Spring Grove girls in familiar position, with different foe

Spring Grove celebrates their 67-35 victory over Rushford-Peterson Friday at the Subsection 1A East championship game held at the Mayo Civic Auditorium.

The Spring Grove girls basketball team is no stranger to the Section One, Class A championship game, but the opponent isn’t familiar this time.

Spring Grove, 26-3 and ranked fifth in the state Class A poll, meets unranked Faribault Bethlehem Academy (20-9) in the Section 1A title game at 6 p.m. Thursday at Mayo Civic Center Arena.

It’s the fourth section finals appearance for Spring Grove and third in the last four years, but the Lions are still after their first state tournament berth. Their last two runs at state were halted at this point by Goodhue, in 2009 and 2011.

Spring Grove has won 11 straight and wasn’t tested in the 1A East subsection, winning by 53, 44 and 32.

The Lions, coached by Russell Larson, are by far the highest-scoring team in the 20-team section at 68 points per game. Spring Grove isn’t tall but is long on experience and has good team speed, led by senior 1,000-point scorers Richell Mehus (22 ppg) and Taylor Elton (14).


Mehus is coming off a 31-point, 11-rebound effort in the subsection final win over Rushford-Peterson, and she is building on her school scoring record of over 1,500 points.

Spring Grove might be an uneasy favorite, considering Faribault B.A. has won 11 straight and is coming off an inspired come-from-behind 57-51 win over Goodhue in the 1A West final. The Cardinals closed the game with a 16-4 run over the Wildcats, who were ranked  second in the state.

FBA snapped a seven-game losing streak against Goodhue, including three straight losses in the subsection final. The Cardinals have a first-year head coach in Tammy Filzen.

"If we beat Goodhue, I’m sure we can beat (Spring Grove)," FBA senior center Maria Palmer said after the game. Palmer and standout junior guard Jessie Mathews scored 16 points each in the win.

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