Spring Grove boys dominant during three-win week

Carson Gerard (above right) blocks a shot by Lanesboro’s Bodie Mayer. Also defending for Spring Grove are John Koch (23), Kyle Hagen (41) and Payton Leahy. Photo by S. Lee Epps
S. Lee Epps

Defense was strong, and shooting was improved as the Spring Grove boys (12-10, 8-5 SEC) enjoyed a pair of 41-point second halves during a three-win week with comfortable 27, 35 and 29-point winning margins. 

The Lions finally seized the series lead with a 68-41 victory over visiting Fillmore Central on Feb. 3 before the next night limiting Lanesboro to a record 17 points on the Burros home floor, 52-17.  The week closed with a hot-shooting 69-40 road rout of Kingsland on Feb. 7.

SG 68, Fillmore Central 41

Lion senior John Koch had a career-high 23 points along with 16 rebounds while Caden Grinde tossed in 16 points and matched a career-high 10 assists.

Fillmore Central received a 17-point, 10-rebound double double performance from 6-3 senior Haidyn Gunderson and 11 points from junior Zach Haugerud.

 With four tie scores and five lead changes in the first half, the Lions trailed 20-18 before taking the lead for good with the last nine points of the first half. That run included a 3-point basket by Elijah Solum, two fast-break buckets by Grinde and two fast-break free throws from Koch.

It became a 15-point run when the Lions scored the first six points of the second half, passing the ball inside to Koch, Grinde and Hunter Holland with assists from Holland, Grinde and Caleb Nerstad.

The Falcons trimmed a 13-point deficit back down to 10 (46-36) with eight minutes to play, but Grove then put the game away with an 11-point run for a 21-point lead.

Spring Grove passed around a season-high 22 assists while out-shooting the Falcons 46% to 30% from the field while taking the ball inside with the pass (20 points) and the dribble (10 points) plus 14 offensive rebounds, which produced 11 points. The Lions had a 35-to-24 rebounding margin.

Spring Grove outscored the Falcons by 20 points from the field and also got to the foul line for more than twice as many free throws. The Lions made more free throws (15 for 25) than Fillmore Central attempted (8 for 12).

On offense, the Lions and Koch had too much height and strength inside. On defense, the Grove guys lifted 18 steals while forcing 24 Falcon turnovers.

Fillmore Central (3-16) scored 19 points with perimeter shooting, but both teams had five 3-point field goals (SG 5 for 16, FC 5 for 19.) Both squads also scored 10 fast-break points. 

It was the 10th straight win in the series for Spring Grove, which now leads the series for the first time, 17 wins to 16. Before the formation of the Fillmore Central school district, the Lions were 17-19 versus Preston-Fountain and only 18-40 against Harmony.

Spring Grove won the B-team game 47-28, the eighth grade game 37-29 and the seventh grade game 36-24.


SG 27+41=68

FC 20+21=41

Rebounds: SG 35, FC 24

Turnovers: SG 19, FC 24

All FG: SG 46% (24-52), FC 30% (14-46)

2-pt FG: SG 53% (19-36), FC 33% (9-27) 

3-pt FG: SG 31% (5-16), FC 26% (5-19) 

Free throws: SG 60% (15-25), FC 67% (8-12)

P-points, R-rebounds, A-assists, 

S-steals, B-blocks, * starter

Leahy 2R, 2S; *Nerstad 4P, 2R, 2A, 1S, 1B; Bjerke 2A, 2B; Michels 6P; *Grinde, C. 16P, 3R, 10A, 5S; Grinde, T. 6P; *Holland 2P, 1R, 2A; *Koch 23P, 16R, 1A, 3S, 3B; Gerard 4P, 3R, 1A, 1S; *Hagen 2P, 6R, 2A, 2S

Murphy 2R; Solum 5P, 2A, 4S


SG 52, Lanesboro 17

In between two strong-shooting performances, average shooting from the field (37%) was more than enough while dominating defense and season-best free throw accuracy propelled the Lions to a convincing season sweep of the Burros.

Koch had a 10-point, 14-rebound double double along with 4 steals and 2 blocked shots. Grinde, the KFIL Radio Game Ball recipient, had a game-high 5 steals and poured in 22 points while sinking 4 of 7 shots beyond the 3-point arc.

Nerstad added 8 points, and Payton Leahy had 3 assists with only 1 turnover.

Grove handled the round ball with only 10 turnovers while coming away with 17 steals, accounting for most of the Burros' 22 turnovers.

Despite all of those thefts, there were only four transition points (SG 4, LHS 0), making it a half court game, which was controlled by the Spring Grove zone defense.

The Burros (9-12, 4-9 SEC) were outscored 26-9 in the first half and 26-8 after intermission.

