SOLON– The Spartans are 2-0, but it took two dramatic come-from-behind wins to get there.
Solon Head Coach Brad Randall is happy the team’s where it’s at.
“We’re playing kids at every grade level,” Randall said. “This is probably one of the most inexperienced teams we’ve had.”
The Spartans got off to a slow start, but rebounded to win Tuesday at Marion 58-52, and then at home against Center Point-Urbana (CPU), 72-42 Friday night.
After a “tremendously slow start” in which the Spartans scored only 13 points in the first half, senior Turner Wentzien and junior Joe Weeks asserted themselves in the last eight minutes to take control of the game.
“They showed up pretty big,” Randall said.
That included the moment when Wentzien dove for a loose ball after Solon had clawed back from a double-digit deficit to take the lead. Wentzien out-hustled Marion’s players, gained possession of the ball and called time-out.
Wentzien led the scoring with 18 (to go with seven steals), while Weeks was the only other Spartan in double figures with 10.
“Those guys have been through the wars,” Randall noted, also giving credit to juniors Austin Miller and Rory Siddell for plays down the stretch.
Solon was 9-15 from the free throw line and 2-14 from the three-point line.
“It was not the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, but a nice finish,” Randall said, adding “it was a pretty vital win for a young, inexperienced team.”
Things were looking better on the floor Friday night against CPU, but not right away.
Down as many as 12 points, the Spartans went on an offensive and defensive binge, turning the game around in the second half and holding the Stormin’ Pointers to two free throws in the fourth quarter.
Randall said the team made several adjustments, including clamping down on CPU’s Josh Jirak and attacking the post defense.
The Stormin’ Pointers missed 12 consecutive shots, leading to some easy scores, and Solon went 12-13 from the charity stripe in the second half.
“That was huge,” Randall said.
Wentzien and Weeks each had 15 points, while Jake Morris added 12 points and seven rebounds.
“To be down 12 points at one point and then go on to win by 30, that’s something,” Randall added. “It might be a turning point for this team– time will tell.”
The Spartans were scheduled to host Central DeWitt Tuesday, Dec. 6, and then head on the road to Manchester to face West Delaware Friday.