Girls overtake Decorah, blasted by Houston

LEFT: Lion freshman Jordian Leahy (in white) vies for possession during varsity action at Houston. CENTER: Amelia Solum is fouled while breaking through full-court defense during dramatic come-from-behind win against Decorah. RIGHT: Kailee Olerud (right) goes up for a rebound with Houston’s Sydney Torgerson. Photos by S. Lee Epps
By : 
Lee Epps

The Spring Grove girls rallied for a very satisfying 61-56home win against larger-school Decorah on Dec. 18. But two days later, it was a rude reversal of fortune when the Lions were promptly pummeled 80-50in an SEC showdown at Houston. 

That Thursday result gave the defending champion Hurricanes (3-3, 3-1 SEC) early control of the SEC East Division race as the Lions (5-2, 3-2 SEC) suffered their second conference setback. It was the only third meeting with the Vikings but the 95th contest versus the Hurricanes.

SG 61, Decorah 56

It appeared the Vikings (0-9) might well be on the way to their first win of the season with a 20-10 lead midway through the first half. But the Lions cut that margin in half by halftime (34-29) and would take their first lead (42-41) with a 3-point field goal from Amelia Solum. That trey came as five different players scored during an 11-point run midway through the second half. 

The last seven minutes of the game saw the score tied five times, but Spring Grove broke back ahead each time.  It was knotted for the final time at 55-55 before Kailee Olerud buried a mid-range jump shot and Alyssa Johnson hit 3 of 4 late free throws to give the Lions their greatest lead at 60-55 with 36 seconds remaining. 

After Decorah had netted only 3 of 6 late free throws, Solum closed the scoring with a charity shot with only 13 seconds to play.

Overall, the Vikings attempted the most free throws (7 for 22), but Spring Grove hit the most (10 for 17).

In the first half, Decorah feasted with fast break layups after steals and while breaking through the Lion full-court defense.

But after the break, Spring Grove took better care of the ball and dropped back into a zone defense. After 23 fast break points in the first half, the Vikings scored only once in transition in the second half. 

Lion coach Kody Moore said he was pleased with the girls' first use of this zone defense and their ability to come from behind for the win.

Buoyed by those early layups, Decorah still shot 41% for the game despite a miserable 1 for 11 result from 3-point range and having 5 shots blocked. Six-foot sophomore Emma Nierengarten led the Vikings with 15 points.

The Lions, meanwhile, sank 7 of 19 beyond the 3-point arc (a strong 37%) while also earning free throws with dribble drives,

Three Lions scored in double figures with Solum pouring in 18 points (3 for 3 with treys), Johnson 16 and Olerud (3 treys) a career-high 13 points.

The taller Vikings dominated the backboards with a 38-to-24 rebounding advantage. But Decorah also suffered through 29 turnovers. Solum lifted 5 steals with Mariah Edgington coming away with 4 thefts and Sydnie Kampschroer 3.

It was only the third meeting between the two neighbors with Decorah having taken both of the previous two - in 1999 and last year (41-39).

Eighth grader Maggie Lile scored 15 points as the Lions also won the closely contested B-team game, 37-34.

Varsity numbers



All FG: SG 35% (22-62), Dec 41% (24-58) 

2-pt. FG: SG 35% (15-43), Dec 49% (23-47) 

3-pt. FG: SG 37% (7-19), Dec 9% (1-11)

free throws: SG 59% (10-17), Dec 32% (7-22)

Rebounds: SG 24, Dec 38

Turnovers: SG 18, Dec 29

Fouls: SG 16, Dec 17


Johnson 16P, 2R, 3A, 2S, 3B

Edgington 6P, 5R, 3A, 4S, 2B

Solum 18P, 4R, 1A, 5S

Olerud 13P, 5R, 1A, 1S

Kampschroer 5P, 4R, 2A, 3S

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

Also playing - Leahy


Houston 80, SG 50

The game began with six consecutive Spring Grove turnovers on one end of the floor and five fast break lay-ups and a 3-point basket on the other end. The Hurricanes led 13-0 before the Lions attempted a shot.