Dating back to 1948, the 17 points were the fewest that Lanesboro has scored against Spring Grove - at least in over seven decades. It is surely the fewest points for the Burros in the modern era, maybe the fewest since a 21-15 loss to Rushford in the 1946 season.

The Lions shot a good 38% from downtown (5 for 13) and a middling 36% closer to the basket. Meanwhile, the Burros hit only 1 of 17 trey attempts and shot only 17% from the field overall on their home court - a season-worst for a Lion opponent.

There was no free throw relief for the Burros, who went to the foul line only twice, hitting 2 of 3 free throws.

Meanwhile, Spring Grove camped out at the line for 23 free throws, sinking 17 for a season-best 74%.

It was the 14h straight win in the series for the Lions, who now lead 61 wins to 47 (since 1948). SG defeated the Burros 55-41 back in mid-December.

The Lion B-team also completed a season sweep 41-24 as did the seventh graders 38-15. The eighth grade Lions who had lost to the Burros by 25 points in December, came much closer with a 38-36 setback in last week's rematch.


SG   26+26= 52

LHS  9 + 8 = 17 

Rebounds: SG 33, LHS 23

Turnovers: SG 10, LHS 22

All FG: SG 37% (15-41), LHS 17% (7-41)

2-pt FG: SG 36% (10-28), LHS 25% (6-24)

3-pt FG: SG 38% (5-13), LHS 6% (1-17) 

Free throws: SG 74% (17-23), LHS 67% (2-3)

Griffin 1R; Leahy 3P, 3A, 1S; *Nerstad 8P, 3R, 1A, 1S; Bjerke 1R, 1S; *Grinde, C. 22P, 4R, 2A, 5S; Grinde, T. 1A, 1B; *Holland 2P, 1S; *Koch 10P, 14R, 1A, 4S, 2B; Gerard 2P, 4R, 1A, 1S, 1B; *Hagen 2P, 3R, 1A, 2S; Murphy 3P, 3R, 1S, 2B


SG 69, Kingsland 40

Points-in-the-paint was a near push (SG 24, KHS 25), but the Lions enjoyed their best 3-point shooting game of the season at 45%. Leahy, the KFIL Game Ball honoree, buried 5 of 6 trey attempts while tossing in a career-high 18 points. Four Lions hit 3-point baskets, including Nerstad (13 points) nailing 3 of 4 from afar.

Five players contributed to five Kingsland 3-pointers, but the Knights were 5 for 20 from downtown, while Spring Grove went 10 for 22, matching a season-best total of made treys.

It was not just the 3-balls, but also the perimeter 2-point shots. Spring Grove, while hitting half of its 2-point attempts, outscored Kingsland from the perimeter, 45 to 15. 

The Lions came in shooting 37% from the field for the season and shot at hot 48% on the road at Spring Valley. The Knights, with 9 of their 52 shots being blocked shot 31% overall.

Ball-handling was good all-around; the Knights had more assists (13) than turnovers (12), but the Lions were even better with 18 assists and only 7 lost possessions - their seventh game this season with single-digit turnovers.

Fouls (SG 11, KHS 9) were few as were free throws (SG 7 for 11, KHS 3 for 4). And again with only four fast-break points (SG 4, KHS 0), it was a half-court game. And the Lions were the better shooters this night while defending with a season-high 9 blocked shots.

Caden Grinde was on target with 2-point jump shots and was the third Lion scoring in double figures with 12 points. He completed a double double while matching a career-best 10 assists.

Koch was close to a third straight double double with 9 points and 9 rebounds along with 4 blocked shots. 

Kingsland (6-17, 5-9 SEC) was led by 6-foot-8 senior center Brady Musel who had 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. Six other Knights scored between three and six points.

Kingsland scored first, and there were three lead changes plus a pair of tie scores before the Lions closed the first half with an 11-to-3 run and a 28-19 halftime lead.

The second half began with a four-point play by Leahy and a 10-to-2 Lion run (SG 38, KHS 21).

A later 14-point scoring spree made it 56-26, shortly before the Lions enjoyed their greatest lead of 31 points.

The score was not typical of the series, which has seen three-point decisions in half of the eight games played. Spring Grove now leads seven wins to one.

Six Lions contributed to 11 3-point baskets while winning the B-teamgame 49-32with 10 points each from Eli Solum and Carson Gerard plus 9 points from both Caleb Griffin and Tysen Grinde.

There was a very competitive split in junior high action with the Lions taking the eighth grade game by two points and Kingsland the seventh grade game by the same slim margin. It as only the second setback for the SG seventh graders.


