Marie Petersen prepares for her sophomore season during first week of preseason practice. Photo by S. Lee Epps
Marie Petersen prepares for her sophomore season during first week of preseason practice. Photo by S. Lee Epps
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The Spring Grove girls opened the basketball season (shortly after the press deadline) on Nov. 28 at home against Schaeffer Academy. Lanesboro comes to town on Friday, Dec. 1, before SG hosts Grand Meadow on Dec. 7 - a third straight conference home game.

The Lions are looking to get back to the top of the Southeast Conference East Division after having its seven-year conference title streak snapped last season. The Lions did post their 10th-straight winning season (15-11, 9-5 SEC) while finishing in second place in the SEC East.

The Lions came into this season with a couple of holes to fill in the lineup. They lost two varsity letter winners, including their best shooter from the free throw and 3-point lines, Kelsey Hermanson, the team MVP and two-time all-conference forward.

Also gone to graduation is Grace Edgington, a three-year letter winning guard and the team’s second-best 3-point shooting percentage.

But the cupboard is far from bare as the Lions return two-thirds of their scoring and 72% of their rebounding.

Three of the team’s starters return among six letter winners, including one All-SEC player and one chosen All-SEC Honorable Mention.

Lauryn Bohr, a 5-foot-9 senior forward, was chosen Second Team All-SEC in both her sophomore and junior seasons. She led SG in scoring (13.3 ppg), rebounding (9.2 rpg) and field goal accuracy (43%) and was second in blocked shots (22)

Going into the season, she starts at No. 10 on career rebounding chart and the No. 12 all-time leading scorer (887 points) and shot blocker (38).

Mariah Edgington, a 5-6 junior guard, was voted the Hustle Award winner the last two seasons.

She started all 26 games as a sophomore and led SG in three defensive categories: steals (3.9 spg), blocked shots (27) and hustle points (4.6 per game). Edgington finished as the second-leading rebounder (7.0 rpg), the third-leading scorer (11.2 ppg) and third in assists (2.5 apg).

Amelia Solum, a 5-6 sophomore guard, moved into the starting lineup early last year as a freshman and played well before her teammates voted her last year's Most Improved Player. She averaged 5.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 1.7 assists.

“We have returning experience both on the perimeter and under the basket,” said Lion coach Aly Meyer, “with Bohr and Edgington inside and Solum at the guard spot. We’re confident the other girls will step up and play well for us.”

OTHER LETTER WINNERS

Kaitlyn Gross, a 6-3 senior center and 2-year letter winner, had a strong summer, and her height will present matchup problems for opponents. She played in all 26 games and averaged 2.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game with 15 blocked shots.

Alyssa Johnson, a 5-6 junior guard and 2-year letter winner, played in all 26 games in both her freshman and sophomore seasons. Last year, she averaged 3.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.

Sydnie Kampschroer, a 5-7 junior guard, played in 18 of the 26 games last season.

Others looking for playing time include Harlee Gavin, a 5-4 senior forward, who was voted the Lion Attitude Award and 5-6 senior forward Hannah Borreson.

There are junior guards - 5-7 Kailee Olerud and 5-5 Kyleigh Doering along with 5-2 sophomore guard Marie Peterson.

Two freshmen moving up from junior high are Erika Donlan and Olivia Gleason

Meyer (31-21) returns for her third year as head coach with assistant Kody Moore back for season number three. Matt Rosaaen will be the new junior high coach, joined by Sarah Tollefsrud.

“The first week has been good,” Meyer said. “The girls have been working hard and trying to get back into the swing of things. We’ve been working on getting back into basketball shape, fundamentals and a lot of defensive drills.”

STRENGTHS

The Lions will present a tough matchup under the basket when Bohr and Gross are in the game at the same time. Edgington, a very athletic, speedy, versatile do-it-all player will present defensive challenges for opponents on the perimeter. She led the team in blocked shots, which is unusual for a guard

CHALLENGES

One of the biggest challenges is replacing the top two 3-point shooters. The returning players hit only 20% of threes last year. The Lions also are replacing the best free throw shooter. The returning Lions hit only 47% of their free throws last year.

Numbers will be a challenge with only 13 high school players. The Lions may need some junior high help to play B-team games.

CONFERENCE CHANGE

Schaeffer Academy moves into East Division with Hope Lutheran having dropped conference membership. There will one conference game and one non-conference game versus both West Division rivals Grand Meadow and LeRoy-Ostrander

There will be 13 SEC contests plus other non-conference games versus La Crescent, Kingsland, Caledonia, Rushford-Peterson and Fillmore Central plus four Iowa squads - Decorah, Lansing Kee, Waukon and Osage.

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>>Lions the Last 6 Seasons

2017.....15-11 (11-3 SEC, 2nd East)

2016.....16-10 (14-4 SEC, 1st East)

2015.....17-10 (16-4 SEC, 1st East)

2014.....19-8 (16-2 SEC, 1st East)

2013.....23-7 (18-0 SEC, 1st East)

2012*....28-5 (18-0 SEC, 1st East)

.total 118-51 (93-13 SEC)

*1A champ, state tourney appearance

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Spring Grove Girls Basketball

2017-2018

*conference game

approximately 7:15 unless noted

Tues. 11/28 ..Schaeffer Academy* 7 pm

Fri. 12/01 .....Lanesboro*

Thur. 12/07 .Grand Meadow*

Fri. 12/08 ....at La Crescent 7:30 pm

Fri. 12/15.....at Houston*

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Border Battle at Luther College

Sat. 12/16 ..vs. Osage (Iowa) 2:30 pm

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Tues. 12/19 ...at Decorah (Iowa) 6:15 pm

Thur. 12/21 ...Mabel-Canton*

Fri. 12/29 ......LeRoy-Ostrander (non-conf.) 4 pm

Thur. 1/04 .....at Schaeffer Aca.* 7 pm

Fri. 1/05 ........Rushford-Peterson

Mon. 1/08 .....at Caledonia

Thur. 1/11 .....at LeRoy-Ostrander* 6:45

Fri. 1/12 ........at Lanesboro*

Mon. 1/15 .....Lansing Kee

Tues. 1/16 .....at Gr. Meadow (non-conf.)

Fri. 1/19 ........Fillmore Central

Tues. 1/23 .....Lyle/Pacelli*

Fri. 1/26 ........Houston*

Mon. 1/29 .....Waukon

Thur. 2/01 .....at Randolph*

Mon. 2/05 .....at Mabel-Canton*

Thur. 2/08 .....at Kingsland 7:30 pm

Fri. 2/09 ........Glenville-Emmons* 6 pm