Girls, boys close summer league play

LEFT: Kai Bjerke gets to the basket against Rochester Lourdes at the Breakdown Summer Series Tournament. RIGHT: Kyle Hagen scores against Cannon Falls last Saturday at Rochester. Photos by S. Lee Epps
By : 
S. Lee Epps

The varsity basketball boys, despite playing without their point guard, won three of four games last week, including a third place finish in the Breakdown Summer Series Tournament. Facing Class AA and AAA competition, the only loss came by one point in a contest decided with less than a second to play. 

The varsity girls closed summer basketball with a league tournament split. The B-team boys also split two league basketball games.

Many of the same girls closed a team volleyball camp with 10 straight wins on the final day.



The Lion ladies won all 10 tournament matches they played on July 15 at a team camp at the University of Minnesota. Spring Grove was one of 30 teams, including one from another continent - Brazil. 

Eleven Lions made the trip, consisting of five upcoming seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and two eighth graders.



The Lions (2-8) closed with a win as the summer league season at Viterbo came to an end on July 17 with a five-team lower bracket tournament. 

Spring Grove received the No. 3 seed and fell to No. 2 Onalaska Luther in the first round before defeating No. 4 Sparta in the nightcap.

There were only six Lions on hand with several key players unavailable due to summer jobs and injury.

>>Luther 41, SG 20 

The Knights were in control early on the way to a 24-8 halftime cushion. Amelia Solum led Lion scoring with 12 points. Luther enjoyed a height advantage and a deeper 12-player roster.


>>SG 43, Sparta 38

 The Lions held a 24-20 halftime lead and then outscored the Spartans 19-18 in the second half. Solum put in 18 points while eighth grader Maggie Lile added 11 and Sydnie Kampschroer 7.



With a Legion baseball playoff game being played at the same time during basketball summer league play, the varsity cagers concluded their summer league schedule a win over Westby despite a limited lineup, missing four usual contributors.

On Saturday, the Lions placed third at an eight-team, Breakdown Summer Series Tournament at Rochester. The lone loss came in the final second of a semi-final heartbreaker against Class AA Rochester Lourdes. Spring had opened with a win over Class AA Cannon Falls and closed by taking down Class AAA Albert Lea in the third place contest.

SG improved to 11-5 for the summer with a final 3-3 record in Tuesday summer league action.


>>SG 49, Westby 34 

The Lions, who led 25-23 at halftime, outscored Westby 24-11 in the second half. The separation began with a couple of 3-point field goals from Noah Elton.


>>SG 38, Cannon Falls 31

Spring Grove scored the first 12 points, led by 11 at halftime (26-15) and was still up by 11 until the Bombers put in the final two baskets. The Lions hit only 4 of 11 free throws while CF went 8 for 9.

Caden Grinde and Ethan Matzke each put in 10 points.


>>Lourdes 43, SG 42

The Eagles hit the winning free throw with nine-tenths of a second on the clock. The Lions, down early 9-3, launched a 14-to-1 run to grab a lead they would hold through halftime (23-17) and would not relinquish until the final 45 seconds.

 Lourdes tied the score at 26 and again at 40, but the Eagles did not edge ahead (42-41) until the final minute. Each team hit 1 of 2 free throws in the final half minute.

In a 40-minute running-clock game, there were 43 foul shots. SG sank 14 of 23 free throws while Lourdes went 12 for 20.

Kai Bjerke led Lion scorers with 14 points.


>>SG 56, Albert Lea 49

It was a slow start for SG in the third place game. The Lions trailed early 9-2 and were down 28-18 at halftime. The Tigers hit six of their 10 three-point field goals in the first half. An estimated 6-foot-6 center scored all 10 of his points before halftime.

SG then adjusted the defense, and the Tigers did not shoot nearly as well in the second half. With 38 second-half points, the Lions more than doubled their first-half production (18 points.)

Takoda Boyd scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half; Bjerke also tossed in 17.



With a Tuesday night split, the B-team boys closed their summer league schedule with a 5-2 record with both losses coming by single-digit margins versus La Crescent.

>>SG 39, Bangor 30 

It was close until the Lions surged midway through the first half to lead 28-18 at the break. Caleb Nerstad was unable to continue after an early injury.


>>La Crescent 38, SG 33 

It was a one-point game at halftime when two players left for the varsity game. Down to six players, the Lions fell behind by double digits in the second half and then rallied back into contention.

Spring Grove challenged for the lead late, but could not connect with a couple of key shots.