Winning streak against Houston ends in overtime

LFT: Caden Grinde scored above the rim more than once versus Houston. RIGHT: John Koch reels in one of his 18 rebounds against Houston with teammates Carson Gerard (32) and Wyatt Murphy (43) also prepared to rebound. Photos by S. Lee Epps
S. Lee Epps

Turnovers and rebounds are always critical, but it ultimately comes down to putting the ball into the basket. At home on Jan. 14 in the 150th game (since 1949), against Houston, the Spring Grove boys had 10 fewer turnovers, 10 more offensive rebounds, 11 more steals and 21 more shots from the field. 

Caden Grinde scored 20 points, and John Koch grabbed 18 rebounds. Playing 40 minutes with only 8 turnovers and taking more than two shots a minute almost always results in victory. but the Lions lost to the Hurricanes, 56-53in overtime.

Coming in shooting 38% on the season, Spring Grove managed only 29%, allowing Houston to survive with pedestrian 36% accuracy.

Houston had just scored 101 and 81 points in the previous two games but was limited by the Lions to 46 during regulation time.

It was the second time this season these teams had gone to an extra period. Each team has now won on the other's home court. Back in December, Spring Grove claimed a 38th consecutive win against Houston, but the 'Canes terminated 17 seasons of frustration.

In both games, an 11-point lead in the second half on the home hardwood would not be enough. The Lions had rallied back from an 11-point hole at Houston, but they could not protect an 11-point lead in the rematch.

Immediately after Grove finished a 15-to-4 run for a 40-29 lead, the Hurricanes launched a 17-to-2 scoring streak to lead late 46-42. The Grove guys had scored on 7 of 10 possessions while earning their greatest lead of the night. But they went 12 possessions (1 for 15 shooting) with only one basket while that lead slipped away. In the four remaining minutes of regulation, the Lions scored four points to force overtime. 

Houston All-SEC senior Alex Van Gundy, who had a steal and missed a last-second shot that would have prevented overtime, put the 'Canes ahead in overtime twice - first at 49-46 and then for keeps at 54-53. The visitors outscored the Lions 10-3 in the extra period.

In between, All-SEC Grinde had a 3-pointer, a 2-pointer and a dribble-drive assist pass to Kyle Hagen for a 53-52 Lion lead with 1:30 to play.

But Spring Grove would miss its last six shots from the field and both free throws. The last three attempts were promising game-tying treys.

Overtime shooting was reflective of the previous 36 minutes with the Lions hitting 3 of 10 from the field and 0 for 2 from the foul line (7 points) while the 'Canes went 3 of 6 from the field and 2 for 5 from the charity stripe (10 points).

For the game, neither team shot well beyond the 3-point arc. The Hurricanes had almost as many trey tries (29) as 2-point attempts (33), hitting 8 treys (28%). But the Lions were icy from afar, sinking only 4 of 25 triples (16%).

 Despite being outshot percentagewise, Spring Grove attempted 21 more shots to tie Houston 50-50 from the field. Both teams missed more free throws than they hit, but the 'Canes' three-point winning margin came at the foul line. Houston hit 6 of 13 free throws and SG 3 of 7.

Grinde, the Lions' leading scorer on the season (15.2 ppg) had scored 22 at Houston in December and put in 20 last week despite sitting out more than a fourth of the rematch in foul trouble.

Koch scored 8 points and gathered 18 rebounds (11 offensive), and  Hagen added 7 points and 8 boards as the Lions out-rebounded Houston 47-40.

It was an endurance test for Houston, which used only six players with the five starters receiving little or no rest. The Hurricanes were charged with only 10 fouls during 40 minutes of play.

Rangy senior Mikkel Schutte had an 11-point, 19-rebound double double plus 6 assists and 4 blocked shots. Van Gundy fired in 17 points along with 5 rebounds. 

Senior Caiden Danielson added 13 points, and senior Jaden Abraham rebounded 9 times.

