Solon Ends Wild Stretch 0-2 But Not Discouraged After Loss to Third-Ranked Xavier

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Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

CEDAR RAPIDS – The weekend numbers from a wild two days for the Solon basketball team breakdown like this.  

Two games, in 13 hours against two teams with a combined 21-5 record that produced no wins but zero regrets.

At least that’s how Solon coach Jason Pershing viewed things following a 66-54 loss to Class 3A third-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier on Saturday at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.

The loss on Saturday capped a 12-hour span in which the Spartans dropped back-to-back games to WAMAC East leader Western Dubuque and the two-time defending state champion Saints by a combined 14 points.

“There is a ton of good stuff to take away and there are also things to fix but I’m pleased,” Pershing said. “I have zero complaints about effort, I have zero complaints about how much they desire to win and their competitive nature. Zero.”

Solon followed a two-point overtime loss to Western Dubuque on Friday night by battling Xavier to a 25-24 first half deficit in an 8:30 a.m. tipoff on Saturday that was part of the inaugural Wells Fargo Advisors Shootout.

Ben Krutzfeldt and AJ Coons combined for 42 points and 14 rebounds but it wasn’t enough to keep up with Xavier and its one-two combo of Matt Mims and Jackson Joens.

Joens had 17 of his game-high 26 in the second half and Mims added 23 as the Saints improved to 10-3 with its sixth straight win.

Solon dropped to 9-6, losing back-to-back games for the first time this season.

“We hate losing so obviously its tough especially last night losing in overtime but it’s something that we can learn from,” Krutzfeldt said. “We want to back here later in the year so I’ts nice to play here against a team like Xavier so we can see that type of competition. It’s disappointing but at the same time we take in stuff to learn from.

The Spartans trailed 9-2 less than four minutes into the game but closed the first quarter on a 11-4 run to tie the score at 13 after eight minutes.

Solon led just once at 20-19 on a pair of AJ Coons free throws but trailed by just a point at the half.

“We tried to focus on doing our jobs and doing everything we could individually to help the team win,” Solon sophomore AJ Coons said. “I thought we did a good job of that the first half.

Xavier opened the second half like a state title contender.

The Saints went on a 12-2 run to start the third quarter, holding Solon to only a Krutzfeldt driving layup in the opening 3 minutes of the half.

Solon had six of its 14 turnovers in the third quarter while being outscored 27-13.

"The third quarter we had six straight possessions that were either a turnover or a bad shot,” Pershing said. “I’m not saying that’s the game but when you play a team that has that good of guards you can’t have that. You can’t get down double digits that fast. Even if you miss you have to get a good shot. We have to be able to come out and be disciplined enough to get a good shot.”

Krutzfeldt finished with 22 points while Coons had 20 points and eight rebounds.

Luke Schaekenbach added eight points for Solon while Luke Ira had eight rebounds.

“I don’t think the last two games were a lack of effort, it was just some execution, just missing some shots down the stretch and I just think it boiled down to execution,” Coons said. “I don’t think we weren’t playing hard, I think we gave everything we had and those are two games we could have won we just came up a little short.”

Solon                              13  11  13  17  –  54

Cedar Rapids Xavier        13  12  27  14  –  66

Solon (54) – Greg Brandt 0-1 2-2 2, Ben Krutzfeldt 8-14 2-2 22, Jack Stahle 0-1 2-2 2, Luke Schaekenbach 4-4 0-0 8, Coons 5-17 10-11 20, Miller 0-2 0-0 0, Gerdin 0-1 0-0 0, Yakish 0-3 0-0 0, Team 17-46 16-17 54.

Cedar Rapids Xavier (66) – Gabe Lux 2-5 3-4 8, Matt Mims 7-17 5-8 23, Jake Beckman 0-2 0-0 0, Jackson Joens 11-18 2-3 26, Quinn Schulte 0-0 2-3 2, Matt Ropp 0-2 1-2 1, Jacob Hines 1-1 2-2 4, Aaron Bartels 0-4 2-2 2, Team 21-49 17-24 66.

3-point field goals – SOL 4-15 (Krutzfeldt 4-8, Coons 0-1, Miller 0-1, Ira 0-2, Yakish 0-3); CRX 7-21 (Mims 4-8, Lux 1-4, Joens 2-6, Ropp 0-2, Beckman 0-1). Rebounds – SOL 33 (Coons, Ira 8); CRX 28 (Mims 6). Turnovers – SOL 14; CRX 10. Total fouls – SOL 18; CRX 17. Technical fouls – SOL (Ira). Fouled out – SOL (Schaekenbach).