SG   28+41=69

KHS 19+21=40

Rebounds: SG 29, KHS 24

Turnovers: SG 7, KHS 12

All FG: SG 48% (26-54), KHS 31% (16-51)

2-pt FG: SG 50% (16-32), KHS 35% (11-31) 

3-pt FG: SG 45% (10-22), KHS 25% (5-20)

Free throws: SG 64% (7-11), KHS 75% (3-4)

Griffin 5P, 1R; Leahy 18P, 5R, 1A, 1B; *Nerstad 13P, 2R, 2A, 3S, 2B; Bjerke 1B; Michels 2R; *Grinde, C. 12P, 2R, 10A, 2S; Grinde, T. 2P, 2R; *Holland no stats; *Koch 9P, 9R, 4B; Gerard 3P, 2R, 2S; *Hagen 4P, 3R, 3A, 2S; Murphy 2A; Solum 3P; Olson 1R


This week and next

The boys played a makeup game at Grand Meadow on Tuesday of this week before hosting a Saturday, Feb. 15 boys-girls double header versus Class AA Cannon Falls on Fan Appreciation Night. The boys tip off against the Bombers at 3 p.m. with the girls to follow at approximately 5 p.m. B-team games will take place simultaneously in the practice gym.

Next week begins and the regular season ends for the boys at home on Monday, Feb. 17 against Class AA La Crescent-Hokah. There will be a 10-day break before the section tournament begins on Feb. 27.


SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE Boys Basketball 2020 (through Feb. 8 games)


Schaeffer Academy*11-2 (17-4 season)

Houston…………………9-4 (14-10 season)

Spring Grove………..8-5 (12-10 season)

Lanesboro……………...4-9 (9-12 season)

Mabel-Canton…………1-13 (3-19 season)


Randolph……………….11-2 (15-6 season)

Grand Meadow……….10-3 (15-6 season)

Lyle/Pacelli……………10-4 (15-6 season)

LeRoy-Ostrander.…...6-8 (10-13 season)

Kingsland…………….…4-10 (6-17 season)

Glenville-Emmons…..0-14 (2-19 season)

   *division champion


Spring Grove Boys Basketball 2020 

>>>12-10 (8-5 SEC)

*conference games - approximately 7:15 p.m. unless noted

W vs. Mabel-Canton* 64-25.

W at Houston*63-58 (OT)

W vs.  Lanesboro*55-41                               

L vs. Crestwood 36-51

L at Schaeffer Academy*38-50

L vs. Randolph* 40-54

W vs. Dover-Eyota at Rushford 69-62

W vs. Nevis at Rushford 54-49

L at Lyle/Pacelli* 60-67

L at Decorah 33-54

L at Rushford-Peterson 44-56

W vs. Glenville-Emmons* 59-20

L vs. Houston*53-56 OT 

L at Waukon 44-52

W at Mabel-Canton*48-24

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander*65-30

W vs. Lansing Kee 77-34

L vs. Schaeffer Academy* 31-34                 

L vs. Stratford *Wis.) 39-60

W vs. Fillmore Central 68-41

W at Lanesboro*52-17

W at Kingsland*69-40

Tues. 02-11 at Grand Meadow*

Sat. 02-15 #Cannon Falls 6 P.M.

Mon. 02-17 La Crescent-Hokah


>>>B-team Boys 14-3

W vs. Mabel- Canton 39-35

W at Houston 67-12

W vs. Lanesboro 55-31

W at Schaeffer Academy 42-38

W at Lyle/Pacelli 44-38

 L at Decorah 26-42

L at Rushford-Peterson 44-56

W vs. Glenville-Emmons 58-23

W vs. Houston 56-14

L at Waukon 39-41

W vs. Mabel-Canton 43-30

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 67-17

W vs. Lansing Kee 43-30

W vs. Schaeffer Academy 56-34

W vs. Fillmore Central 47-28

W vs. Lanesboro 42-24

W at Kingsland 49-32


>>8th Grade Boys 11-3

W vs. Mabel-Canton 35-21

W at Houston 27-17

W vs. Caledonia 33-31 (OT)

L vs. Lanesboro17-42

W at Schaeffer Academy 39-32

W at Caledonia 32-27

L at Rushford-Peterson 18-40

W vs. Houston 43-8

W vs. Mabel-Canton 43-18

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 42-21

W vs. Schaeffer Academy 34-28

W vs. Fillmore Central 37-29

L at Lanesboro 36-38

W at Kingsland


>>7th Grade Boys 12-12

W vs. Mabel-Canton 26-6

W at Houston 37-18

L vs. Caledonia 24-37

W vs. Lanesboro 40-16

W at Schaeffer Academy 34-10

W at Caledonia 42-40

W at Rushford-Peterson 34-33

W vs. Houston 

W at Mabel-Canton 35-19

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 42-22

W vs. Schaeffer Academy 44-3

W vs. Fillmore Central 36-24

W at Lanesboro 38-15

L at Kingsland