Girls rally versus Vikings, but no contest against Hurricanes

LEFT: Jacine Johanningmeier (left) and seventh grade teammate Emerson Ingvalson reach for rebound above Decorah’s Bryar Duwe. RIGHT: Lion freshman Maggie Lile scores on a fast break against Decorah. Trailing are teammate Jordian Leahy and the Vikings’ Emma Niergarten. Photos by S. Lee Epps
S. Lee Epps

The Spring Grove girls staged a second-half rally before finally succumbing to Decorah (Iowa) 47-38 on Dec. 3. But the Lions were swept away early during a sensational 81-23 performance by Houston in the conference opener on Dec. 5. 

In both of those home games, Spring Grove (0-4, 0-1 SEC) was still shorthanded with key players - Marie Petersen, Piper Thompson and Addyson McHugh – all out of action while on the injured/illness list. An additional injury sidelined another Lion starter during the second half against Houston

Decorah 47, SG 38

Down by as many as 12 points in the first half and by nine at halftime (32-23), Spring Grove was back within one point with six minutes remaining. But the Lions would only add one 3-point basket the rest of the way, while the undefeated Vikings (3-0) scored on six of their final eight possessions. Ahead by nine at halftime, Decorah would win by nine.

Spring Grove had scored the first four points of the game, but the visitors took the lead for good with an early 10-point run for a 17-8 lead. The Lions could never match that scoring burst.

There were four Vikings at heights of 5-foot-10 to 6-0. Taking advantage of that height advantage, they used a pick-and-roll offense to take control in the first half. The Lions adjusted at halftime and defended in the lane better in the second half. 

Spring Grove attempted 24 shots both inside and beyond the 3-point arc. But the Lions only hit 5 of those 23 official trey attempts (fouled on the other).

Decorah attempted half as many 3-pointers and was a frigid 1 for 12 (8%) from 3-point land. But the Vikings hit nearly half of their inside shots (47%), outscoring SG 35-16 in the lane.

With three more offensive rebounds and five fewer turnovers, Decorah shot not only better (38% to 30%) but also more often.

Amelia Solum led Lion scoring with 17 points and shared team rebounding honors with Jacine Johanningmeier, each with six boards. Maggie Lile added 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

Three Vikings scored in double figures, highlighted by senior Ambria Pipho with a 12-point, 12-rebound double double

Emma Niergarten put in 14 points and rebounded 7 times. Freshman Bryar Duwe had 11 points and 7 assists.

The visitors swamped Spring Grove in the B-team game, 48-17.

Decorah is a Class AAAA team in Iowa with an enrollment about six times that of Spring Grove.

It was only the fourth meeting between the two programs with Decorah having won three.

Decorah 47, SG 38

SG  23+15=38

Dec 32+15=47  

Rebounds: SG 25, Dec 29 

Turnovers: SG 17, Dec 12 

All FG: SG 30% (14-46), Dec 38% (21-55)

2-pt FG: SG 39% (9-23), Dec 47% (20-43)

3-pt FG: SG 22% (5-23), Dec 8%(1-12)

Free throws: SG 100% (5-5), Dec 80% (4-5)

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

S-steals, B-blocks, (* starter) *Johanningmeier 8P, 6R, 1A, 2S, 1B; *Amelia Solum 17P, 6R, 1A, 1S; *Kraus 3R, 2A, 1S; *Leahy 2P, 3R, 1A; *Lile 9P, 5R, 4A, 2S; Lydia Solum 1R, 1S

Houston 81, SG 23

After having scored 50, 59 and 53 points in their first three games, Houston had 52 at halftime (52-10) after a scorching 3-point explosion. The Hurricanes sank six of their first seven 3-pointers in the first half and then buried their first two treys in the second half. They finished with a stunning 10-for-20 (50%) result beyond the 3-point arc.

Houston launched 74 official shots (34 more than Spring Grove) and hit almost half of them (46%). The Lions, after shooting 30% versus Decorah, connected only 18% of the time against the 'Canes’ aggressive, trapping defense. 

But it was not just shooting. The Hurricanes were athletic and also physically stronger than Spring Grove. 

The two-time defending SEC East Division champions only outrebounded the Lions, 38 to 30, but they handled the ball with only 12 turnovers while their pressure defense recorded 26 steals, contributing to 34 Spring Grove turnovers.

The Lions had only 7 field goals and shot a chilly 8 for 19 (42%) from the free throw line. Solum led again with 11 points and rebounded 6 times. 

The Grove girls battled best beneath the backboards where Johanningmeier came away with 9 rebounds.

Emma Geiwitz poured in 26 points for the visitors while Jenny Albrecht had a 16-point, 10-rebound double double. Freshman Sydney Torgerson had another 16 points along with 7 rebounds.

