive rebounds into 16 transition points in a 16-point win. Overall, L/P had a 39-to-28 rebounding margin, only the fourth time in 21 games that the Lions had been out-boarded.

Offensive rebounds ignited the second-half turnaround. To start that second period, the Athletics rebounded 6 of their first 7 misses and scored on each of those possessions. After a quick turnover, L/P scored on 7 straight trips down the floor and led 40-39 after trailing by 11 at halftime.

Then two-time all-conference sophomore Courtney Walter hit 3 straight 3-pointers along with a fast-break assist, and L/P led 51-40.

The Athletics were up 57-43 when they went into a delay offense with over 7 minutes to play. L/P would falter with 6 subsequent turnovers but also hit 11 of 15 late free throws.

Walter finished with 17 points, one of three All-SEC players returning from last year's West Division championship team.

Most impressive was tall sophomore forward Sarah Holtz who was 10 for 10 at the foul line while leading all scorers with 28 points and all rebounders with 8.

Three-time all-conference senior guard Ann Rysavy sat out in early foul trouble but was the third Athletic in double figures with 10 points along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

Samantha Bratland led SG with 19 points and 7 rebounds.

It was not always pretty as the teams combined for 52 turnovers (SG 25, L/P 27) and 51 fouls (SG 26, L/P 25) resulting in 74 free throws. Nine players were in foul trouble before halftime. Only one would eventually foul out, but six players finished with 4 fouls each.

SG hit a season-high 23 free throws while attempting a season-high 40. For Lion opponents in this year's 21 games, the Athletics' 24 made free throws and 34 attempts were also season highs.

Not only did the Athletics snap the Lions' SEC winning streak, they also ended L/P's lengthy losing streak in the series. L/P had won the first time the schools played in 2000, and then SG took the next 24.

The SEC rematch will be at Lyle on Friday, Feb. 21, the final game of the regular season for the Lions.

Under coach Brad Walter, L/P has staged an amazing turnaround. During four seasons (2007 through 2010), the A's had a dreary 3-86 (1-62 SEC) record. The team has now logged four straight winning seasons. This year, Walter is assistant to head coach Justin Morris.

L/P also won the B-team game 45-25.

varsity numbers

all FG: SG 29%, L/P 43%

3-pt: SG 23% (3-13), L/P 27% (4-15)

2-pt: SG 31%, L/P 50%

FT: SG 58% (23-40), L/P 71% (24-34)

Rebounds: SG 28, L/P 39

Turnovers: SG 28, L/P 29

Fouls: SG 26, L/P 25


INDIVIDUALS: P-points, R-rebounds, A-assists, S-steals, B-blocked shots, H-hustle points, * starter.

*Bratland 19P, 7R, 2A, 1S; Elizabeth Johnson 8P, 2R, 1A, 1S, 1H; *Lauren Arneson 7P, 5R, 2A, 2S, 6H; *Jordan Anderson 7P, 4R, 3S, 4H; *Julianna Sand 4P, 3R, 2A, 3S, 2H; *Nicki Ellingson 3P, 2R, 1S; Aly Folz 2P, 4R, 1A; Kelsey Hermanson 2P, 1H; *Kailee Bjerke 1R

SG at Mabel-Canton

The Lions wrapped up their fifth straight SEC East championship but had to come from behind during the second half to overtake the lone remaining contender for the crown.

Down 28-21 at halftime and by 9 points early in the second half, SG finally overtook Mabel-Canton with 8:21 to play, winning 59-51 on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

A 9-point run moved SG from 6 points down into a 44-41 lead. Four different Lions scored during 4 consecutive possessions. The Cougars were not able to rally, hitting only 2 of their final 13 shots from the field.

There had been six tie scores in the first half, but M-C had hit 3 of 5 three-point attempts to lead 28-21 at the break, much to the delight of an enthusiastic home crowd.

In the second half, the Cougars went 0 for 8 beyond the arc while SG put the game away from the free throw line.

The Lions hit 9 of 14 free throws in the final 2 minutes and 21 seconds and finished with a strong 23 for 33 (70%) overall with charity shots. SG closed with a 15-point free throw advantage during the 8-point win.

After 9 first half turnovers, SG lost possession only 4 times in the second period.

Julianna Sand scored a career-high 22 points sinking 12 of 15 free throws. Senior center Nicki Ellingson had a 14-point, 13-rebound double.

Three Cougars scored in double figures with guard Lydia Geving putting 19 points, guard Carly McCabe 13 and center Sara Lind 10.

M-C scored 26 (just over half) of its 51 points from the perimeter but was not successful getting to the foul line. The Cougars shot only 47% (8 for 17) while attempting about half as many free throws as SG.

