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Seniors lead Spartans under Galpin

Solon boys open on the road at Central DeWitt

SOLON– Head Coach Jared Galpin inherited an experienced boys basketball team.
The Spartans were scheduled to open the 2020-21 season against the Sabers of Central DeWitt Monday, Nov. 30, in DeWitt with a senior-heavy lineup.
“We return a lot of experience and scoring from last year’s team,” Galpin noted.
Solon returns its five top scorers from last year– seniors David Bluder, Carson Shive, Ben Cusick, Bo Janssen and junior Jake Quillin– but will have to make up for the graduation of Cam Miller, who led the team in assists (62) and was second in rebounds (80) a season ago.
Bluder averaged 13.4 points a game for the Spartans, with Cusick (9.9) and Shive (9.2) close to double-digit production. Shive led Solon in rebounding with 4.1 a game, while Cusick was right behind with 4.0.
Janssen, Quillin and fellow senior Will Noonan will carry the load in the backcourt. Noonan led the team last year in steals, while Janssen had a team-best eight blocks.
Also returning to the rotation are junior Kinnick Pusteoska and senior Drew Turner.
As a team, the Spartans shot 42.9 percent from the field and 60.4 percent from the free throw line. Solon hit 31.5 percent of its three-point attempts.
It’s Galpin’s first year as varsity head coach in Solon, replacing Matt Lesan. The Spartans finished last season with a 7-15 record. Galpin spent the last three years as head coach for Iowa City Regina, with previous experience as an assistant prior to that. He’s currently a fifth-grade teacher at Solon Intermediate School.
“The hallmarks of teams that I coach are defense. Man defense will be our identity and we will work to be tough on defense,” Galpin said in an email. “We will also be disciplined and execute on offense.”
With crowds restricted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spartan bench will be vital in bringing energy to each game.
“Obviously, it is great to have large crowds that make a lot of noise,” he noted. “It will be different, but we will be well-supported with the fans that are able to attend. We are high-energy in practice and always encouraging.”
The team is following Iowa High School Athletic Association and district guidelines for safety, he added.
“Never before have I spent so much time thinking about what we do and how we do it in relation to mitigation,” he observed. “It is a factor in almost every decision this year. We want to be safe. Keeping the guys safe and healthy is our first priority.”
The Spartans host the Clear Creek Amana Clippers Friday, Dec. 4, for the season’s home opener with a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.
Solon stays at home for a Tuesday, Dec. 8, game with Williamsburg and heads to Vinton Friday, Dec. 11, to face the Vikings. The schedule is subject to change.