Boys Basketball Notebook: Late Rally Gives Solon Another 2-0 Start

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Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

Opening the season with back-to-back wins is nothing new for Solon.

The Spartans have started the season 2-0 three times in four seasons under head coach Jason Pershing.

This 2-0 start comes with a different vibe courtesy of a wild, come from behind 55-54 win over Marion on Friday.

“It’s big to win a game, especially to win a game like that being down the way we were,” Solon sophomore AJ Coons said. “Being 2-0 versus 1-1 especially with the momentum that this game brings can really just give us confidence going forward.”

Solon went 27 minutes and 56 without a lead on Friday before senior Ben Krutzfeldt buried an NBA ranged 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Spartans a 55-54 win and 2-0 start to the season.

The Spartans trailed by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter, were down by 10 with 72 seconds left and six with under 30 seconds to play.

None of that could prevent Solon from picking up a win that Pershing believes can have a lingering positive effect on his team.

“They showed that resolve that moxie and that’s the confidence that we want to instill,” Pershing said. “These guys compete, they play a lot of sports and they compete that’s what they do.”

Strong starts haven’t always been followed by great finishes for the Spartans who went 10-13 and 10-15 in Pershing’s first two seasons.

Solon was 13-9 last season but lost its postseason opener.

The postseason is a long way away but Krutzfeldt sees Friday’s come from behind win as one that can stick with his team.

“It’s huge,” Krutzfeldt said. “Winning a game like this just shows us that we aren’t out of any game. No matter what the situation is you have to keep fighting.”
Solon hit three 3-pointers in the final 29 seconds on Friday, the last two coming from Krutzfeldt in the final 11 seconds.

Solon trailed 54-52 with four seconds left when Coons took an inbounds pass in the back court.

He raced toward the lane, drew a defender and found Krutzfeldt on the deep wing for the game-winner.

“We just knew we were going to try to get some kind of action going toward the rim,” Pershing said. “He was either going to get to the rim or circle back.”

Krutzfeldt said the play was based on the game-winning set Villanova used to beat North Carolina in the 2016 national championship game.

“Last year we had a play that was kind of like Villanova had in the championship game, where the point guard brings it down and kicks it to the wing,” Krutzfeldt said. “He made that 3 obviously and obviously it worked there so we worked that successfully.”

West High Wins Battle of State Champs

Following a season-opening win over West Des Moines Dowling Steve Bergman told his West High squad there were losses waiting on the schedule if the Trojans didn’t improve.

The list of potential losses started on Saturday against six-time defending Minnesota state champion DeLaSalle.

West High didn’t let a potential loss turn into a real one.

Patrick McCaffery scored 23 points and Seybian Sims had 20 as West High held of DeLaSalle 65-62 at Hopkins, Minnesota.

Saturday was the first of four games for West High against out of state competition next up is a matchup with Bolingbrook, Illinois on Dec. 16 at Cedar Falls.  

Tops in Triples

West Branch has a new leader in career 3-point goals.

Beau Cornwell became the school’s all-time 3-point leader with five triples in a 68-58 loss to Monticello on Friday.

The five 3-pointers on Friday gave Cornwell 102 in his career, surpassing the previous mark of 101 held by Mason Hays.

A 6-foot-2 junior guard, Cornwell is averaging 32 points in two games this season and has made seven 3-pointers.

Performances of the Week

Ben Krutzfeldt had 19 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals in a 78-61 win over South Tama.

Beau Cornwell had 37 points and seven rebounds in 68-58 loss to Monticello.

West High junior Patrick McCaffery had 24 points in a 52-41 win over West Des Moines Dowling.  

City High junior Antonio Turner had 16 points and three steals in a 62-49 loss to Pleasant Valley.

Liberty High sophomore Andre Brandon had 28 points in a 79-69 loss to Waterloo West.