DES MOINES– The Solon Spartans let a 14-point lead escape them, but hung on for a 50-46 defeat of Mid-Prairie in the opening round of the 2A state basketball tournament Tuesday (Mar. 9).
Senior guard Hale Rickels and junior forward Jesse Carson sparked the Solon squad with 14 points each. The Spartans shot 50 percent from beyond the arc and forced the Golden Hawks into 17 turnovers, but Mid-Prairie won the battle of the boards and shot better overall from the field.
But the Spartans were able to get to the foul line in both halves, 24 times for the game, while Mid-Prairie was limited to nine trips. And while Solon shot only 58 percent from the charity stripe, the Golden Hawks were even worse at 44 percent.
The game was never tied, and Solon took an early lead and managed to nurse it into the third quarter, when some clutch shooting by the Spartans extended a double-digit lead.
The Golden Hawks brought it to within two points with just over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, thanks mostly to the 3-point shooting of guard Michael Aldeman.
But Solon was able to weather the storm, burning off critical minutes while patiently executing its fourth-quarter offense and forcing the Golden Hawks to foul as time drained away.
Solon now faces undefeated IKM-Manning Thursday, March 11, at 3:45 p.m. in the 2A semifinal at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.