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Second half comeback not enough

Solon boys pick up 1st home loss against Benton
Solon’s Jack Stahle looks to dish the ball off during the Spartans’68-61 loss to Benton Community Friday, Jan. 5. (photo by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– A second-half flurry wasn’t enough to overcome a slow start, and Solon’s varsity boys basketball team picked up its first home loss of the season to Benton Community Friday, Jan. 5.
The 68-61 defeat dropped the Spartans to 6-3 on the season. The Bobcats improved to 6-2.
“We shot too many outside shots, and did not attack early,” Solon Head Coach Jason Pershing said. “That affected our defense as well.”
Solon dropped into an 18-9 hole in the first quarter and found itself down 18 points at the half, 39-21.
The Spartans responded in the third quarter, outscoring the Bobcats 26-13 to trim the margin to five points heading into the fourth.
“Benton was the aggressor and we took a back seat in the first half,” Pershing said. “But my guys responded in the second half and gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game. We just had a couple turnovers and missed layups late that led us to falling short.”
Still down by 10 points heading into the final minutes of the third, senior Luke Schaeckenbach scrambled for an offensive rebound and found senior Ben Krutzfeldt for a 3-pointer to make it 48-41.
Moments later, down 50-43, sophomore A.J. Coons led the break after a Benton Community miss and dished off to senior Jack Stahle for the layup and the foul. Stahle connected on his free throw, one of only seven attempts for the Spartans, and the lead was down to four points.
“We defended at a higher rate in the second half, which led to more easy baskets,” Pershing noted.
A Schaeckenbach put-back on a Coons miss made it 52-49 in the fourth, but despite good defense and a Lure Ira 3-pointer, the Spartans would pull no closer.
Krutzfeldt led the Solon scoring with 20 points, while Coons added 17. The Spartans shot 39 percent from the field and 24 percent from beyond the arc.
Krutzfeldt also led the team with six rebounds; Schaeckenbach had five.
The Bobcats out-rebounded the Spartans, 30-25, and connected on 19 of their 26 trips to the free throw line.
Schaeckenbach also had five steals. Solon had 15 steals for the game.
The Spartans will spend the next week on the road. After a visit to Maquoketa Tuesday, Jan. 9, Solon takes the short trip to Mount Vernon to face the Mustangs Friday, Jan. 12, then heads the other direction on Highway 1 to face Iowa City Regina Saturday, Jan. 13.
“Practice on Saturday and Monday have been amazing and very competitive,” Pershing said. “We are ready for our next competition.”
The last of four consecutive road games will be Tuesday, Jan. 16, at Central DeWitt.
The Spartans return home to host the Western Dubuque Bobcats Friday, Jan. 19, for a “Fill the Gym” night, featuring free admission for all Solon students and performances by the Solon High School Drum Line and Pep Band.