Reid Bjerke gets to the basket on fast break during eighth grade 44-27 win at Mabel-Canton. Photo by S. Lee Epps
Reid Bjerke gets to the basket on fast break during eighth grade 44-27 win at Mabel-Canton. Photo by S. Lee Epps
The Spring Grove boys basketball team took two of three games last week, starting off with a non-conference win at Fillmore Central 79-56 on Tuesday, Dec. 12, that saw the Lions score the last 23 points of the game. The Lions hit the road on Thursday night for a 62-43 SEC win at Mabel-Canton and then wrapped up the week on Saturday at the Iowa-Minnesota Border Battle with a tight 62-57 loss to the New Hampton Chickasaws. The Spring Grove boys are 2-2 (1-0 SEC).

Win at Fillmore Central

Spring Grove put the Falcons away late in the game by scoring the final 23 points of a game they would ultimately win by 26. The Lions (1-1) never trailed and stayed ahead mostly by hitting free throws. Fillmore Central (0-4) hit enough 3-pointers to stay alive until the final six minutes of the game.

A 3-pointer by Takoda Boyd gave the Lions a 3-point lead at halftime (30-27), and the Lions would lead by 12 (46 to 34) before the Falcons would rally back with five 3-pointers to get back within 2 points at 55-53.

The spread was only 3 points (59-56) with 6:10 left to play before the Falcons would go scoreless for the rest of the game while committing five turnovers and missing all seven shots they took.

Meanwhile, Spring Grove closed by hitting 6 of 10 shots from the field and 7 of 8 free throws. After 12 turnovers and 30 points in the first half, the Lions lost the ball only twice and scored 49 points in the second half.

The Lions also hit their free throws, going 23 of 29 at the stripe (79%), where they held a 16-point edge over the Falcons. FC attacked mostly out on the perimeter, so they had far fewer free throw attempts, going 7 for 10 while they did hit well from the outside where they hit 11 shots outside the arc (11 for 31, 35%). Six different Falcons hit from deep, but Josh Peterson hit four treys to lead Fillmore Central in scoring with 21 points.

SG guard Alex Folz was almost perfect at the line, hitting 12 of 13 free throws to lead all scorers with 26 points while dishing out 7 assists.

Ethan Matzke hit 8 of 11 from the field while scoring a career-high 18 points and completed a double-double with 10 rebounds.

Sam Sanness put in 13 points while grabbing 7 boards and blocking 3 shots. Noah Elton added 11 points and a team-best 4 steals.

In addition to the 16-point edge at the foul line, Spring Grove also shot a hot 48% from the field while scoring 59 points in the paint.

This was the eighth-straight win in the series for the Lions, but FC holds a one-game lead all-time, 16-15.

The Lion B-team lost a 10-point lead and the game, 27-25. SG won both the eighth-grade game 34-25 and the seventh-grade game 32-21.

VARSITY: SG 79, Fillmore Central 56

Individuals: * starters. In order of jersey number, P-points, R-rebounds, A-assists, S-steals, B-blocked shots.

Boyd 3P, 1R

*Solum 7P, 6R, 5A, 1S

*Matzke 18P, 10R, 2A, 2S, 1B

*Folz 26P, 2R, 7A, 4S

Bjerke 1P, 1R, 1A

*Elton 11P, 4R, 4A, 4S

*Sanness 13P, 7R, 3B



SG 30+49=79

FC 27+29=56

all FG: SG 48% (26-54), FC 38% (19-50)

2-pt FG: SG 65% (22-34), FC 42% (8-19)

3-pt FG: SG 20% (4-20), FC 35% (11-31)

Free throws: SG 79% (23-29), FC 70% (7-10)

Rebounds: SG 31, FC 21

Turnovers: SG 14, FC 20

Fast break pts: SG 12, FC 2

Pts. in paint: SG 59, FC 17

Fouls: SG 14, FC 22


Win at Mabel-Canton

The stands at Mabel-Canton were packed as usual for the annual visit from the Spring Grove boys with the Lions getting their 16th straight victory over the Cougars, 62-43. The Lions now have exactly twice as many wins in the series as the Cougars, 78-39.

Spring Grove did score the first 6 points but was only ahead 20-12 before separating with a 12-3 run on the way to a 40-19 halftime lead.

At one point, the Lions led by 30 points (57-27) before the Cougars battled back to within 19 at the end. M-C actually outscored the Lions 24-22 in the second half.

