Boys collar Cougars for SEC crown, enter state-ranked gauntlet

LEFT: Kyle Hagen rebounds as Spring Grove clinched at least a share of a ninth consecutive SEC East Division championship. RIGHT: Takoda Boyd scores on fast break during 63-31 win against Mabel-Canton. Photos by S. Lee Epps
By : 
Lee Epps

The Spring Grove boys clinched at least a share of a ninth consecutive SEC East Division championship with a 63-31 rout of visiting Mabel-Canton on Feb. 1. The Lions' 71st straight conference win was also the 19th straight against their Cougar neighbors, including a much more competitive 51-38 victory in the teams' first meeting in December.

With three league games remaining, the Lions (14-1, 11-0 SEC) now have a three-game advantage in the loss column over second place Kingsland (9-9, 6-3 SEC). Mabel-Canton ended the week at 6-11 (2-6 SEC).

This week and next

This could be the most power-ranked week in program history as state-ranked No. 8 Spring Grove plays four straight games against state-ranked Class A teams - three on the road. 

As the Herald was going to press on Monday of this week, the Lions hosted No. 14 Rushford-Peterson (12-6). The boys travel to Mayer (about 45 minutes west of the Twin Cities) to take on No. 20 Mayer Lutheran (12-6 at press time) with a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

On Saturday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m., it's No. 19 Christ Household of Faith (CHOF), St. Paul (11-4) at Salvation Army Gym in St. Paul (401 West 7th Street West).

On Monday, Feb. 11, the Lions will travel for a make-up game at No. 16 Grand Meadow. 

Neither of the weathered-out games with Waukon and Stewartville will be made up.

SG 63, M-C 31

The “Boys in Black” scored the game's first eight points on the way to a dominating 33-16 halftime lead and then tallied the first dozen points of the second half.

The Cougars' 31 points was a season-low output for Mabel-Canton and for all Lion opponents this season.

"We were pleased defensively with what we were able to do," Lion coach Wade Grinde told KFIL Radio. "They have a talented point guard in Drew Wyffels and a good, solid big man in (Dylan) Loppnow. We were able to hold everybody: we didn't give up a double figure scorer."

On the offensive end of the floor, Grinde was pleased with the Lions' balanced attack that featured three players scoring in double figures plus three more between seven and nine points.

Ethan Matzke had game highs with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Alex Folz (7 boards, 6 assists) and Caden Grinde each scored 12 points.

Kai Bjerke contributed 9 points and Takoda Boyd added 8 while Noah Elton (6 assists) put in 7 points.

Addressing that balanced attack, Grinde added, "That's been a key to our team this year. We've got a lot of unselfish players and a lot of great senior leadership. We've got some young players that are stepping up and just getting better and better."

Mabel-Canton, which had shot 35% from the field in the December game, was a chilly 21% in the rematch. The Cougars handled the Lions' full-court pressure defense and were patient in their half-court offense. But they were forced to launch a lot of 3-point shots, and they hit only 3 of 23 (13%). 

The Lions did not shoot well from the free throw line (8 for18, 44%) nor especially well from 3-point land (5-17, 29%). But they took the ball inside where they shot a hot 63% while scoring 45 points in the lane.

Spring Grove had more assists (18) than turnovers (13) for the ninth straight game and for the 11th time in 15 games.

The Lions outrebounded Mabel-Canton 37 to 24, the ninth time in 15 games Spring Grove has prevailed beneath the backboards.

"And we did a really good job on the boards", said Grinde. "So I was really pleased with the effort there, even though we weren't as sharp as we'd like to see."

The Spring Grove B-team(8-4) overwhelmed the Cougars 63-24 . The undefeated eight grade Lions (9-0) rolled 61-20 while the seventh graders (6-2) also won by a comfortable margin.


