Tysen Grinde works against Grand Meadow defender during junior high game. Photo by S. Lee Epps
Tysen Grinde works against Grand Meadow defender during junior high game. Photo by S. Lee Epps
The Spring Grove boys basketball team swept its last three ballgames, starting with the second game of the Rushford-Peterson Holiday Invitational, an 82-41 win over Mankato Loyola on Dec. 29. The Lions then overcame a slow start in the first half to post a non-conference home win over Grand Meadow, 61-44, before traveling to Decorah, Iowa, for a Friday non-conference matchup, which the Lions won on a last-second, Sam Sanness shot, 55-54.

The Spring Grove boys improved to 7-2 overall (3-0 SEC). After splitting the first four games of the season, the Lions have now won five straight.

Win vs. Loyola, 82-41

The Lions made it an undefeated run in the two games of the Rushford-Peterson Holiday Invitational, scorching the nets from long-distance while playing excellent defense during an 82-41 win over the Mankato Loyola Crusaders (3-7).

The Lions have hit more 3-pointers in a game, but they have never hit a better percentage than the 79% (15 of 19) they did against Loyola.

Ten Lions played in the game, and seven of them scored at least one basket from 3-point range. Overall, the Lions shot well from all over the floor, hitting 60% from the field for only the third time in the last 13 years.

The Crusaders also shot the ball well, especially beyond the arc, where they hit 46 %, but they didn’t have much of a chance to stay with the Lions because of 26 turnovers.

Loyola scored 41 total points while the Lions scored 45 points just from outside the 3-point line while they doubled the Crusader total overall (82-41).

Head coach Wade Grinde was pleased with not only the shooting, but the defensive effort, rebounding, and the overall performance. Spring Grove had a 10-rebound advantage (25-15) and committed 11 fewer turnovers (15 to 26) than Loyola did.

The Lions (5-2) took good care of the basketball, finishing with an excellent assist-to-turnover ratio at 24-to-15. Four players had more assists than turnovers, led by 8 assists from Alex Folz, who only had 2 turnovers. Adin Solum dished out 6 assists, and Ethan Matzke had a career-high 5 assists along with a game-high 8 rebounds.

Four Lions scored in double figures with another putting in 9 points. Noah Elton led the team with 19 points while Folz added 16, Matzke 15, Solum 11 and Sanness 9. Loyola senior Zan Ravarty scored 23 of his team’s 41 points.

The suspense was out of the game early as Spring Grove raced to a 31-6 lead right out of the gate. Up 46-20 at halftime, the Lions also won the second half 36-21. The largest lead was 41 points.

Varsity: SG 82, Loyola 41

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

Boyd 3P

Grinde 3P, 1R, 1A, 2S

*Solum 11P, 4R, 6A, 2S

*Matzke 15P, 8R, 5A, 2S, 3B

*Folz 16P, 3R, 8A, 3S

Bjerke 6P, 1R, 2S, 1S, 1B

*Elton 19P, 3R, 2A, 4S, 2B

*Sanness 9P, 5R, 2S

also playing - Nerstad, Bergrud



SG 46 + 36 = 82

ML 20 + 21 =41

all FG: SG 60% (31-52), ML 42% (16-38)

2-pt FG: SG 48% (16-33), ML 40% (10-25)

3-pt FG: SG 79% (15-19), ML 46% (6-13)

Free throws: SG 71% (5-7), ML 30% (3-10)

Rebounds: SG 25, ML 15

Turnovers: SG 15, ML 26

2nd Chance pts: SG 14, ML 2

Fast break pts: SG 12, ML 12

Pts. in paint: SG 37, ML 212

Greatest Lead: SG 41, ML 0

Lead Changes: 0

Fouls: SG 16, ML 8

Win vs. GM, 61-44

The Lion boys had moved up to No. 13 in the state Class A rankings before hosting the Superlarks on Thursday, Jan. 4. However, Grand Meadow also looked like a state-ranked team early on. It was a startling start for Lion fans on their home floor as GM jumped out to a 20-9 lead.

The Superlarks were undeterred by the Spring Grove backcourt defensive pressure, hitting 7 of 11 early shots, including 6 of 8 three-pointers.

The Lions called off the full-court pressure, and instead, locked down in their half-court man defense; the Larks then committed 9 turnovers while hitting only 1 of 6 more shots before halftime.