The Lions led 9-4 early in the first half, which saw seven lead changes before a traditional 3-point rebounding play sent Spring Grove into halftime with a 25-23 lead. The Hurricanes would score 23 points again in the second half. It would be enough to send the game into overtime.

Houston improved to 9-7 and remained firmly in second place in the SEC East race at 7-2. Third place Spring Grove slipped below .500 at 6-7 (4-4 SEC).

It was the Lions' third straight game with single-digit turnovers, but they have lost two of those. Spring Grove has also dropped two of the three overtime games this season.

The last Hurricane win in the series came with the teams splitting two games in the 2002-03 season. The winning streak was snapped, but the Lions have won 56 of the last 58 games in the series.

Since 1949, the teams have now played 150 times with the Lions holding a 98 to 52 lead.

The Lion B-team(7-2) had only three turnovers and quadrupled the 'Canes 56-14. Caleb Griffin scored 15 points while Carson Gerard put in 7 points along with 7 rebounds. Tysen Grinde (4 points) had 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 7 assists with no turnovers. The "B" boys had previously won at Houston 67-12.

The eighth graders also completed a season sweep 43-8 as did the seventh graders.

This week and next

The recent winter snowstorm forced postponement of last Friday's game at Grand Meadow. The boys played at Waukon as this edition was going to press on Monday of this week before Tuesday's home game with Mabel-Canton.

The Lions host LeRoy-Ostrander on Friday, Jan. 24, Lansing Kee on Monday, Jan. 27, and the rematch with East Division leader Schaeffer Academy on Friday, Jan. 31.


SG   25+21= 7=53

Hou 23+23+10=56  

Rebounds: SG 47, Hou 40

Turnovers: SG 8, Hou 18

All FG: SG 29% Hou 36%

2-pt FG: SG 35%, Hou 43%

3-pt FG: SG 16%, Hou 28%

                        SG 4-25, Hou 8-29 

Free throws: SG 43%, Hou 46% 

                               SG 3-7, Hou 6-13 

P-points, R-rebounds, A-assists, 

S-steals, B-blocks, * starter; *Nerstad 6P, 4R, 2A, 1S; *Bjerke 2R, 2A, 5S; *Grinde 20P, 5R, 1A, 3S; *Koch 8P, 18R, 1S, 1B; *Hagen 7P, 8R, 2S; Murphy 3P, 3R, 1B; Solum 3P, 4R, 1A; Leahy out ill


SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE Boys Basketball 2020 (updated since print edition through Jan. 20 games)


Schaeffer Academy…7-1 (12-2 season)

Houston…………………7-2 (9-7 season)

Spring Grove………..4-4 (6-8 season)

Lanesboro……………...2-7 (5-9 season)

Mabel-Canton…………1-8 (2-11 season)


Randolph……………….8-1 (11-5 season)

Grand Meadow……….76-2 (11-4 season)

Lyle/Pacelli……………7-3 (10-4 season)

LeRoy-Ostrander.…...4-6 (6-9 season)

Kingsland…………….…3-6 (5-9 season)

Glenville-Emmons…..0-10 (1-12 season)


Spring Grove Boys Basketball 2020 (updated since print edition)

>>>6-8 (4-4 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

L at Decorah 33-54

L at Rushford-Peterson 44-56

W vs. Glenville-Emmons* 59-20

L vs. Houston*53-56 OT 

Fri. 01-17 at Grand Meadow* postponed

L at Waukon 44-52

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 7-3

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

 L at Decorah 26-42

L at Rushford-Peterson 44-56

W vs. Glenville-Emmons 58-23

W vs. Houston 56-14

L at Waukon 39-41


>>8th Grade Boys 6-2

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 39-32

W at Caledonia 32-27

L at Rushford-Peterson 18-40

W vs. Houston 43-8


>>7th Grade Boys 6-2

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 34-10

L at Caledonia 40-42

W at Rushford-Peterson 34-33

W vs. Houston