It was third time in three seasons that Houston has scored 80 points or more against Spring Grove. It was the Hurricanes' fifth straight win in the series which the Lions have dominated 84 to 13. 

The only shortcoming for Houston was being whistled for 20 fouls. Three 'Canes finished with four.

The Hurricanes were coming off a 53-21 drubbing of Lanesboro. At 2-2 (2-0 SEC), Houston's two losses both came against Class AA clubs, Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Dover-Eyota.

Houston also won the B-team game, 56-20 and the eighth grade game, 19-13. But Lion seventh graders prevailed, 20-18.

Houston 81, SG 23

SG  10+13=23

Hou 52+29=81  

Rebounds: SG 30, Hou 38 

Turnovers: SG 34, Hou 12

All FG: SG 18%(7-40), Hou 46% (34-74)

2-pt FG: SG 26% (6-23), Hou 44% (24-54)

3-pt FG: SG 6% (1-17), Hou 50% (10-20)

Free throws: SG 42% (8-19), Hou 50% (3-6)

INDIVIDUALS: *Johanningmeier 9R, 1B; *Amelia Solum 11P, 6R, 3S, 1B; *Kraus 2P, 4R; Ingvalson 4P, 4R, 2S; *Leahy 3R, 1A, 1S; *Lile 6P, 4R, 2A, 1S, 1B.

This week and next

After the Herald went to press, the girls played at Mabel-Canton on Tuesday of this week before another SEC road trip to Lanesboro on Thursday, Dec. 12.

On Saturday morning, Dec. 14, the Lions will tipoff at 9:30 a.m. against Crestwood (Cresco, Iowa) in the annual Iowa-Minnesota Border Battle at Luther College. (The boys play Crestwood at noon at Decorah High School.)

Next week begins with a home date with Schaeffer Academy on Tuesday, Dec. 17. There is a non-conference road trip to Grand Meadow on Dec. 19 before all conference action resumes in Rochester with the all-day SEC Showcase on Saturday, Dec. 21. The Lions face Randolph at 2 p.m. at the Mayo Civic Center. (The boys play the Rockets at 4 p.m.)


SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE Girls Basketball 2020 (as of Monday, Dec. 9)


Houston…………………2-0 (2-2 season)

Mabel-Canton…………1-1 (3-2 season)

Lanesboro……………...1-1 (1-3 season)

Spring Grove………..0-1 (0-4 season)

Schaeffer Academy…0-1 (0-5season)


Grand Meadow……….2-0 (3-0 season)

Kingsland…………….…1-0 (2-1 season)

Randolph……………….1-1 (2-2 season)

LeRoy-Ostrander.…...0-1 (0-4 season)

Lyle/Pacelli……………0-2 (1-2 season)


Spring Grove Varsity Girls 2020-----0 wins, 4 losses (0-1 SEC)

*conference games --home games bold. approximately 7:15 p.m. unless noted; # girls/boys double header

L at Caledonia 24-69

L vs. Waukon 27-53

 L vs. Decorah 38-47

L vs. Houston 23-81

Tues. 12-03 Decorah7:30

Thur. 12-05 Houston* 

Tues. 12-10 at Mabel-Canton*

Thur. 12-12 at Lanesboro*                              

Sat. 12-14vs. Crestwood 9:30 A.M.Iowa/Minnesota Border Battle at Decorah 

Tues. 12-17 Schaeffer Academy*

Thur. 12-19 at Grand Meadow (non-conf.)

Sat. 12-21 # vs. Randolph* at Rochester2 P.M.

Mon. 12-30 Klawok, Alaska(time TBD)

Thur. 01-02 at Southland 7:30 P.M.

Fri. 01-03 Lyle/Pacelli*

Tues. 01-07 Fillmore Central

Thur. 01-09 at Houston*

Thur. 01-16 Rushford-Peterson

Fri. 01-17 Grand Meadow* 

Mon. 01-20 Mabel-Canton* 

Fri. 01-24 at LeRoy-Ostrander*

Thur. 01-30 at Schaeffer Academy*

Mon.  02-03 at La Crescent-Hokah

Tues. 02-04 at Lewiston-Altura 7:30 P.M.

Fri. 02-07 Kingsland*

Tues. 02-11 at Lansing Kee 7:30 P.M.

Fri. 02-14 Lanesboro*

Sat. 02-15 #Cannon Falls 4 P.M.


Spring Grove B-Team Girls 2020

0 wins, 4 losses

L at Caledonia 7-45 

L vs. Waukon 17-41

L vs. Decorah 17-48

L vs. Houston 20-56


Spring Grove 8th Grade Girls 2020

0 wins, 2 losses

L at Caledonia

L vs. Houston 13-19


Spring Grove 7th Grade Girls 2020

1 win, 1 loss

L at Caledonia

W vs. Houston 20-18