Spring Grove launched a 17-5 scoring run, leading 28-25 at halftime, and then opened the second half with a 12-2 run. The Lions led by as many as 15 points, but it was only a 10-point spread (51-41) with five minutes left. However, Grand Meadow (4-5) added only one more basket in the final five minutes.

Each team had 14 assists, but Spring Grove played with a season-best 8 turnovers while using 13 steals to help force 19 GM turnovers.

Despite being outrebounded 26 to 18, Spring Grove attempted 12 more shots than Grand Meadow, hitting 9 more field goals than the Larks.

Both teams wound up shooting well overall (SG 49%, GM 41%), from 3-point range (SG 40%, GM 44%) and from the free throw line (SG 7 of 8, GM 5 of 6).

The Lions poured in 45 of their 61 points in the lane while the Superlarks stayed close for most of the game with 7 three-pointers compared to 4 Spring Grove threes.

Four Lions hit double figures, led by Folz with 17 points and Matzke with 16. Sanness shot well, hitting 7 of 9 attempts on the way to 14 points. Elton scored 12 points while adding a team-high 4 steals, all while passing out 6 assists with no turnovers.

GM senior guard Max Jech hit 4 treys while scoring 17 points. Junior guard Austin Funk sank 3 triples to total 15 points while adding 9 rebounds.

This was the 40th-straight win for the Lions in the series that they now lead 49 wins to 13. This was a non-conference game with these two teams playing their SEC contest at GM on Feb. 16.

Nine of 10 Lions scored as SG ran away with the B-team game 58-24.

Varsity: SG 61, GM 44


Boyd 1R

Grinde 1R, 1S

*Solum 1R

*Matzke 16P, 6R, 3A, 1S

*Folz 17P, 3R, 3A, 3S

Bjerke 2P, 1A, 2S

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

*Sanness 14P, 3R, 1A, 2S



SG 28+33=61

GM 25+19=44

all FG: SG 49% (25-51), GM 41% (16-39)

2-pt FG: SG 51% (21-41), GM 39% (9-23)

3-pt FG: SG 4-% (4-10), GM 44% (7-16)

Free throws: SG 88% (7-8), GM 83% (5-6)

Rebounds: SG 18, GM 26

Turnovers: SG 8, GM 19

2nd Chance pts: SG 8, GM 10

Fast break pts: SG 11, GM 5

Pts. in paint: SG 45, GM 19

Greatest Lead: SG 17, GM 11

Lead Changes: 2

Fouls: SG 14, GM 10

Win at Decorah, 55-54

You can’t cut it much closer than Spring Grove did in a road game at Decorah, literally waiting until the last second on the clock to come away with a one-point win in a game that elevated the blood pressure of everyone in attendance.

Spring Grove’s last-second win came after the Lions trailed by as many as 15 points after halftime. With just 2.7 seconds left in the game, the Lions inbounded the ball under their offensive basket. Matzke had a shot blocked on one side, but Sanness grabbed the rebound and put it in to grab the win as the buzzer sounded.

While they were facing that 15-point deficit, the Lions hit three-straight 3-pointers to get it back within 8 points at the end of the third quarter (41-33).

Falling back down by 11, Spring Grove buried another three-straight 3-pointers to lower the deficit to just five points (47-42). Elton nailed a 3-pointer off of a fast break, making it a one-point game with 31 seconds to play.

Both teams missed the front ends of 1-and-1 opportunities, setting up the frantic finish. After a missed SG free throw with 8 seconds left, Elton ran down the rebound and put up a desperation 3-point shot from the corner with two Vikings in his face.

Matzke wrestled away the rebound with Coach Grinde calling for a timeout with 2.7 seconds left, just before Matzke was called for traveling while regaining his footing over a Decorah player that had fallen to the floor.

Grinde later said there was no doubt about which inbounds play the Lions were going to run. The final score was actually the first lead the Lions had since they were up 8-7 in the first quarter (the game was played according to Iowa rules - 4 quarters).

Three-point shooting was big in the second half for Spring Grove. After hitting just 1 of 8 from outside the arc in the first half, the Lions hit 9 of 16 treys during their second-half comeback (overall, 10 for 24, 42%). SG finished the game with 10 triples against 9 two-point baskets.

