Spring Grove boys enjoy holiday wins over Dover-Eyota, Nevis

LEFT: Wyatt Murphy rebounds during holiday win over previously undefeated Nevis. CENTER: Caden Grinde gets to the basket for two of his career-high 36 points during win against Class AA Dover-Eyota. RIGHT: John Koch shoots over Nevis post defense. He had 16 points and 8 rebounds in this Lion win against the Tigers.
S. Lee Epps

Caden Grinde scored a career-high 36 points to lead the Lion boys past Class AA Dover-Eyota, 69-62, on Dec. 27 and the next afternoon, Spring Grove (5-3) continued to shoot well in dealing a first defeat to Nevis, 54-49.

Both games were part of holiday double headers at Rushford. Nevis was previously undefeated, coming off the previous night's 74-65 win against Rushford-Peterson.

SG 69, Dover-Eyota 62

It was a welcome departure from previous shooting frustration. The Lions ended a three-game losing streak in which they scored only 36, 38 and 40 points. Spring Grove put up 39 points in the first half against the Eagles (6-2), who lost for only the second time.

D-E, for the second straight game, was without injured 6-foot-7 senior Brady Williams who was averaging 23.3 points through the first four games. He has been a starter since his eighth grade season.

The Eagles had averaged 64 points a game with Williams, scored 85 the first time without him and still put up 62 points against Spring Grove. 

Grinde attempted the Lions' first five shots and hit them all on the way to an 18-8 lead. That lead also came from a defense that came away with four early steals and Kyle Hagen taking a charge.

Grinde would eventually hit 5 of 7 beyond the arc on the way to 36 points along with 5 assists, 4 steals and a blocked shot.

Payton Leahy added 10 points. Hagen (6 points) had a career-high 4 assists while also matching a career-best with 11 rebounds.

Caleb Nerstad (6 points) had a career-high 7 rebounds and John Koch (5 points) a career-best 4 steals.

The Lions led 39-23 at halftime and later by as many as 22 points (53-31), but there would be no blowout. D-E scored on seven of eight possessions to fight back within three points (64-61) with two minutes to play.

The Grove guys would hit only 5 of 12 free throws in the final minute and a half, but three times rebounded a missed charity shot.

The Eagles attempted only one shot from the field and a two free throws in the final two minutes.

The Lions shot season highs at 46% overall from the field and 41% while sinking 7 of 17 three-point shots. It was necessary as the Eagles also shot well at 40% overall and 36% (9 for 25) from 3-point range.

In fact, D-E outscored Spring Grove from the field by four points, but the Lions won by getting to the foul line where they held an 11-point advantage. Grove attempted a season-high 40 free throws and hit a season-best 20. The Eagles hit a strong 67%, but earned only 12 attempts (9 for 12).

Junior guard Landon DeMuth came off the bench to lead D-E with 19 points. Senior center Blake Blattner added 12 points.

It is believed to be the first meeting between the two teams. There was no B-team game.

>>SG 39+30=69

>>DE 23+39=62  

Rebounds: SG 31, DE 26 

Turnovers: SG 17, DE 20

All FG: SG 46% (21-46), DE 40% (22-55)

2-pt FG: SG 48% (14-29), DE 43% 13-30)

3-pt FG: SG 41% (7-17), DE 36% (9-25)

Free throws: SG 50% (20-40), DE 67% (9-12)

P-points, R-rebounds, A-assists, S-steals, B-blocks, * starter

*Leahy10P, 1R, 1A, 2S; *Nerstad6P, 7R, 1A, 2S, 1B;Bjerke1P; *C. Grinde36P, 1R, 5A, 4S, 1B; *Koch5P, 7R, 1A, 4S; *Hagen6P, 11R, 4A, 3S; Murphy5P, 3R, 1A, 1B


SG 54, Nevis 49

The Lions overcame 20 turnovers with another season-best shooting performance. This time it was the opponent with the most free throws, while Spring Grove scored the most points from the field (47 to 35).

The Lions' 47% from the field, 42% from 3-point land and 70% from the free throw line were all season highs. But the Tigers 22 free throw attempts and 14 makes were the most this season for a Lion opponent.

It was a back-and-forth battle for most of the afternoon. Down 24-22 at halftime, Spring Grove would trail 38-36 before achieving the last of nine lead changes with a 9-point run for a 45-38 lead with under two minutes remaining.

That spurt started with a Leahy 3-pointer and concluded with back-to-back baskets from Koch. The Lions protected a five-point lead by hitting 3 of 4 free throws in the final 19 seconds.