Spring Grove would finally get off some shots, but Houston displayed superior speed while executing fast breaks whenever possible and would eventually score on 16 fast breaks (32 points). Out of 24 Lion turnovers, 21 came with Houston steals.

The 'Canes also got layup after layup while dribbling through the Lion half-court defense. Adding in rebound put-backs, Houston scored 70 of its 80 points from close range.

The Hurricanes owned the backboards with a huge 46-to-26 rebounding bulge.

It was a 48 to 24 double-up at halftime and 72-35 when the running clock rule kicked in with nine minutes to play.

Solum scored 16 points for the Lions with 10 from Johnson. But four Hurricanes scored in double figures led by sophomore Emma Geiwitz with 29 points. 

The lone Houston senior, two-time All-SEC Alyssa Rostad, poured in 19 points along with 10 rebounds. Jenny Albrecht added 15 points and eighth grader Sydney Torgerson 11 points.

Spring Grove shot only 29% from the field but was effective at the foul line while hitting 15 of 20 free throws. But Houston was even better while sinking an amazing 16 of 17 charity shots.

Houston scored 80 points for the second straight game against Spring Grove, but it was only the 11th win in 44 years for the Hurricanes in a series the Lions still lead 84 to 11.

A very young Hurricane B-team won, 37-21. There were no junior high games.

Varsity numbers



All FG: SG 29% (16-55), Hou 45% (31-69) 

2-pt. FG: SG 39% (13-33), Hou 51% (29-57)

3-pt. FG: SG 14% (3-22), Hou 17% (2-12)

free throws: SG 75% (15-20), Hou 94% (16-17)

Rebounds: SG 26, Hou 46

Turnovers: SG 24, Hou 19

Fouls: SG 11, Hou 16


Johnson 10P, 7R, 3A, 3S, 1B

Edgington 7P, 7R, 3A, 4 S, 2B

Solum 16P, 5R, 2A, 3B

Olerud 7P, 2R, 2S

Kampschroer 3P, 1R, 2A, 3S

Petersen 5P, 1R, 1S

Leahy 2P, 3R, 1S, 2B

This week and next

The girls visit state-ranked No. 5 Grand Meadow on Thursday, Dec. 27 in a non-conference contest. It will be four consecutive bus trips with road games at Class AA Cannon Falls on Jan. 5 and at Rushford-Peterson on Jan. 7.


Southeast Conference 2019Girls Basketball    (through Dec. 21 games)


Houston 4-1 SEC (4-3 season) 

Spring Grove 3-2, (5-2)

Mabel-Canton 3-2 (4-5) 

Kingsland 2-2 (4-2) 

Lanesboro 0-5 (0-6) 


Grand Meadow 5-0 SEC (10-0 season) 

Lyle/Pacelli 5-0 (8-2) 

Randolph 1-3 (6-4) 

LeRoy-Ostrander 1-4 (3-5) 

Schaeffer Academy 0-5   (2-9)


Spring Grove Girls Basketball 

approximately 7:15 unless noted. * SEC games.

5-2 (3-2 SEC)

L vs. Lyle/Pacelli* 57-72

W at Lanesboro* 73-45

W at Schaeffer Academy* 63-37

W vs. Mabel-Canton*55-52

W vs. Charles City 68-46

W vs. Decorah 61-56

L at Houston*50-80

12-27 at Gr. Meadow 3 p.m. (non-conf.)

01-05 at Cannon Falls 6 p.m.

01-07 at Rushford-Peterson 7 :30 p.m.

01-08 Kingsland*

01-11 Lanesboro*
01-17 at Randolph*

01-21 La Crescent-Hokah

01-25 Grand Meadow*

01-26 vs. LeRoy-Ostrander* 11 a.m. (at Target Center, Minneapolis)

01-28 at Waukon

01-31 at Mabel-Canton*

02-05 Caledonia

02-08 Houston*

02-11 at Fillmore Central 7:30 pm

02-14 at Kingsland*