SG 63, Mabel-Canton 31

SG 33+30=63

MC 16+15=31


all FG: SG 51% (25-49), MC 21% (11-53)

2-pt FG: SG 63% (20-32), MC 27% (8-30)

3-pt FGSG 29% (5-17), MC 13% (3-23)

Free throws: SG 44% (8-18), MC 90% (6-7)

Rebounds: SG 37, MC 24

Turnovers: SG 13, MC 15

Fast break pts.: SG 14, MC 2

Perimeter pts.: SG 15, MC 98

Pts. in paint: SG 45, MC 20

Fouls: SG 12, MC 15


INDIVIDUALS: P-points, R-rebounds,

A-assists, S-steals, B-blocked

shots. Listed in order of

jersey number. * starter

P. Leahy 1R

T. Boyd 8P, 2R, 1S

*C. Grinde 12P, 5R, 2A, 1S

*E. Matzke 15P, 11R, 2A

*A. Folz 12P, 7R, 6A, 3S

*K. Bjerke 9P, 2R, 2A, 2S

*N. Elton 7P, 4R, 6A

K. Hagen 5R

Wyatt Murphy out injured

Also playing - Reid Bjerke, Isaac Griffin


SoutheastConference  2019BoysBasketball (updated since print edition through Feb. 4 games)              


Spring Grove* 11-0 SEC (14-2 season)                           

Kingsland 6-3 SEC (9-10 season)                 

Houston 3-7 SEC ( 8-10 season)            

Mabel-Canton 2-6 SEC (6-12 season)                                                                

Lanesboro 2-8 SEC (6-12 season)                 

*clinched at least a share of division championship  


Randolph  12-1 SEC (18-1 season)                                  

Grand Meadow 8-2 SEC (15-4season)                           

LeRoy-Ostrander 4-7 SEC (9-10 season)                

Lyle/Pacelli 4-7 SEC (6-11 season)                               

Schaeffer Academy 5-6 SEC (10-10 season)                 

Glenville-Emmons 0-10 SEC (0-15 season)                    


Spring Grove Boys Basketball (updated since print edition with Feb. 4 result)

14-2 (11-0 SEC) approximately 7:15 unless noted -* SEC games          

W vs. Glenville-Emmons* 69-35

W vs. Houston* 53-37

L vs. Charles City 56-58

W at Kingsland*62-59

W at Mabel-Canton*51-38

W vs. Randolph*66-45

W at Lyle/Pacelli* 65-40

W at Cannon Falls 67-42

W at La Crescent-Hokah 56-51

W vs. Lanesboro* 72-51

W vs. Decorah 74-62

W vs. Kingsland*60-57

W at Houston* 74-47

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 69-45

01-28 Waukon - canceled

01-29 at Grand Meadow* postponed to Feb. 11

W vs. Mabel-Canton*63-31

L vs. Rushford-Peterson 65-69

02-08at Mayer Lutheran 7:30 p.m.

02-09at Christ’s Household of Faith (St. Paul 1 p.m.)

02-11 at Grand Meadow*

02-12Schaeffer Academy

02-14at Fillmore Central (Preston) 7:30

02-19Grand Meadow (non-conf.)

02-22at Lanesboro*


B-team Boys 8-5

W vs. Glenville-Emmons    47-10

W vs. Houston               67-21

W at Kingsland               43-40

W at Mabel-Canton         49-20

L vs. Randolph               30-51

L at Lyle/Pacelli              41-51

L at La Crescent-Hokah  35-43

W vs. Lanesboro             43-38

L vs. Decorah                 29-50

W vs. Kingsland             48-29

W at Houston                 52-20

W vs. Mabel-Canton       63-24

L vs. Rushford-Peterson  33-40


8th Grade Boys 8-1

W vs. Caledonia            62-22

W vs. Houston               65 - 4

W at Kingsland               40-17    

W at Mabel-Canton         50 – 9

W at La Crescent-Hokah35-30

W vs. Lanesboro             39-26

W vs. Kingsland

W at Houston                 54-0

W vs. Mabel-Canton       61-20

L vs. Rushford-Peterson  38-39


7th Grade Boys 6-3

W vs. Caledonia             49-30

W at Kingsland               50 - 9

W at Kingsland               49-21

W at Mabel-Canton         44 – 8

L at La Crescent-Hokah  23-42    

L vs. Lanesboro              19-40

W vs. Kingsland             38-23

W vs. Mabel-Canton       36-10

L vs. Rushford-Peterson  12-37