Ethan Matzke drives against La Crosse Aquinas. Photo by S. Lee Epps
Ethan Matzke drives against La Crosse Aquinas. Photo by S. Lee Epps
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The Spring Grove Lion boys basketball team dropped a couple games on the floor last week and another one to Mother Nature. The Lions rallied but couldn’t overcome a deficit while losing at Rushford-Peterson 64-57 on Monday, Feb. 8. The conference road game at LeRoy-Ostrander scheduled for Thursday was postponed to Feb. 15. The final game of the week was Saturday at the Midwest Players Classic in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where the Lions offense went quiet in the second half, losing to La Crosse Aquinas 64-48. Spring Grove is 7-4 overall (2-0 SEC).

Loss at R-P, 64-57

For the second-straight game, the Lions rallied late in the game with 3-point baskets, but they were too far behind to catch the Trojans on their home floor.

The Lions hit 4 of their 6 treys while trying to erase a 19-point deficit and got it down to six points (60-54) with a minute remaining before losing by seven.

The Trojans, running a delay offense in the final three minutes to kill the clock, left the door ajar by twice missing the front ends of 1-and-1 free throws but then went on to sink 5 of 6 foul shots in the final half-minute.

Alex Folz had a game-high 20 points to lead Spring Grove, including 3 treys. He was also fouled twice while shooting beyond the arc and sank all 6 of those free throws, finishing 7 for 7 at the line.

Senior center Sam Sanness was a force down low, hitting 7 of 9 shots while matching a career-high with 16 points.

The Lions outrebounded R-P 24 to 20 with the margin all coming on the offensive boards (8 to 4). Sanness, Adin Solum and Ethan Matzke each rebounded 6 times

Junior point guards were the leading scorers for both teams as Landon Skalet had team-highs with 18 points and 6 assists to lead Rushford-Peterson (8-3). Senior post player Jacob Paulson had 16 points and a game-high 7 rebounds.

The Lions came in shooting 44% for the season and shot 45% against R-P with 6 treys. However, the Trojans were better at 56% from the field - also with 6 threes, all while sharing the ball well, finishing with 19 assists on 25 field goals.

It wasn’t necessarily a pretty game for either team. Spring Grove, averaging 14 turnovers a game, committed a season-worst 21 turnovers against the Trojans, who lost possession 16 times.

State-ranked at No. 13 Spring Grove (7-3) scored the first two points of the game, but unranked R-P (8-3) then scored the next nine points and led the rest of the way.

For the second-straight game, the Lions had fewer than 20 points in the first half (18) and then more than doubled that output (39) while outscoring the opposition in the second half.

Down 28-18 at halftime, the Lions hit their first four shots of the second half to get back within three points at 30-27. But Spring Grove would add only one field goal and 4 free throws during its next 13 possessions.

It was the fourth-straight win for R-P over SG, including last year's sub-section championship game.

The Trojans swept all four Monday games, winning the B-team game 51-37 and both junior high games - the first loss for the Lion seventh graders.

R-P 64, SG 57

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

Takoda Boyd 3P, 1S

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

*Adin Solum 2P, 6R, 5A, 1S

*Ethan Matzke 6P, 6R, 3A

*Alex Folz 290P, 4R, 3A, 3S

Kai Bjerke 1A

*Noah Elton 8P, 2S

*Sam Sanness 16P, 6R

TEAM TOTALS:

SCORE by HALVES

SG 18+39=57

R-P 28+36=64

all FG: SG 45% (21-47), R-P 56% (25-45)

2-pt FG: SG 58% (15-26), R-P 73% (19-26)

3-pt FG: SG 29% (6-21), R-P 32% (6-19)

Free throws: SG 75% (9-12), R-P 57% (8-14)

Rebounds: SG 24, R-P 20

Turnovers: SG 21, R-P 16

2nd Chance pts: SG 12, R-P 7

Fast break pts: SG 8, R-P 6

Pts. in paint: SG 31, R-P 36

Greatest Lead: SG 2, R-P 19

Lead Changes: 1

Fouls: SG 18, R-P 12

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Loss to Aquinas, 64-48

The Lion offense went quiet in the second half, and that would be the difference in the ballgame. A very close game became not close at all when foul-prone SG scored only four points in the final eight and half minutes. Aquinas trailed before scoring 22 of the final 26 points of the game, which was the third of a seven-game card at the eighth-annual Midwest Players Classic in the La Crosse Center.

It was the first meeting between Spring Grove and Aquinas, a school with an estimated enrollment of 280, that plays in Division 4 - for the next-to-smallest schools in Wisconsin

SG was shooting only 31% from the field while leading 44-42 with 8:28 remaining, but the Lions finished the game with a chilly season-worst 27% after hitting only 2 of their final 15 shots

It’s not that the SG didn’t have chances to score. The Lions could not win a game in which they attempted 26 more shots than the opponent, greatly because the Blugolds shot 62%, the best percentage of any Lion opponent thus far.

