Sam Sanness scores inside at Grand Meadow. Photo by S. Lee Epps
Sam Sanness scores inside at Grand Meadow. Photo by S. Lee Epps
The Spring Grove boys basketball team swept three games last week in similar fashion. Each game was tight in the first half before a Spring Grove scoring run put the game away for the Lions, who started the week with a 65-57 road win at La Crescent on Monday, Feb. 12.

The Lions dominated what was expected to be a shootout against LeRoy-Ostrander, pulling out a 73-52 home win against the Cardinals on Thursday. The Lions ended the week with a road win at Grand Meadow on Friday, 57-40, sweeping the season-series with the Superlarks.

The Lions entered this week at 19-5 overall (12-0 SEC) with two games left in the final week of the regular season.

Win at La Crescent, 65-57

Sam Sanness sparked the Lions when he scored three times during a 13-0 Spring Grove run that wiped out a La Crescent lead in what had previously been a really close game.

The run began with the game's 11th lead change as an Alex Folz steal and assist on a Noah Elton fast-break basket put Spring Grove ahead for good at 42-41. That run ended with a Folz assist on a Sanness field goal for a 52-44 Lion lead. But that didn’t mean the game was over.

The final outcome was still in doubt until Spring Grove sank 9 of 16 free throws in the final minute and a half. That shaky SG free throw shooting was enough with the Lancers able to hit only one of their final eight shots.

Sanness shot 80% (8 of 10) from the field to finish with a game-high 17 points. Adin Solum provided outside scoring to balance Sanness’ output down low. Solum buried 5 of 7 three-point shots while scoring 15 points.

Folz had 5 steals and hit 5 of 8 free throws at the end to add another 15 points. Elton had 9 points and 5 assists with only one turnover.

Ethan Matzke (5 points) had 9 rebounds, but La Crescent significantly outrebounded SG 36 to 22.

The Lions (17-5) moved the ball well when it counted, getting assists on all six baskets in the critical scoring run and finished with 19 assists and just 12 turnovers.

Thanks to a strong 42% from 3-point range (8 for 19), SG outshot the Lancers overall 46% to 41%.

Tom Kiesau, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, had a solid all-around game for La Crescent with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Cade McCool led Lancer scoring with 14 points while Ben Nelson contributed 13.

McCool had hit two treys to send La Crescent (12-9) into halftime with a 33-31 lead. The second half began with seven lead changes before the game-changing Lion run.

Class AA La Crescent slipped to12-9. Class A Spring Grove had won the last two games in the non-conference series, but the Lancers lead all-time 23 wins to 8

La Crescent won the B-team game 34-20 and the eighth-grade game 44-38, but the Lion seventh graders (9-3) prevailed 35-28.

SG 65, Las Crescent 57

Individuals: * starters

In order of jersey number

P-points, R-rebounds, A-assists,

S-steals, B-blocked shots.

Boyd 3P, 1R

*Solum 15P, 3R, 3A

*Matzke 5P, 9R, 5A, 4S

*Folz 15P, 1R, 4A, 5S

Bjerke 1P, 2R, 2A, 2S

*Elton 9P, 4R, 5A

*Sanness 17P, 2R, 1S, 1B



SG 31+34=65

LC 33+24+57

all FG: SG 46% (23-50), LC 41% (23-56)

2-pt FG: SG 48% (15-31), LC 59% (17-29)

3-pt FG: SG 42% (8-19), LC 22% (6-27)

Free throws: SG 52% (11-21), LC 83% (5-6)

Rebounds: SG 22, LC 36

Turnovers: SG 12, LC 20

Fast break pts: SG 4 12

Pts. in paint: SG 28, LC 35

Greatest Lead: SG 11, LC 1

Lead Changes: 11

Fouls: SG 11, LC 21


Win vs, L-O, 73-52

The Lions and L-O traded huge momentum swings in a highly-anticipated shootout before Spring Grove took control late in the ballgame.

L-O (16-7, 7-4 SEC) came into the night hoping to end a 30-game losing streak to SG. It looked like they had an excellent chance as the Cardinals came in with the program's most wins in 15 years. The 16 Cardinal victories were more than the previous three seasons combined.

The Lions started fast, opening with a 25-8 lead while forcing turnovers and scoring on 11 of their first 16 possessions. However, the Cardinals settled down and began to take better care of the ball, scoring on 11 of 12 possessions to cut that 17-point deficit down to only two points (37-35) at halftime.

The last momentum shift went to SG; suddenly, a close game for the first 29 minutes became a blowout during the final seven minutes. The Lions were still up two points (49-47) before they closed the game on a 24-to-7 run, scoring on 12 of their last 13 possessions.

While the Lions warmed up in the second half, the Cardinals cooled off. After shooting 58% in the first half, L-O shot only 25% in the second half.

Solum poured in a career-best 20 points despite sustaining an early ankle injury. Elton scored 16 points along with 7 assists.

Matzke added 13 points plus 9 rebounds and a career-high 8 assists with no turnovers. Alex Folz was also in double figures with another 13 points.

Junior point guard Trey Hungerholt netted 4 treys to lead L-O with 20 points. Seth Royston, a 6-foot-5 guard, hit 5 triples on the way to 17 points. Riley Olson scored 13 points from the post.