It was only the second game this season that the Lions did not have a 3-point basket. But they attempted only 5 treys - content to go inside with the dribble for 15 points and with post passes for 16

Along with a 47-32 decision earlier this season, SG has won 16 straight against M-C. But the Cougars still lead the series 47 to 44.

The B-team game went to SG 40-27 while a last-minute basket brought the Cougars from behind to win the junior high game 24-23.

Varsity numbrs

all FG: SG 35%, M-C 36%

3-pt: SG 0% (0-5), M-C 23% (3-13)

2-pt: SG 39%, M-C 40%

FT: SG 70% (23-33), M-C 47% (8-17)

Rebounds: SG 33, M-C 32

Turnovers: SG 13, M-C 19

Fouls: SG 18, M-C 21


INDIVIDUALS: *Sand 22P, 6R, 1A, 3S, 2H; *Ellingson 14P, 13R, 1A, 1S, 1B, 5H; *Jordan Anderson 7P, 3R, 2A, 1S, 2H; *Elizabeth Johnson 6P, 3R, 1H; *Lauren Arneson 6P, 2R, 23A, 3S, 4H; *Samantha Bratland 4P, 3R, 1A, 1S; Kailee Bjerke 2R, 3H; Aly Folz 1R, 1A, 1S, 1B, 1H

SG vs. Glenville-Emmons

Two nights later, the Lions obliterated the Wolverines 71-12. The G-E offense attempted only 25 shots while committing 39 turnovers. Even though SG did not defend full court, the Wolverines found it difficult to complete passes while the Lions came away with 25 steals.

Winless G-E (0-18, 0-16 SEC) did not score for the first 11 minutes of the game. It only got worse in the second half as the Wolverines did not score until the final minute and half with the lone field goal just beating the buzzer.

The Lions led 32-8 at halftime and then added 39 after intermission with a flood of fast breaks. Matched against the slower Wolverines, SG scored 29 points in transition.

The 12 points were the fewest points allowed by SG this season, just edging out the teams' previous game in which G-E managed only 15 points at home (84-15).

Likewise, the Wolverines' 12% shooting was a season low for Lion opponents - just below G-E's 14% in the earlier contest.

Bratland scored 12 points for SG while Ellingson added 11 points as well as game highs with 9 rebounds and 6 assists (with no turnovers). Freshman Kelsey Hermanson came in to contribute a career-high 11 points.

The home crowd also enjoyed Amanda Hahn hitting her first varsity field goal.

Arneson piloted the offense with 5 assists and only 1 turnover along with 8 points and a game-high 6 steals.

Aly Folz had an all-around performance with 7 points, 4 rebounds, 5 steals and more assists (2) than turnovers (1). Sand had 8 points and also passed out 2 assists with a lone turnover.

SG has won all 26 games played in the series. G-E is not able to field a B-team this season.

varsity numbers

all FG: SG 47%, G-E 12%

3-pt: SG 25% (2-8), G-E 0% (0-3)

2-pt: SG 50%, G-E 14%

FT: SG 53% (9-17), G-E 46% (6-13)

Rebounds: SG 35, G-E 19

Turnovers: SG 13, G-E 39

Fouls: SG 18, G-E 13


INDIVIDUALS: *Bratland 12P, 3R, 1A, 3S, 1H; *Ellingson 11P, 9R, 6A, 1S, 1H; Hermanson 11P, 1R, 2S, 2H; *Arneson 8P, 4R, 5A, 67S, 3H; *Sand 8P, 2R, 2A, 2S, 4H; Folz 7P, 4R, 2A, 5S, 5H; *Anderson 3P, 3R. 2A, 2S; Bjerke 3P, 1R, 1H; Johnson 2P, 2R, 1A, 2S; Lauryn Bohr 2P, 4R; Grace Edgington 2P, 1R, 1A, 1S, 2H; Hahn 2P, 1R, 1S, 1H

SG at Kingsland

On Saturday, the Lions edged Kingsland 52-49. They did it by overcoming cold shooting with ball handling and defense in a tight non-conference road win that will figure into this week's sub-section seeding.

In a back-and-forth contest, the Lions struggled to hit a shot while Kingsland struggled to get a shot. With snow falling outside, SG shot an icy 27% inside. Kingsland averaged 44%, but with 30 turnovers, attempted 32 fewer shots.

Ellingson scored 17 of her season-high 22 points in the second half as the Lions rallied from behind and then held off a late Kingsland threat. She was also the game's leading rebounder with 12 - her eighth double double of the season.

Arneson also scored in double figures for SG with 14 points.

There were 6 lead changes and 6 tie scores. A 9-point run had sent SG into halftime with a come-from-behind 24-20 lead. But the Lions went without a basket through 14 possessions during the first 8 minutes of the second half. SG hit 3 of 4 free throws during that drought as Kingsland surged to its greatest lead (33-27).

