Sam Sanness shoots over Springfield defender Decker Scheffler in a 16-point performance in his first varsity game. Photo by S. Lee Epps
Sam Sanness shoots over Springfield defender Decker Scheffler in a 16-point performance in his first varsity game. Photo by S. Lee Epps
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The Spring Grove boys basketball team opened the season with a tough test, which might be the biggest understatement of the day. The Lions opened with state-ranked at No. 2 Springfield, which was already playing its fourth game of the season and returns all the key players from last year’s 29-4 team that took third in the Class A State Tournament.

Springfield beat Spring Grove 86-63 in one of 17 games played at Hopkins High School on Saturday, Dec. 9, during the Breakdown Tip-Off Classic, which matched highly-rated teams from all over the state. The Lions are 0-1 (0-0 SEC).

The state-ranked at No. 17 Lions were down 22-18 when the Tigers took off on an 18-1 run before halftime. While the Tigers hit 8 of 13 shots during that span, the Lions committed 10 of their 17 total turnovers, which Springfield converted to 9 fast-break points. Springfield scorched SG with 23 transition points during the game.

Springfield outshot the Lions from the field 54% to 34%.

Six-foot-five senior center Sam Sanness, playing in his first-ever varsity game, scored 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.

The Lion offense was also effective when point guard Alex Folz drove the ball into the lane. Folz tallied 13 of his team-high 17 points from the foul line while hitting 13 of 16 free throws (an impressive 81%). Overall, the Lions were solid at the line, dropping in 19 of 26 shots (73%).

After missing all of last season with an injury, 6-4 junior forward Ethan Matzke chipped in a career-high 13 points.

Adin Solum, a 6-2 senior guard, was the fourth Lion in double figures with a career-best 10 points in his first varsity start.

Also drawing his first varsity start, junior guard Noah Elton scored 5 points, led the team in steals (3) and hustle points (7) while sharing the rebounding lead with 7.

Returning from last season’s All-State Tournament team, 6-foot-4 junior guard Isaac Fink led Springfield with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists despite sitting out several minutes in foul trouble.

Sophomore Mitchell Buerkle added a game-high 19 points and 9 boards. The 86 points were a season-low for the Tigers, who’d already put up 96, 110, and 94 in three previous blow-out victories.

Down 40-23 at halftime, SG trailed by as many as 29 points in the second half before hitting five straight shots during an 11-2 run.

The Dec. 7 game at Rushford-Peterson was postponed due to a power outage in Rushford. The makeup date will be Jan. 8.

The junior high boys opened at Caledonia on Dec. 8 with the Warriors taking the eighth grade game 56-32 and the Lions winning the seventh grade game 52-10,

Schedule

The Lion boys were back on the road Dec. 12, with a non-conference game at Fillmore Central. SG heads to Mabel-Canton on Thursday, Dec. 14 for the SEC opener with the Cougars.

Saturday, it’s on to the Iowa-Minnesota Border Battle in Decorah, Iowa, for a matchup with New Hampton, Iowa, at 5 p.m.. It’s back home on Dec. 19, with a conference game against Houston.

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SG 63, Springfield 86

Individuals: * starters (In order of jersey number)

P-points, R-rebounds, A-assists, S-steals, B-blocked shots.

Takoda Boyd 2R, 2S

*Adin Solum 10P, 4R, 2A

*Ethan Matzke 13P, 4R, 1A, 1s

*Alex Folz 17P, 7R, 5A, 1S

Kai Bjerke 2P, 1S

*Noah Elton 5P, 7R, 2A, 3S

*Sam Sanness 16P, 7R, 1S

also playing: Payton Leahy, Caden Grinde, Chandler Bergrud, Kyle Hagen, Wyatt Murphy

TEAM TOTALS:

SCORE by HALVES

SG 23+40=63

SHS 40+46=86

all FG: SG 34%(21-61), SHS 54% (36-67)

2-pt FG: SG 42% (19-45), SHS 67% (30-45)

3-pt FG: SG 13% (2-16), SHS 27% (6-22)

Free throws: SG 73% (19-26), SHS 62% (8-13)

Rebounds: SG 31, SHS 40

Turnovers: SG 17, SHS 15

Fast break pts: SG 6, SHS 23

Greatest Lead: SG 2, SHS 29

Fouls: SG 13, SHS 17

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Spring Grove Boys Basketball 2017-2018

1-1 (0-0 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

Thur.....12/14....at Mabel-Canton*

>>Iowa/Minn. Border Battle at Luther College

Sat......12/16....vs. New Hampton (Iowa) 5 pm

Tues...12/19....Houston*

>>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........1/05.....at Decorah 7:30 pm

Mon.....1/08.....at Rushford-Peterson 7:30 pm

Thur.....1/11.....LeRoy-Ostrander*

>>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

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

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

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

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

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SEC Boys Basketball as of Dec. 13 (updated since print edition)

East Division

Schaeffer..........2-0 (5-0 all)

Spring Grove....0-0 (1-1 all)

Lanesboro.......0-0 (0-2 all)

Houston...........1-2 (1-3 all)

Mabel-Canton..0-2 (2-2 all)

West Division

LeRoy-Ostrander...2-0 (3-1 all)

Grand Meadow.....1-0 (3-0 all)

Randolph...............1-1 (2-2 all

Lyle/Pacelli............1-2 (3-2 all)

Glenville-Emmons.0-1 (0-3 all)

Monday, Dec. 12

Spring Grove 79, Fillmore Central 56

Randolph 71, Lyle/Pacelli 58