Ethan Matzke gets to the basket for two of his 13 points in Spring Grove’s section opener. Photo by S. Lee Epps
Ethan Matzke gets to the basket for two of his 13 points in Spring Grove’s section opener. Photo by S. Lee Epps
The Spring Grove Lions (No. 2 seed) got the Section 1A tournament off to a fast start, playing well at both ends of the floor in a 69-29 win over Hayfield (No. 15 seed). The Lions improved to 22-5 overall while the Vikings finished a rebuilding season at 5-23.

The Lions took on No. 10 Seed Goodhue on Monday night, March 5, in the Rochester Civic Arena. We’ll have the results of the Lions’ matchup with last season’s section champion next week here in the Herald.

Spring Grove was extremely efficient on offense while smothering Hayfield on the defensive end, putting together a complete-game effort against the Vikings, winning the game by 40 points.

The Lions shot an impressive 54% from the field, 100% from the free throw line (7 for 7), all while committing only 4 turnovers (a season-best), including a 3-second lane violation. The 20-to-4 assist-to-turnover ratio was the best for SG in 27 games this season.

The Vikings had almost no success penetrating the Spring Grove defense. Hayfield scored only two baskets from close range - once on a fast-break layup and once on a backdoor baseline cut. While the Vikings were patient on offense, they were limited mostly to deep 3-point shots (4 for 24, 17%) and mid-range jump shots.

Nothing came easy for the Hayfield offense (32% from the field), which was also limited to only 3 free throws (1 for 3).

Except for one flurry of 5 turnovers, the young Viking team (mostly sophomore lineup) handled the ball well with only 12 turnovers all game against a barrage of three-quarter-court defensive pressure.

Three-straight closely-guarded jump shots by Patrick Towey was the only thing close to momentum for Hayfield, but that came with Spring Grove already leading 27-11.

While the Vikings hit 2 early 3-pointers, the Lions nailed 4 of their first 5 three-point attempts, including 3 straight by junior Alex Folz as Spring Grove won an early 3-point duel.

The Lions shot a strong 38% beyond the arc (8 for 21) but did most of their damage inside, where senior center Sam Sanness scored 21 points while hitting 10 of 11 shots.

Spring Grove dominated the post, outscoring the visitors in the lane by 41 points (45-4). That inside attack depended on accurate passes, mostly from junior Noah Elton, who posted a career-high 10 assists with only 1 turnover.

The most impressive team statistic came on the glass with Spring Grove not allowing the Vikings any offensive rebounds despite the presence of 6-foot-6 Hayfield center Luke Dudycha and 6-4 guard Mason Tapp. That is the fewest offensive boards for an opponent in the 13 years for which single-game statistics survive.

Spring Grove outrebounded Hayfield 27 to 14 with Sanness adding a game-high 7 boards to his game-high 21 points. Elton and Folz each grabbed 6 rebounds.

Four Lions scored in double figures with 13 points apiece from Folz and Ethan Matzke plus 10 from Adin Solum.

Towey, one of only two Hayfield seniors in the rotation, came off the bench to lead his team with 12 points.

The Lions, with 6 of their 8 treys coming in the first half, took a 21-point lead into halftime (38-17). Midway through the second half, the Lions were up by 25 points (49-24) before scoring on nine straight possessions to achieve the final 40-point blowout.

Hayfield came in off a 60-56 section play-in win against No. 18 seed Lanesboro. This was the first meeting between the Lions and the Vikings, the latter having just dropped down from Class AA to Section 1A.

Spring Grove advanced to a March 5 quarterfinal game in Rochester just after the Herald went to press. The Lions faced defending section champion and current No. 10 seed Goodhue (11-16), which had qualified with a 47-45 upset win over No. 7 Schaeffer Academy. The Wildcats have won three of four games against Spring Grove with the last meeting a 58-44 Goodhue victory in the 2016 section championship game.

The winner of the Spring Grove-Goodhue quarterfinal will advance to Rochester for a Saturday, March 10, semi-final at 2 p.m., against either No. 3 seed Wabasha-Kellogg (16-11) or No. 11 Lyle/Pacelli (15-10). Spring Grove has won 16 straight against L/P, but the Lions barely escaped an upset (61-57) against the Athletics at Austin in late January. The Lions are 4-3 all-time versus W-K and have won the last three - all in subsection tournaments (2016, 2015, 2014).

The Section 1A championship game is at Rochester on Saturday, March 17 at 5 p.m.

