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Spartans aiming for state tournament

Solon heading for showdown with Keokuk (?) Thursday
Joe Weeks goes up for a shot against Washington Monday night. Solon defeated the Demons 58-40 in the first round of basketball playoffs. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

SOLON– It’s one down, two to go for the Solon varsity boys basketball team.
The Spartans eliminated Washington from the playoff picture Monday night, 58-40, setting up a Thursday meeting with either Fairfield or Keokuk at Washington for the District 10 championship in Class 3A.
The winners of District 9 and District 10 will meet Monday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. in Substate 5 for a chance to go to the state basketball tournament in Des Moines.
Solon blew the game open, but it didn’t happen until the second half.
The Demons actually held a 1-point lead at the half, but the Spartans built up a 20-point lead in the third that they didn’t relinquish.
Emilio Villagrana led the Solon scoring with 18 points, with Austin M. Miller adding 13 points and Ryan Kunkel 10.
Solon ended its regular season last Tuesday with a 61-47 loss to undefeated Western Dubuque in Epworth.
In what’s become a theme for this year’s Spartans, an early deficit proved to be insurmountable for Solon’s boys.
Western Dubuque jumped out to a 24-10 first quarter lead and the Spartans had trouble trimming it back. Solon trailed 38-23 at the half and 49-32 at the end of three quarters.
Solon was led in scoring by Ryan Kunkel with 13 points. No other Solon player was in double figures. Austin D. Miller added 8 points, Joe Weeks 7 points, and Rory Siddell chipped in 6. Weeks had 12 rebounds to lead the team, while Kunkel had 11. Villagrana had six assists in his first game back since suffering a concussion against Beckman Feb. 5, but shot 0-9 from the field.
As a team, Solon was 17-45 from the field and 3-14 from 3-point range. The Spartans did hit 10-14 free throw attempts. Solon ended the regular season with a 17-4 record.