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Spartans fend off Maquoketa, fall at Dyersville Beckman

Head coach Brad Randall returns to team after complaint investigation
Ethan Ahern alters a layup attempt by Maquoketa in the early going of Solon’s 54-43 win over the Cardinals Friday in Solon. Ahern had three blocks on the night. (photos by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– The Solon boys basketball team won at home but lost on the road last week as it welcomed head coach Brad Randall back to the bench.
Randall returned to coaching Jan. 27, the day before the Spartans hosted winless Independence for a 72-49 win.
Solon also defeated Maquoketa 54-43 at home Friday, but suffered a 20-point loss on the road Thursday in a makeup game against Dyersville Beckman, 55-35.
“It was good to be back on the sidelines,” said Randall of the Independence win. “A lot of guys played and a lot of guys scored.”
The Spartans extended a three-point lead in the first quarter to a 12-point margin at the half. Solon outscored Independence 35-24 in the second half.
Austin Miller led the Spartans with 16 points and 10 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive glass. Emilio Villagrana and Ethan Ahern each had 11 points, while Jacob Black added 10.
“At times, we ran the floor as well as any team we’ve had in Solon in 20 years,” Randall said.
Villagrana had seven assists and five steals for Solon.
The Spartans shot 86 percent from the free throw line, making 13-15 attempts.
It was a much lower point total and a different end result Thursday on the road at Dyersville.
While they trailed by only four points at the half, Solon managed only four points in the third quarter while Beckman put up 20.
“We could have played better,” Randall said. “We played them even in the fourth, but it was too late.”
Nick Shelman led the scoring with nine points, while Jaden Durr added seven.
The Spartans were out-rebounded 30-18. Jacob Black led the team with five.
Solon turned around the next night to host Maquoketa, and put together a strong second half, finishing the game off at the free throw line.
“We had a bad night Thursday, and we even got down against Maquoketa, but we came back to win it,” Randall noted. Nathan Hawkins, Nick Shelman and Jacob Black all hit from the stripe (a combined 15-17) down the stretch to preserve the Solon win. The Spartans shot 78 percent from the line as a team. Shelman led the Spartans with 14 points while Hawkins came off the bench to add 12 and a defensive spark.
Black and Shelman led the team in rebounding with seven and six respectively.
Ethan Ahern added three blocks, and Black and Villagrana combined for six assists and seven steals.
Randall will be stepping down from his head coaching position at the end of the season after 20 years as head coach.
The Solon school board approved his resignation as varsity boys’ basketball coach during a special work session Monday, Jan. 27.
He was named the Class 2A Coach of the Year in 2009, the year his Solon team won the state championship. The Spartans were runners-up at the state tournament in 2010.

Randall released the following statement which addressed his absence:
“The district administration conducted an investigation into a complaint it received against me. Legal counsel represented both parties throughout the process. I was notified of the complaint and findings of the investigation, but like the district, cannot discuss them. I was notified on Jan. 21 that I could return to my head coaching duties Jan. 27. I look forward to resuming my duties as head coach and expect a successful conclusion to this basketball season. I am not acknowledging any wrongdoing and am maintaining my innocence against certain allegations.”