Prep Basketball

Solon boys' basketball overcomes Mount Vernon in overtime, 74-70

SOLON — They had it won once. So it wasn’t a problem for them to have to go to overtime to win it again.

The Solon Spartans got some clutch free throws and defensive stops and brushed past rival Mount Vernon, 74-70, Friday night in a Wamac Conference boys’ basketball thriller.

Jayden Meeker’s 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in regulation brought Mount Vernon all the way back from eight points down in the final minute to send it to an extra period. His driving deuce began OT and put the Mustangs on top.

But those were the final points MV scored.

“How mentally tough they are,” Solon Coach Jared Galpin said, when asked what he learned about his guys, who are ranked ninth in Class 3A. “They had some tough luck last year in games. They’re just a mentally tough team that doesn’t panic when bad things happen. We were going to grind it out win or lose. They’re going to be there because they’re going to grind it out. We’re going to get stops, we’re going to execute offense and make plays. That’s what it came down to.”

David Bluder didn’t score in the second half, sitting much of it with foul trouble, but hit a bank shot to tie it for Solon, 70-70, with 2:20 remaining in overtime, then hit two free throws to put the Spartans (10-1, 7-0 Wamac East) ahead for good, 72-70, with 1:46 left. Will Noonan’s two free throws with 16.3 seconds left iced it.

Bluder and center Kinnick Pusteoska are Solon’s two leading scorers, but it was guys like Noonan, Carson Shive and Benjamin Cusick who stepped up big time here. Shive and Cusick each had 15 points, with Bluder and Noonan chipping in 13 apiece.

“Coach was preaching to us to keep energy the whole game,” Shive said. “A couple of the games we’ve played, we’ve only had half of a game. I think this game we had to have the entire game plus overtime. Having enough energy to finish games, that’s what’s going to help us win a ton of games (going forward).”

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South Dakota-bound Keaton Kutcher led everyone with 30 points for Mount Vernon (7-3, 6-2). He and Meeker (25) had 55 of their team’s 70 points.

Solon led by six at halftime, by five after three quarters and held a 64-56 edge in the final minute. But a couple of Spartans fouls on 3-point attempts helped Mount Vernon mount its improbable comeback.

“I thought our kids played hard. We didn’t always play smart,” said Mount Vernon Coach Ed Timm. “I thought the better team won tonight. I really thought the better team won. They executed better than we did, especially in key possessions.”

Solon hit 63 percent of its shots from the field and 7 of its 14 3-point attempts.

AT SOLON

MOUNT VERNON (70): Owen Brase 1-5 3-3 5, Aidan Nosek 1-1 0-0 2, Keaton Kutcher 10-26 7-8 30, Jayden Meeker 8-13 6-7 25, Collin Swantz 1-2 0-0 2, Jensen Meeker 0-2 0-0 0, Brady Ketchum 2-4 0-0 6, Zach Fall 0-1 0-0 0, Nelson Rhomberg 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 16-18 70.

SOLON (74): Benjamin Cusick 5-7 5-5 15, Carson Shive 5-7 4-7 15, Kinnick Pusteoska 2-2 2-2 6, Will Noonan 3-6 6-7 13, David Bluder 3-6 4-6 13, Bo Janssen 3-5 0-0 8, Drew Turner 0-0 0-0 0, Logan Sieverding 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Timmons 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 22-35 21-27 74.

Halftime — Solon 37, Mount Vernon 31. End of Regulation — 68-68. 3-point goals — Mount Vernon 8-25 (Brase 0-1, Kutcher 3-11, Ja. Meeker 3-6, Swantz 0-1, Je. Meeker 0-1, Ketchum 2-4, Fall 0-1), Solon 7-14 (Shive 1-2, Noonan 1-3, Bluder 3-5, Janssen 2-4). Rebounds — Mount Vernon 20 (Swantz, Kutcher 4), Solon 25 (Cusick 10). Total fouls — Mount Vernon 23, Solon 15. Technical foul — Kutcher. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Mount Vernon 9, Solon 14.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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