SG 69, Hayfield 29

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

Leahy 1A

Boyd 3P

Grinde 1R

*Solum 10P, 2R, 1A

*Matzke 13P, 4R, 2A, 1S

*Folz 13P, 6R, 3A, 3S

Bjerke 1A

*Elton 7P, 6R, 10A, 3S

Hagen 2P, 1R

*Sanness 21P, 7R, 2A

also playing - Bratland, Michels, Nerstad, Bergrud, Murphy



SG 38+31=69

Hay 17+12=29

all FG: SG 54% (27-50), Hay 32% (12-38)

2-pt FG: SG 66% (19-29), Hay 57% (8-14))

3-pt FG: SG 38% (8-21), Hay 17% (4-24)

Free throws: SG 100% (7-7), Hay 33% (1-3)

Rebounds: SG 27, Hay 14

Turnovers: SG 4, Hay 12

Fast break pts: SG 8, Hay 2

Pts. in paint: SG 45, Hay 4

Greatest Lead: SG 40, Hay 0

Lead Changes: 0


Section 1A Boys Basketball Tournament 2018

defending champion - Goodhue

>>Play-in games

##15 Hayfield 60, #18 Lanesboro 56

#14 Fillmore Central 76, #19 Glenville-Emmons 52

#16 Houston 69, #17 M-C 55

>>Round of 16

#1 Rush-Pete 74, Houston 35

#9 Blooming P. 63, #8 LeRoy-Ostrander 48

#4 Bethlehem Academy 56, #13 Southland 44

#5 Kingsland 54, #12 Grand Meadow 53

#2 Spring Grove 69, #15 Hayfield 29

#10 Goodhue 47, #7 Schaeffer Academy 45

#3 Wabasha-Kellogg 51, Fillmore 44

#11 Lyle/Pacelli 60, #6 Randolph 54


>>Quarterfinals at Rochester MCA

Tuesday, March 6

#1 Rush-Pete vs. #9 Blooming Prairie

#4 Bethlehem Academy vs. #5 Kingsland

Wednesday, March 7

#2 Spring Grove vs. #10 Goodhue

#3 Wabasha-Kellogg vs. #11 Lyle/Pacelli


>>Semi-finals at Rochester MCA

SATURDAY, March 10 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.


>>Finals at Rochester MCA

SATURDAY, March 17 at 5 p.m.


Spring Grove Boys Basketball 2017-2018 (end regular season)

22-5 (13-0 SEC) *conference game

>>>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

W vs. Klawock (Alaska) 94-64

W vs. Mankato Loyola 82-41

W vs. Grand Meadow (non-conf.) 61-44

W .at Decorah 55-54

L at Rushford-Peterson 57-64

>>Midwest Players Classic at La Crosse Center

L vs. La Crosse Aquinas 48-64

W at Lanesboro*82-36

W vs. Mabel-Canton* 73-54

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

L vs. Stevens Point Pacelli 57-61

W at Waukon 75-64

W at Lyle/Pacelli*61-57

W vs. Schaeffer Academy*68-37

W at Houston*58-31

W at Glenville-Emmons*85-37

W vs. Randolph*59-25

W at Schaeffer Academy*85-79

W at La Crescent 65-57

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander* 73-52

W at Grand Meadow*57-40

W vs. Kingsland 79-61

W vs. Lanesboro*81-44


W vs. #15 seed Hayfield 69-29



15-5 (13-1 SEC)

L at Fillmore Central 25-27

W at Mabel-Canton 54-21

W vs. Houston 49-19

W vs. Grand Meadow 58-24

L at Decorah 40-50

L at Rushford-Peterson 37-51

W at Lanesboro 36-19

W vs. Mabel-Canton 46-32

W vs. Waukon 53-27

L at Lyle/Pacelli 29-36

W vs. Schaeffer Academy 50-29

W at Houston 44-31

W at Glenville-Emmons 68-11

W vs. Randolph 60-30

W at Schaeffer Academy 32-27

L at La Crescent 20-34

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 50-21

W vs. Grand Meadow 57-29

W vs. Kingsland 43-34

W vs. Lanesboro 44-27



6-12 (5-6 SEC)

L at Caledonia 32-56

W at Fillmore Central 34-25

W at Mabel-Canton 44-27

W vs. Houston 56-15

L vs. Grand Meadow 28-51

L at Rushford-Peterson 28-46

L at Lanesboro 26-32

W vs. Mabel-Canton 35-13

L vs. Schaeffer Academy 12-37

W at Houston 43-15

L at Kee 25-41

L at Schaeffer Academy 23-41

L at La Crescent 38-44

L vs. Caledonia 24-25

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 40-34

L at Grand Meadow 27-36

L vs. Kingsland 36-40, OT

L vs. Lanesboro 37-40



14-3 (8-2 SEC)

W at Caledonia 52-10

W at Fillmore Central 32-21

W at Mabel-Canton 49-16

W vs. Houston 41-13

W vs. Grand Meadow 51-27

L at Rushford-Peterson 38-43

L at Lanesboro 20-37

W vs. Mabel-Canton 50-17

W vs. Schaeffer Academy 55-21

W at Houston 52-21

W at Kee 31-18

W at La Crescent 35-28