Prep Basketball

Fifth win in six games has Solon boys' basketball on the rebound

Spartans now even at 6-6 after 45-44 overtime victory over Dyersville Beckman at Wells Fargo Advisors Shootout

CEDAR RAPIDS — For the Solon boys’ basketball team, the improvement has been tangible.

One month ago, the Spartans sported a 1-5 record, which included three blown leads that resulted in losses.

“That’s what we’ve been practicing for the last month,” fifth-year Solon Coach Jason Pershing said after the Spartans held off Dyersville Beckman in overtime, 45-44, in a Wamac Conference boys’ basketball game during Day 2 of the Wells Fargo Advisors Shootout on Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Center. “We had the lead and just didn’t fight back, didn’t make plays. That’s what we’ve been working on. Finishing a game off. … We’re kind of figuring some things out.”

The victory was the fifth in six games for Solon (6-6, 6-6 Wamac). Versatile junior A.J. Coons led the Spartans with 16 points, which increased his scoring average to a team-best 12.2 points per game. With junior Cam Miller now playing more point guard/point forward, Coons is often tasked with generating offense or providing dogged defense from any spot on the floor.

“Coach asks a lot of me, but I accept the challenge and I like the role that I have on this team,” Coons said. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. … I enjoy a having new job or a new task that Coach gives me every week and every game, so it’s been good for me to keep learning how to do a lot of different things.”

Sophomore Dave Bluder chipped in 12 points for Solon, and his steal and layup gave the Spartans a 44-43 lead with 33 seconds left in overtime. After Beckman tied the game at 44-44 with a Luke Goedken free throw, Solon senior Clay Gerdin got to the free-throw line with 9.4 seconds left and converted one of two for the win.

“Just down the stretch executing,” Coons said. “We made a lot of free throws. We misses some, too, but we made the ones when they counted and we made a lot of plays when it counted so we just did what we had to do to win.”

Junior Michael Keegan led all scorers with 20 points for Beckman (10-4, 8-4).

WELLS FARGO ADVISORS SHOOTOUT

At U.S. Cellular Center

Solon 45, Dyersville Beckman 44 (OT)

SOLON (45): Joe Stahle 2 0-0 5, Kale Altman 0 0-0 0, A.J. Coons 6 3-4 16, Ben Cusick 0 0-0 0, Carson Shive 0 0-0 0, Cam Miller 2 1-2 5, Dave Bluder 4 3-3 12, Bo Jansen 0 0-0 0, Carson Yakish 1 0-0 3, Clay Gerdin 0 4-8 4, Totals 15 11-17 45.

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DYERSVILLE BECKMAN (44): Luke Goedken 1 2-4 4, Tom Jaeger 5 0-0 11, Michael Keegan 8 2-2 20, Mason White 0 0-0 0, Seamus O’Connor 0 1-2 1, Jack Westhoff 0 0-0 0, Shawn Deutmeyer 3 1-2 7, Sean Kluesner 0 0-0 0, Totals 17 6-10 44.

Solon 15 8 2 14 6—45

Dyersville Beckman 9 10 9 11 5—44

Halftime — Solon, 23-19. End regulation — Tied, 39-39. Three-point goals — Solon 4 (Bluder 1, Coons 1, Stahle 1, Yakish 1), Beckman 4 (Jaeger 2, Keegan 2). Total fouls — Solon 13, Beckman 15. Fouled out — None.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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