Junior Caden Grinde was voted Most Valuable Player by his 2020 Spring Grove basketball teammates and also received the Hustle Award, determined by statistics. Senior Kyle Hagen was voted the Lion Award while freshman Hunter Holland was the team’s choice for Most Improved. Awards were finally announced online in June after the pandemic forced cancellation of the annual potluck dinner and awards ceremony.
Grinde, previously named to the coaches’ All-Southeast Conference Team and receiving Honorable Mention on the All-Area Team, was the conference steals leader. “We relied on him greatly, offensively and defensively,” said Head Coach Wade Grinde.
Caden led Spring Grove in six statistical categories while averaging 16.7 points, 3.8 assists and 3.3 steals per game while hitting 61.4% of his free throws in addition to the most hustle points. The 6’ 3” point guard led Lion ball-handlers with a sterling 1.47 assist-to-turnover ratio.
His 86 steals tied for the sixth-best single season on record and with another season of eligibility remaining, Grinde already ranks eighth in career steals (181), ninth in career blocked shots (43) and 12th in career assists (207).
Hagen (Lion Award) was honored for his inspirational leadership on and off the court. “Durable and tough, said Coach Grinde. “Had many injuries through his career, but would not give in… his toughness was an inspiration to our whole team. He was voted our captain; he was our only captain… He was an extremely valuable leader by example.”
The 6’ 2” senior was the team leader in charges taken (12) and was the second leading rebounder with 5.0 boards per game. Hagen was also responsible for more assists than turnovers and had the second best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.36) while hitting 43% of his 2-point shots. He started all 26 games and was recently selected the school’s Male Athlete of the Year.
Holland (MIP), a 5’ 9” guard, was recognized for making the most gains from last year to the end of this season. He drew nine starting assignments as a freshman, while appearing in 22 of the 26 games – also with more assists than turnovers. Coach Grinde said he “really came on strong for us about the time when we started to make the turn and become a really good, quality basketball team. He had a lot to do with that… without him coming in, fearless as he was, it would have been a challenge for us. When he wasn’t on the floor, we noticed it.”
Senior newcomer John Koch received a plaque for a pair of “top five” achievements. He tied a program single-game record with 20 rebounds against Houston and tied for fifth all-time with 18 boards in another game versus the Hurricanes. The 6’ 4” center, who had previously received Honorable Mention All-SEC, was the league’s third leading rebounder. Koch led the Lions in both rebounding and blocked shots.
“Always the first one there and the last one to leave, a pleasure to coach,” said Coach Grinde of the senior who contributed so much in his only school year at Spring Grove.
Caden Grinde earned a third letter while Hagen received his second basketball letter. First-time letter winners were seniors Koch, Alan Michels, Payton Leahy, Wyatt Murphy and Caleb Nerstad along with sophomores Reid Bjerke and Carson Gerard as well as freshmen Holland and Tysen Grinde in addition to eighth grader Elijah Solum.
Receiving Academic All-Conference honors (letter winners with at least a 3.4 GPA during the second quarter) were Murphy, Bjerke, Solum and Tysen Grinde.
Coach Grinde praised the progress of his least experienced Spring Grove squad, “I don’t know if I’ve had a team that improved as much as this team improved from beginning to end.” Returning only two letter winners, the Lions still finished 13-13 (9-5 SEC). The B-team posted a 15-5 record while the eighth graders went 12-4 and the seventh grade guys 13-4.
Points per game: Caden Grinde 16.7, John Koch 8.8, Caleb Nerstad 8.4, Payton Leahy 5.7
Rebounds per game: John Koch 9.3, Kyle Hagen 5.0, Caden Grinde 3.3, Caleb Nerstad 2.9
Assists per game: Caden Grinde 3.8, Caleb Nerstad 2.0, Kyle Hagen 1.5
Assist-to-turnover ratio (minimum 10 assists): Caden Grinde 1.47, Kyle Hagen 1.36, Elijah Solum 1.25, Hunter Holland 1.20
Steals per game: Caden Grinde 3.3, Caleb Nerstad 2.0, John Koch 1.7, Kyle Hagen 1.5, Payton Leahy 1.3
Free throw percentage (minimum 10 attempts): Caden Grinde 61%, Carson Gerard 60%, Caleb Nerstad 59%, Reid
Field goal percentage (minimum 10 attempts): Wyatt Murphy 52%, John Koch 48%, Tysen Grinde 44%
3-Point FG percentage (minimum 10 attempts): Payton Leahy 30%, Caleb Nerstad 29%, Elijah Solum 29%
Blocked shots: John Koch 24, Caden Grinde 16, Caleb Nerstad 15, Wyatt Murphy 15, Caleb Nerstad 15
Charges taken: Kyle Hagen 12, Payton Leahy 4
Most Valuable Players
• 1 year ago: Alex Folz
• 10 years ago: Aric Elton (1st yr. of 3), 2010
• 20 years ago: Jason Busta, 2000
• 30 years ago: Brandon Brevig, 1990
• 40 years ago: Tom Bjerke, 1980
• 50 years ago: Kurt Onstad, 1970
• 60 years ago: Gerald Deters (2nd yr.) and Roger Morken, 1960
• 70 years ago: Verdon Erickson, 1950