Then the roles reversed as SG went on a 14-3 run while the Knights managed only 3 free throws and 16 possessions yielded no baskets. The Lions led 41-36 with 4:44 to play. Scoring on three straight possessions, SG extended the lead to 47-38

The Knights then hit 3 of 4 shots. They had gone 1 for 10 from 3-point land before Mindy Woods drilled a trey to make it 50-48 with 50 seconds remaining.

Haley Colton came up with a steal and had a chance to tie the score at the foul line with 36 seconds left. But the Knights' senior guard hit only 1 of 2 free throws, and Bratland closed the scoring with an assist from Sand on a baseline drive. Kingsland's potential game-tying 3-point final shot missed the mark.

SG played with only 11 turnovers while passing out 15 assists. Sand and Arneson each had 3 assists with only 1 turnover. Bratland had 4 assists with no turnovers and sparked the defense while taking a charge and lifting a game-high 6 steals.

Freshman 5-foot-8 forward Kailey Link came off the bench to lead Kingsland scoring with 13 points.

It was the Lion girls' first meeting with Kingsland, but SG had a 2-4 record against Spring Valley before the consolidation with Wykoff. This season, the Knights (3-20) are dropping down from Class AA into the same Class A sub-section as SG (18-6).

Kingsland won the B-team game 56-45. Freshman Kelsey Hermanson and eighth grader Lauryn Bohr each scored 17 points for SG.

Up Next: The Lions finish the regular season at Lyle versus Lyle/Pacelli on Friday, Feb. 21.

varsity numbers

all FG: SG 27%, K 44%

3-pt: SG 23% (3-13), K 17% (2-12)

2-pt: SG 28%, K 55%

FT: SG 65% (11 for 17), K 79% (11-4)

Rebounds: SG 31, K 38

Turnovers: SG 11, K 30

Fouls: SG 12, K 14


INDIVIDUALS: *Ellingson 22P, 12R, 1A, 2S, 7H; *Arneson 14P, 1R, 3A, 4S, 6H; *Anderson 6P, 5R, 2A, 2H; *Bratland 4P, 6R, 4A, 6S, 6H; Johnson 4P, 3R, 1S, 2H; *Sand 2P, 23R, 3A, 4S, 1H; Folz 1R, 1A, 1S, 3H; Hermanson 1R, 1A; Bjerke 2S

SEC Girls Basketball through Feb. 18 games

*division champions


Spring Grove* 16-1 SEC (18-6 season)

Mabel-Canton 12-4 SEC (13-9 season)

Houston 7-11 SEC (8-14 season)

Hope Lutheran 7-11 SEC (10-15 season)

Lanesboro 5-12 SEC (7-18 season)


Lyle/Pacelli* 17-0 SEC (22-0 season)

LeRoy-Ostrander 10-7 SEC (12-10 season)

Grand Meadow 9-7 SEC (10-13 season)

Schaeffer Academy 2-15 (5-18 season)

Glenville-Emmons 0-17 SEC (0-19 season)

Spring Grove Girls Basketball

Varsity scores

18-6 (16 - 1 SEC)

W vs. Hope Lutheran 60-25

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 65-45

W at Grand Meadow 47-43

L vs. Waukon 37-45

W at Lanesboro 64-25

W vs. Schaeffer Academy 59-14

L at Caledonia 52-71

W vs. Holmen 51-48

W at Houston 64-19

W vs. Mabel-Canton 47-32

W at Hope Lutheran 57-50

L at La Crescent 47-53

W at Glenville-Emmons 84-15

L vs. Fillmore Central 53-65

W at LeRoy-Ostrander 68-46

W vs. Lanesboro 50-29

W vs. Grand Meadow 63-33

L at Rochester Lourdes 38-55

W vs. Houston 67-31

W at Schaeffer Academy 57-28

L vs. Lyle/Pacelli 52-68

W at Mabel-Canton 59-51

W vs. Glenville-Emmons 71-12

W at Kingsland 52-49

02-17 Rushford-Peterson - canceled

02-21 at Lyle/Pacelli (Lyle)

B-team results

10-9 (10-2 SEC)

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 35-22

W at Grand Meadow 50-15

L vs. Waukon 24-45

L at Lanesboro 34-37

W vs. Schaeffer Academy 42-27

L vs. Caledonia 33-49

L vs. Holmen 25-46

W at Houston 47-28

W vs. Mabel-Canton 38-24

L at La Crescent 6-63

L vs. Fillmore Central 49-28

W vs. Lanesboro 37-22

W vs. Grand Meadow 48-31

L at Rochester Lourdes 19-30

W vs. Houston 44-16

W at Schaeffer Academy 35-21

L vs. Lyle/Pacelli

W at Mabel-Canton

L at Kingsland 45-56