Leahy and Koch each scored a career-high 16 points. Leahy drilled 4 of 6 beyond the 3-point arc, while Koch prevailed near the basket with 7 of 11 shooting.

Grinde added 10 points along with 6 rebounds, 6 assists and a career-best 4 blocked shots. Hagen rebounded 9 times while Koch corralled 8 caroms. Hagen took 3 charges.

The Lions were better by far beneath the backboards with a huge 32-to-18 rebounding bulge. But the Tigers handled the ball with only 12 turnovers, 8 fewer than Spring Grove.

Both squads were hot from downtown with Nevis hitting 7 of 16 treys (44%) and the Lions 5 for 12 (42%).

But Spring Grove was better from 2-point land and outshot Nevis from the field overall, 47% to 35%.

Nevis is a Class A school between Park Rapids and Walker in Section 5A. The Tigers football team lost to Spring Grove in the 2017 state championship game.

SG  22+32=54

Nev 24+25=49  

Rebounds: SG 32, Nevis 18

Turnovers: SG 20, Nevis 12

All FG: SG 47% (21-45), Nevis 35% (14-40)

2-pt FG: SG 48% (16-33), Nevis 29% (7-24)

3-pt FG: SG 42% (5-12), Nevis 44% (7-16)

Free throws: SG 70% (7-10), Nevis 64% (14-22) 

*Leahy16P, 1R, 2A, 2S; *Nerstad7P, 2R, 2A, 2S, 1B; *C. Grinde10P, 6R, 6A, 1S, 4B; *Koch16P, 8R, 1A; *Hagen9R, 1A; Murphy4R, 1A, 1B; Solum5P


SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE Boys Basketball 2020 (through Jan. 3 games)


Schaeffer Academy…6-0 (10-1 season)

Houston…………………4-2 (6-5 season)

Spring Grove………..5-4 (3-3 season)

Lanesboro……………...1-5 (3-6 season)

Mabel-Canton…………1-5 (2-8 season)


Randolph……………….6-0 (7-4 season)

Lyle/Pacelli……………5-2 (7-3 season)

Grand Meadow……….4-2 (8-3 season)

LeRoy-Ostrander.…...3-4 (5-6 season)

Kingsland…………….…2-5 (4-7 season)

Glenville-Emmons…..0-7 (1-9 season)


Spring Grove Boys Basketball 2020

>>>5-4 (3-3 SEC)

*conference games - approximately 7:15 p.m. unless noted

W vs. Mabel-Canton* 64-25.

W at Houston*63-58 (OT)

W vs.  Lanesboro*55-41                               

L vs. Crestwood 36-51

L at Schaeffer Academy*38-50

L vs. Randolph* 40-54

W vs. Dover-Eyota at Rushford 69-62

W vs. Nevis at Rushford 54-49

L at Lyle/Pacelli* 60-67

Tues. 01-07 at Decorah 7:30 P.M.

Thur. 01-09 at Rushford-Peterson 7:30 P.M.

Fri. 01-10 Glenville-Emmons*

Tues 01-14 Houston*

Fri. 01-17 at Grand Meadow*

Mon. 01-20 at Waukon 7:30 P.M

Tues. 01-21 at Mabel-Canton*

Fri.  01-24 LeRoy-Ostrander*

Mon. 01-27 Lansing Kee

Fri.  01-31 Schaeffer Academy*                  

Sat. 02-01 vs. Stratford 10 A.M. *(Wisconsin/Minnesota Border Battle at La Crosse)

Mon. 02-03 Fillmore Central

Tues. 02-04 at Lanesboro*

Fri. 02-07 at Kingsland*

Sat. 02-15 #Cannon Falls 6 P.M.

Mon. 02-17 La Crescent-Hokah


>>>B-team Boys 5-0

W vs. Mabel- Canton 39-35

W at Houston 67-12

W vs. Lanesboro 55-31

W at Schaeffer Academy 42-38

W at Lyle/Pacelli 44-38


>>8th Grade Boys 4-1

W vs. Mabel-Canton 35-21

W at Houston 27-17

W vs. Caledonia 33-31 (OT)

L vs. Lanesboro17-42

W at Schaeffer Academy


>>7th Grade Boys 4-1

W vs. Mabel-Canton 26-6

W at Houston 37-18

L vs. Caledonia 24-37

W vs. Lanesboro 40-16

W at Schaeffer Academy