The Lions earned the most shots while committing 7 fewer turnovers (13 to 20) and grabbing 12 more offensive rebounds (19 to 7). However, Spring Grove could not take advantage of those rebounds, scoring only 8 second-chance points and finishing the game with a season-low 48 points.

The Muscle Milk Player of the Game for SG was Noah Elton, who hit a career-high 4 three-pointers on the way to 15 points. Sanness hit the boards hard against the Blugolds, pulling down a career-best 13 rebounds (11 offensive) and just missing a double-double with 8 points.

Spring Grove was in foul trouble early with three starters going to the sideline in the first half, which made it a little harder for the offense to get into a consistent rhythm. After the halftime break, Folz (13 points) sat out a third of the second half while Matzke missed two-thirds of the final 18 minutes

The Lions committed a total of 22 fouls, half of which (11) while fouling one player, 6-foot-6 Randy Jacobson. The senior center hit only 5 of 12 free throws, but Aquinas attempted 24 foul shots, the most of any SG opponent this year (15 for 24, 63%).

Spring Grove was 8 for 14 at the line (57%) with Kai Bjerke going 5 for 6 - all while the Lions moved ahead for the last time.

Aquinas scored 45 of its 64 points in the lane with Jacobson scoring 21 points along with 10 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Three Blugolds combined to score 51 of their 64 points.

Aquinas did not rely on 3-point shots; the Blugolds shot them well at 43% but attempted only seven (3 for 7)

This was a game of runs with an early 13-4 SG lead wiped out by a 14-point Aquinas run.

The Blugolds led 26-24 at halftime and were up 38-32 before the Lions put together a 12-4 run to lead 44-42 midway through the second half.

Then, points became a little hard to come by. Spring Grove suffered through its late scoring drought, while Aquinas took control by scoring on 11 of 13 late possessions.

Both SG (7-4) and Aquinas (8-4) left with four losses.

Aquinas 64, SG 48

Individuals

Boyd 1S

Grinde 5P, 2R

*Solum 6R, 1A

*Matzke 2P, 5R, 2A, 1S

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

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

*Elton 15P, 4R, 1A, 3S

*Sanness 8P, 13R, 1S

also playing - Hagen=

TEAM TOTALS:

SCORE by HALVES

SG 24+24=48

AHS 26+38=64

all FG: SG 27% (17-63), AHS 62% (23-37)

2-pt FG: SG 30% (11-37), AHS (20-30)

3-pt FG: SG 23% (6-26), AHS 43% (3-7)

Free throws: SG 57% (8-14), AHS 63% (15-24)

Rebounds: SG 32, AHS 28

Turnovers: SG 13, AHS 20

Fast break pts: SG 4, AHS 13

Pts. in paint: SG 24, AHS 45

Greatest Lead: SG 9, AHS 18

Lead Changes: 5

Fouls: SG 22, AHS 14

Schedule (updated since print edition)

The Lions kicked off the week with an 82-36 conference rout at Lanesboro on Tuesday, Jan. 16, their only game of the week. Spring Grove (8-34, 3-0 SEC) will have a few days without a game before they head to Waukon, Iowa, for a non-conference game on Monday, Jan. 22. The boys are back home on Jan. 25 versus Mabel-Canton.

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Southeast Conference Boys - updated since print edition through Jan. 16 games

>>EAST DIVISION

Spring Grove…..3-0 (8-4 all)

Schaeffer Aca….4-1 (10-4 all

Mabel-Canton…2-3 (5-7 all)

Houston………..2-4 (5-8 all)

Lanesboro……..0-4 (0-12 all)

>>WEST DIVISION

LeRoy-Ostrander..4-1 (11-2 all)

Randolph…………4-1 (8-4 all)

Lyle/Pacelli……….3-3 (8-5 all)

Grand Meadow….3-3 (6-7 all)

Glenville-Emmons.0-5 (1-8 all)

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Spring Grove Boys Basketball 2017-2018

Updated since print edition to include Tuesday, Jan. 16 games

8-4 (3-0 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

Thur.....1/11.....LeRoy-Ostrander* postponed until Feb. 15

>>Midwest Players Classic at La Crosse Center

L vs. La Crosse Aquinas 48-64

W at Lanesboro*82-36

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

Thur....1/25.....Mabel-Canton*

>>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*

Thur....2/08....Randolph*

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

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

Thur....2/15....LeRoy-Ostrander*

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

Mon....2/19....Kingsland

Fri.......2/23....Lanesboro*

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B-TEAM BASKETBALL

4-3 (4-0 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 37-51

W at Lanesboro 36-19

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EIGHTH GRADE BASKETBALL

3-4 (2-2 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

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SEVENTH GRADE BASKETBALL

5-2 (3-1 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