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Unseeded Spring Grove knocks off 1A No. 1 seed Springfield

By JOEL RIPPEL, Star Tribune, 03/21/19, 12:15PM CDT


The Lions, making their first appearance in a boys' basketball state tournament, defeated the Tigers 78-67 in the first Class 1A quarterfinal.

Spring Grove senior guard Noah Elton went up for two despite defensive efforts from Springfield's Curtis Tauer in the second half of the Class 1A quarterfinal Thursday at Williams Arena. Photo: ELIZABETH FLORES • liz.flores@startribune.com

Spring Grove has won the last two Minnesota state Nine-Man championships.

Many of the talents the Lions used to earn those back-to-back football titles were on display Thursday at Williams Arena as the unseeded Lions, playing in the boys' basketball state tournament for the first time, defeated top-seeded Springfield 78-67, in the Class 1A quarterfinals.

“Our kids have a lot of character,” Spring Grove coach Wade Grinde said. “They were focused. They played with grit and determination. Toughness is a difficult word to define. You can be physically tough, but most of it has to do with mental toughness. These kids have proven their mental toughness.”

The Lions (24-4) also displayed their shooting ability, hitting 59.5 percent of their shots from the field and 65 percent from three-point range.

After making eight of 15 three-point field goal attempts in the first half to open a 41-34 halftime lead, the Lions made all five of their second-half three-point attempts.

First report

Unseeded Spring Grove, making its first appearance in the basketball state tournament, surprised top-seeded Springfield, 78-67  in the Class 1A quarterfinals Thursday at Williams Arena.

The Lions held a 41-34 lead at halftime before building a 16-point lead midway through the second half.

Springfield cut the Lions' lead to five before a 10-0 run pushed it back to 15.

Noah Elton scored 25 points, Alex Folz scored 21 and Ethan Matzke scored 19 to lead the Lions.

Senior Isaac Fink, a Mr. Basketball finalist, scored 30 points to lead Springfield.

Check back later for more on the game.

Springfield's Mitchell Buerkle, right, and Spring Grove's Kai Bjerke battled for the ball in the first half of the Class 1A quarterfinal game Thursday at Williams Arena. Photo: ELIZABETH FLORES • liz.flores@startribune.com

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