KFIL radio chose Elton as the Lion Player of the Game. Elton scored a game-high 22 points, while KFIL Game Ball winner Folz dropped in 12 points (three 3-pointers).

Matzke scored 11 points, grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds, and dished out 3 assists. Sanness was the fourth Lion to get to double figures with 10 points and 7 rebounds. Kai Bjerke came off the bench with 3 assists (no turnovers) and 2 blocked shots.

The KFIL Cougar Player of the Game was all-conference junior point guard Drew Wyffels, who led his team with 15 points while grabbing 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Blake Henry had a game-high 10 rebounds. M-C was most competitive on the glass, only outrebounded 36 to 33.

It wasn’t a pretty game as the two teams combined with 45 turnovers (SG 19, M-C 26), 43 fouls and 46 free throws. The Lions were much better at the foul line, hitting 16 of 24 free throws (67%), while the Cougars were only 10 for 22 (45%).

Spring Grove did shoot pretty well from 3-point land (6 of 19, 32%), but finished at only 34% overall, not a lot better than the Cougars’ 30% from the field.

The Lion B-team (1-1) won big, 54-21. SG also won the eighth grade game 44-27 and the seventh grade game 49-16.

VARSITY: SG 62, Mabel-Canton 43

Individuals: * starters

Boyd 3P, 4R, 1A, 1S, 2B

Michels 1S

Grinde 1S

*Solum 4P, 6R, 3A, 2S

*Matzke 11P, 9R, 3A, 4S

*Folz 12P, 6R, 3A, 4S

Bjerke 3A, 1S, 2B

*Elton 22P, 4R, 2A, 3S

*Sanness 10P, 7R, 1B

ALSO playing: Leahy, Bratland, Hagen, Bergrud, Murphy



SG 40+22=62

M-C 19+24=43

all FG: SG 34% (20-59), M-C 30% (14-47)

2-pt FG: SG 35% (14-40) , M-C 32% (9-28)

3-pt FG: SG 32% (6-19), M-C 26% (5-19)

Free throws: SG 67% (16-24), M-C 45% (10-22)

Rebounds: SG 36, M-C 33

Turnovers: SG 19, M-C 26

Fast break pts: SG 10, M-C 12

Pts. in paint: SG 42, M-C 25

Fouls: SG 22, M-C 21


Loss vs. New Hampton

A late rally in the fourth quarter took the game literally down to the last shot, but Spring Grove fell to New Hampton in an exciting duel that went back-and-forth. It was one of six games on Dec. 16 on the final weekend of the annual Iowa-Minnesota Border Battle in Decorah. The Minnesota boys won six of the nine games against Iowa competition

The Lions trailed 58-49 with two minutes to play before back-to-back 3-pointers by Folz made it a 3-point game with just 1:23 left. While the Chickasaws hit 2 of 4 late free throws, the Lions would sink only 1 of their final 5 shots from the field, including the potential game-tying three in the final seconds. A foul on the rebound then sent New Hampton back to the foul line with 0.7 seconds left to score the final two points.

The Class AA Chickasaws (6-2) won while being whistled for only 9 fouls. The Lions, having attempted from 24 to 29 foul shots in the first three games, attempted only 3 free throws, hitting 2 against New Hampton, their lowest number in two years.

The Lions outshot and outscored New Hampton from the field, but the Chickasaws hit 13 of 21 free throws, giving them an 11-point advantage at the free throw line in a 5-point win.

State-ranked at No. 17 Spring Grove led the entire first half, by as many as 11 points (19-8) before New Hampton rallied back to within 2 points at halftime (29-27).

The teams then traded scoring runs in the second half. A flurry of Lion turnovers led to an 11-0 New Hampton run. However, SG would score the next 9 points, and the score was tied at 44 at the end of the third quarter (game played according to Iowa rules with four quarters instead of two halves).

The Chickasaws scored the next 6 points and were never caught in spite of a late 8-1 Lion scoring run. New Hampton led 60-57 with 8.5 seconds left when a missed free throw gave the Lions their chance at a last-second shot.

Spring Grove (2-2) definitely shot well enough to win, including 37% from 3-point range (7 for 19) and a season-high of 50% overall from the field, but they could have used a few more trips to the free throw line.