Both teams weren’t shy about hoisting up shots from long-distance, and it was a hot 3-point shootout. The Cards netted 9 treys (43%) and Spring Grove 8 (47%). But the Lions, with pinpoint passes inside, were much better from 2-point range and outshot L-O overall 57% to 41%.

Free throws were barely a factor with only 10 attempted (SG 3 for 7, L-O 1 for 3).

Spring Grove had its best assist-to-turnover ratio of the season with 24 assists and only 8 lost possessions. The Lions outrebounded L-O 32 to 22.

The loss was a critical setback for the Cards in a three-team battle atop the SEC West.

Spring Grove won the B-team game 50-21 and both junior high games.

SG 73, L-O 52


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

*Solum 20P, 4R, 3A, 2S

*Matzke 13P, 9R, 8A, 1S, 1B

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

Bjerke 2R, 3A, 1S, 1B

*Elton 16P, 5R, 7A, 4S

*Sanness 8P, 4R, 1A



SG 37+36=73

LO 35+17=52

all FG: SG 57% (31-54), LO 40% (21-52)

2-pt FG: SG 62% (23-37), LO 40% (12-30)

3-pt FG: SG 47% (8-17), LO 41% (9-22)

Free throws: SG 43% (3-7), LO 33% (1-3)

Rebounds: SG 32, LO 22

Turnovers: SG 8, LO 13

Fast break pts: SG 4, LO 4

Pts. in paint: SG 43, LO 25

Greatest Lead: SG 21, LO 2

Lead Changes: 2


Win at GM, 57-40

The pattern continued for the third-straight game last week as Spring Grove won by a comfortable margin after a very tight first half. In both this conference game and an earlier 61-44 Lion non-conference win, SG led the Superlarks by three points at halftime before winning by 17.

In this rematch, Spring Grove led 23-20 at halftime after Folz broke a tie with a 3-point basket at the buzzer.

The Superlarks (12-12, 8-4 SEC) had led by five points before the Lions closed the first half with a 10-to-2 run. Spring Grove took command early in the second half with a 17-to-3 run.

Once again during a second-half surge, the Lions carved up a defense with accurate passes inside (23 points). The Lions also shot well from outside (24 points), hitting 8 of 20 three-point shots (40%).

Again, free throws were of little consequence with only seven attempted (SG 1 for 3, GM 4 for 4).

Folz, with 4 treys, led all scorers with 24 points. Matzke was solid all around with 14 points, a game-high 8 rebounds, as well as 6 assists with only one turnover.

The Lions responded well with a six-player rotation, playing without Solum, who sat out resting a sprained ankle.

Sophomore guard Ethan Lane led the Larks with 15 points and Austin Funk added 13

It was a grinding, slow-paced half-court game, with both teams displaying patience on offense, but the Lions shot a little better (56% to 46%), handled the ball a little better (8 turnovers, GM 14), and rebounded a little better (SG 20, GM 14).

SG extended its winning streak versus GM to 41 games and leads the all-time series 50 wins to 13.

The Lions won both the B-team game (57-29) and the seventh-grade game, but the Larks took the eighth-grade game.

SG 57, GM 40


Boyd 6P, 4R, 2A, 1S

Solum out injured

*Matzke 14P, 8R, 6A, 1S, 1B

*Folz 24P, 2R, 3A, 1S

*Bjerke 9P, 2R, 2A, 2S

*Elton 2R, 4A

*Sanness 4P, 2R



SG 23+34=57

GM 20+20=40

all FG: SG 56% (24-43), GM 46% (16-35)

2-pt FG: SG 70% (16-23), GM 52% (12-23)

3-pt FG: SG 40% (8-20), GM 33% (4-12)

Free throws: SG 33% (1-3), GM 100% (4-4)

Rebounds: SG 20, GM 14

Turnovers: SG 8, GM 14

Fast break pts: SG 2, GM 2

Pts. in paint: SG 33, GM 22

Greatest Lead: SG 19, GM 5

Lead Changes: 3


After only six previous home games, the Lions close out the last week of the regular season with two home games, the first of which was a non-conference matchup against section rival Kingsland on Monday, Feb. 19, and we’ll have the results here next week.

The Lions close out the season with their final SEC matchup of the regular season against Lanesboro with SG looking to sweep the Burros in conference play.


Southeast Conference Boys (through Monday, Feb. 19 games)


Spring Grove*...12-0 (19-5 all)

Schaeffer Aca…..9-3 (18-7 all

Houston…………5-8 (10-16 all)

Mabel-Canton….4-9 (8-15 all)

Lanesboro…….. 1-11 (2-21 all)



Randolph^.………9-3 (18-6 all)

LeRoy-Ostrander..8-4 (17-7 all)

Grand Meadow….8-4 (12-12 all)

Lyle/Pacelli……….5-7 (12-10 all)

Glenville-Emmons.0-12 (1-21 all)

^clinched share of title


Spring Grove Boys Basketball 2017-2018 (as of Feb. 21)

19-5 (12-0 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. 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. S.P. Pacelli 487-61

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

Thur. 2/22 vs. Kingsland

Fri. 2/23 vs. Lanesboro*



12-5 (11-1 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

L at La Crescent 20-34

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 50-21

W vs. Grand Meadow 57-29



6-10 (5-5 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 46-32

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



13-2 (8-1 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 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

W vs. Caledonia 46-18

W vs. LeRoy-Ostrander 42-14

W at Grand Meadow 41-23