Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part review of the past year of Spring Grove High School sports. Part one may be found in last week’s edition (Aug. 11) and on the website www.springgroveherald.com
It was the fourth straight winning campaign for the Lion girls, who shared the conference sportsmanship award with Houston, but they fell one game short of repeating as conference champions.
A one-point home win over SEC champion Mabel-Canton gave Grove a share of the league-lead before a road upset at Grand Meadow deflated the title hopes.
The Lions eliminated the same Super Larks in the playoffs before the SG season ended against state-ranked Elgin-Millville.
In retrospect, a loss to Waukon did not seem so bad after the Warriors coasted to the state championship in Iowa.
The Spring Grove girls significantly increased their rebounding margin with the greatest rebounding average in eight years.
The Lions committed fewer fouls than in last year’s championship season and gave up fewer points.
There was no difference in turnovers and steals, but SG saw a decline in assists, scoring offense and shooting, both from the field and the free throw line.
The average score was a 52-45 win, but there were few close games. Grove had a 3-2 record in the five games decided by single digits.
Fourteen games were won or lost by 18 points or more, including four contests by 30 points or above.
Grove graduated four seniors, three of whom logged significant minutes. Two starters retain eligibility along with two part-time starters.
17 wins, 6 losses
SEC: 13-1 (1st place)
B team: 12-7
Hon. Mention: Tim Morken
All-SEC: Tim Morken,
Second team: Alex Roverud and Sam Morken, Honorable Mention- Gavin Sherburne
MVP: Tim Morken
MIP: Gavin Sherburne
Rookie of Year: Peter Solum
Will to Win: Tim Morken
After a string of six winning seasons (including four second place finishes), the Lion boys ascended to the conference throne for the first time in a quarter century.
Spring Grove capped a three-team struggle with a 43-42 win over defending champion LeRoy-Ostrander and a 54-52 heart stopper over second place Lanesboro in the final two SEC games.
The ability to win close contests often decides championships and the Lions won all five of their regular season games decided by single-digit margins. But the string ended in the sub-section quarterfinals with a 45-43 loss to Fillmore Central.
Solid rebounding helped Spring Grove overcome mediocre shooting, but their significant advantage came with defense and ball-handling.
The average score was a 56-48 victory, despite the Lions being out-shot from the field 39 percent to 37. Both Spring Grove and their opponents hit a paltry 52 percent from the free throw line. The Lions out-rebounded their rivals by an average of 32 to 30 per game.
The key was that Grove attempted 203 more shots than their foes due to better ball-handling. The Lions averaged 15 turnovers per game compared to 23 for the opposition.
The Lions were among only six SG teams to achieve 17 wins in a season and had the eighth best winning percentage (.739) in Lion boys’ history.
Of the seven Lions who saw the most playing time, only Most Valuable Player Tim Morken departed at diploma time.
Spring Grove seventh grader Garrett Cross won four free throw shoot-offs to advance for the second straight year to the state finals of the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Contest. Cross, the only two-time qualifier, is the fifth junior high Lion to qualify for state, including 2003-’04 varsity letter winners Travis Rostad, Jenna Ingvalson, Katie Lesnar. and Sam Morken.