Folz went 4 of 8 from deep, leading Spring Grove with 16 points. Four other Lions all scored between 8 and 11 points, including Matzke with 9 points and 7 rebounds. Elton scored 11 points while Adin Solum added 10 points (4 of 6 shooting).

For New Hampton, John Keagan had 17 points and 6 rebounds while Jacob Zwanziger added 16 points and 7 rebounds.

SG 57, New Hampton 62


Boyd 1R, 1S

Grinde 3P, 1R

*Solum 10P, 3R, 3A, 2S

*Matzke 9P, 7R, 2A, 2S

*Folz 16P, 3R, 3A, 3S

Bjerke 2A, 1B

*Elton 11P, 1R, 2A

*Sanness 8P, 2R, 1A, 2S, 2B



SG 19+10+15+13=57

NH 13+14+17+18=62

all FG: SG 50% (24-48), NH 43% (19-44)

2-pt FG: SG 59% (17-29), NH 46% (18-39)

3-pt FG: SG 37% (7-19), NH 20% (1-5)

Free throws: SG 67% (2-3), NH 62% (13-21)

Rebounds: SG 18, NH 24

Turnovers: SG 14, NH 13

Fast break pts: SG 5, NH 6

Pts. in paint: SG 36, NH 40

Fouls: SG 18, NH 9



The Lions have just one game on the schedule this week before the Christmas holiday, a home game on Tuesday, Dec. 19, against Houston.

Rushford-Peterson is hosting a four-team holiday event where SG will play a pair of 6 p.m. games - versus Mankato Loyola on Thursday, Dec. 28, and against Kiawok (Alaska) on Dec. 29.


SEC Boys Basketball - updated since print edition (through Dec. 19 games)


Spring Grove.....2-0 (3-2 all)

Schaeffer Aca....3-1 (7-1 all)

Mabel-Canton...1-3 (4-3 all)

Houston…….….1-3 (1-5 all)

Lanesboro ….....0-1 (0-5 all)


LeRoy-Ostrander..4-0 (6-1 all)

Randolph…………4-1 (5-2 all)

Grand Meadow….1-3 (3-3 all)

Lyle/Pacelli……….1-3 (3-4 all)

Glenville-Emmons.0-2 (1-4 all)

Tuesday, Dec. 19 scores

Spring Grove 71, Houston 50

Mabel-Canton 73, Lanesboro 41

LeRoy-Ostrander 49, Grand Meadow 41

Randolph 68, Schaeffer Academy 55


Spring Grove Boys Basketball 2017-2018

3-2 (2-0 SEC) updated since print edition

*conference game - approximately 7:15 unless noted

>>>Breakdown Classic at Hopkins

L vs. Springfield 63-86

W at Fillmore Central 79-56

W at Mabel-Canton* 62-43

>>Iowa/Minn. Border Battle at Luther College

L vs. New Hampton (Iowa) 57-62

W vs. Houston* 71-50

>>Holiday double headers at Rushford-Peterson

Thur....12/28....vs. Mankato Loyola 6 pm

Fri......12/29.....vs. Kiawok (Alaska) 6 pm

Thur.....1/04.....Grand Meadow (non-conf.)

Fri........1/ Decorah 7:30 pm

Mon.....1/ Rushford-Peterson 7:30 pm


>>Midwest Classic at La Crosse Center

Sat.......1/13.....vs. La Crosse Aquinas 1:10 pm

Tues....1/ Lanesboro*

Mon....1/ Waukon 7:30 pm


>>Border Battle at Steven's Point, Wis.

Sat......1/27.....vs. S.P. Pacelli 11:30 am

Tues....1/ Lyle/Pacelli* (Austin)

Thur....2/01....Schaeffer Academy*

Fri.......2/ Houston*

Mon....2/ Glenville-Emmons*


Sat......2/ Schaeffer Academy*

Mon....2/ La Crescent 7:30 pm

Fri.......2/ Grand Meadow*





2-1 (2-0 SEC)

L at Fillmore Central 25-27

W at Mabel-Canton 54-21

W vs. Houston 49-19



3-1 (2-0 SEC)

L at Caledonia 32-56

W at Fillmore Central 34-25

W at Mabel-Canton 44-27

W vs. Houston 56-15



4-0 (2-0 SEC)

W at Caledonia 52-10

W at Fillmore Central 32-21

W at Mabel-Canton 49-16

W vs. Houston 41-13