CEDAR RAPIDS– Two statistics say a lot about Solon’s showdown with Benton Community for the District 10 title Feb. 27.
The Spartans were called for 30 fouls, Benton Community 11.
And the Bobcats went to the free throw line 43 times, compared to 12 attempts for Solon.
That 27-6 advantage in points at the charity stripe went a long way in Solon’s 72-63 loss at Cedar Rapids Prairie.
“We just fouled too much,” said head coach Brand Randall.
The defeat not only ended the season for Solon’s boys, but also marked the final game for seven seniors and long-time basketball coach Randall.
The Bobcats advanced to the Class 3A Substate 5 play-in game against Central DeWitt Monday, March 3, but ended up losing to the Sabers, 58-47.
Against Solon, however, Benton Community was more efficient offensively and defensively.
The Bobcats shot an impressive 59 percent from the field, including 7-15 from the 3-point line, but were 27-43 (63 percent) from the free throw line.
The Spartans, on the other hand, were 24-60 from the field (40 percent), 9-28 from 3-point land, and 6-12 from the line.
“We had some great shots, and didn’t make them,” Randall said. “We missed a lot of shots in the paint.”
Solon trailed Benton Community throughout most of the Class 3A district final, although the two teams traded the lead in the first and second periods.
The Bobcats outscored Solon 17-12 in the second to take a 30-24 halftime advantage.
The Spartans narrowed the deficit to four points in the second half.
“We closed the gap several times, but we just couldn’t shut them down,” Randall said. “What really kept us from going to the next level was defense.”
Jaden Durr led the Spartans in scoring with 21 points, while Nathan Hawkins added 11 and Austin Miller 10.
Miller was called for his fifth foul with 2:36 remaining and the Spartans down 53-44, a point Randall argued with officials.
“I think that was a mistake,” Randall noted.
In the end, the call stood.
The Bobcats had four players in double figures, led by Nate Woeste with 18.
Nick Shelman led the Solon rebounding with eight, including six on the offensive glass, while Ethan Ahern added six and Hawkins five. The Bobcats and Spartans each pulled down 32 boards.
In the final minute Randall made wholesale substitutions as his starters sat dejectedly on the bench. It was the end of the line for seniors Hawkins, Ahern, Shelman, Durr, Shay Croy, Jacob Black and Miller.
“It’s too bad it had to end that way,” Randall said. “We had a great group of seniors and I really enjoyed being around them.”