Both teams shot a better percentage from 3-point range than closer to the basket. The Lions hit a season-worst 29% from two-point range, due in large part to having 14 shots blocked.

While halves are actually two minutes shorter in Iowa than Minnesota, it was still the lowest-scoring first half for Spring Grove in seven years as they went into halftime down 24-17.

The Lions didn’t come out of the locker room scorching the nets, hitting only 2 of their first 13 shots and trailed by 15 points, the largest deficit of the game (39-24). But after only 17 first-half points, the Lions scored 38 in the second half.

Folz nailed 6 of 9 from outside the arc on the way to a game-high 22 points and 7 rebounds.

SG had a season-low in assists with 10 but also had a season-low/best with only 8 turnovers. Folz, Sanness, Caden Grinde and Kai Bjerke all had more assists than turnovers.

The Lions also had a season-low 10 fouls, resulting in only 7 Viking free throws (3 for 7). SG hit 7 of 12 free throws for a four-point edge at the foul line in a one-point victory.

The winning shot by Sanness came with his team-high and career-best eighth rebound. Rebounding was critical to the outcome as a 31-to-22 rebounding advantage led to SG outscoring Decorah 18-7 in second-chance points.

Jarod Redenius led Decorah with16 points and 6 rebounds while Jonah Johnson added 12 points.

The Decorah boys (3-6) are a 3A program, the next-to-largest division for boys in Iowa.

It was only the third game between the two programs with the Lions scoring 81 points while winning both in 1957 and 60 years later in 2017.

The Lion B-team (3-2) came up 10 points short at Decorah, 50-40.


The Spring Grove boys played at Rushford-Peterson as this edition was going to press. The Lions then host LeRoy-Ostrander in an SEC matchup on Thursday, Jan. 11, before they head to the Midwest Classic at the La Crosse Center in Wisconsin, where they face La Crosse Aquinas at 1:10 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13. It’s back into SEC play on Tuesday, Jan. 17, with a road game at Lanesboro.

SG 55, Decorah 54


Boyd 2P

Grinde 3P,1R, 1A

*Solum 3P, 1R

*Matzke 6P, 6R, 1A, 1B

*Folz 22P, 7R, 2A, 2S

Bjerke 5P, 3R, 3A, 1S

*Elton 8P, 5R, 1A

*Sanness 6P, 8R, 2A



SG 8 + 9 4+16+22=55

Dec 10+14+17+13=5

all FG: SG 35% (19-55), Dec 51% (22-43)

2-pt FG: SG 29% (9-31), Dec 44% (15-34)

3-pt FG: SG 42% (10-24 ), Dec 78% (7-9)

Free throws: SG 58% (7-12), Dec 43% (3-7)

Rebounds: SG 31, Dec 22

Turnovers: SG 8, Dec 10

2nd Chance pts: SG 18, Dec 7

Fast break pts: SG 5, Dec 6

Pts. in paint: SG 24, Dec 29

Greatest Lead: SG 1, Dec 15

Lead Changes: 3

Fouls: SG 10, Dec 11


Southeast Conference Boys

Updated since print edition, through Jan. 8 games


Spring Grove…..2-0 (7-3 all)

Schaeffer Aca….4-1 (9-4 all

Houston………..2-3 (4-7 all)

Mabel-Canton...1-3 (4-7 all)

Lanesboro… ...0-3 (0-10 all)


LeRoy-Ostrander...4-1 (10-2 all)

Randolph…………4-1 (8-4 all)

Lyle/Pacelli……….3-3 (8-5 all)

Grand Meadow…..2-3 (5-6 all)

Glenville-Emmons.0-4 (1-7 all)


Spring Grove Boys Basketball 2017-2018

Updated since print edition

7-3 (2-0 SEC) *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

W vs. Kiawok (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 Classic at La Crosse Center

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

Tues....1/16.....at Lanesboro*

Mon....1/22.....at Waukon 7:30 pm


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

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

Tues....1/30....at Lyle/Pacelli* (Austin)

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

Fri.......2/02....at Houston*

Mon....2/05....at Glenville-Emmons*


Sat......2/10.....at Schaeffer Academy*

Mon....2/12....at La Crescent 7:30 pm

Fri.......2/16....at Grand Meadow*





3-3 (3-0 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



3-3 (2-1 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



5-0 (3-0 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

L at Rushford-Peterson