Solon Springs boys working for rematch with DrummondWith a win today, the Solon Springs boys basketball team could set itself up for a rematch of last year’s Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 5 regional final game.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
SOLON SPRINGS — With a win today, the Solon Springs boys basketball team could set itself up for a rematch of last year’s Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 5 regional final game.
The Eagles host Frederic tonight in a regional semifinal match at 7 p.m.
Solon Springs advanced with a 65-35 victory over Winter on Tuesday night, and the Vikings defeated South Shore 58-28 to advance.
“In the playoffs Frederic knocked off some guys last year, so we expect them to come in and give us a good run this time around,” said Dale Rajala, head coach of the Eagles.
When the two teams played earlier this season, Solon Springs walked away with a 41-35 victory. The Eagles built a sizable lead in that game, but the Vikings rallied in the fourth quarter to make it a close game.
“Last time we went down there we had a nice lead and they made a run on us,” Rajala said. “We weren’t able to handle the pressure. I expect that again this time around, so we’re going to have to be ready for them.
“Frederic’s big, and they crash the boards,” Rajala continued. “They’ve got some guys that match up well with us; we just have to execute better.”
Senior Jacob Dahlberg said the Eagles had “probably 19 turnovers” in the fourth quarter when they last played Frederic.
“It’s going to be a good game,” Dahlberg said. “We played them early (in the season), so both teams probably got better.”
On the other side of the bracket, sectional favorite Drummond hosts Siren tonight. Drummond, the No. 1 seed, defeated Lac Courte Oreilles 76-16 Tuesday in the opening round of the playoffs.
Drummond twice topped the Eagles in the regular season. The Lumberjacks defeated them 43-27 in Solon Springs on Dec. 6 and 57-37 in Drummond on Feb. 5.
Drummond (20-2, 15-0) is led by Ben Best, who is averaging about 17 points per game for the Lumberjacks. Jake Fibert led Drummond against Lac Courte Oreilles with a season-high 24 points.
The Eagles are very familiar with Best. The 6-foot-6 center led the Lumberjacks over Solon Spring in last year’s regional final game. He scored 27 points in the Lumberjacks’ 51-39 victory.
Drummond led by just three points through three quarters of that game, 37-33, but the Lumberjacks outscored Solon Springs 14-6 in the final eight minutes.
“We can’t look ahead too much, but we have a lot of guys that remember that game last year,” Rajala said. “I told them, their best is good enough. If we come together, our best is good enough to make a good run here.”
On Tuesday night, Solon Springs relied on the tenacity of its guards to gain an advantage over Winter.
The Eagle guards helped spark an 11-2 run for Solon Springs in the first quarter that wound up being the turning point of the game.
Senior Trey Scheldroup started the run at 5:26 when he made a steal and took the ball in for a layup and foul. The extra point gave Solon Springs a 5-3 lead.
Daniel Gengenbach stole the ball on the next possession, and after offensive rebounds by Tyler Long and Dahlberg, Austin Khalar put in a shot in the paint on a pass from Dahlberg.
“We’ve got some speedsters up there that really work hard together,” Rajala said. “They’ve been coming together lately. The last couple of games they really stepped it up, and they know that it’s the playoffs and there is no tomorrow.”
In the first half, Scheldroup and Long led the Eagles with three steals apiece. Winter was held to just seven points in the first quarter and six in the second to trail 25-13 at halftime.
Solon Springs also held Winter without a point for about two and a half minutes of the third quarter to open up a 13-0 run; and in the fourth quarter the Eagles scored the first 16 points, keeping Winter off the board until the 2:12 mark.
“Our defense is the biggest key,” Dahlberg said. “We need guys to work hard and have a lot of effort, and we should be able to go far. But we had problems in the middle of the season with defense, and that’s just our Achilles’ heel.”
NOTES: The Eagles have two new additions to their roster for the playoffs: freshmen Adam Vandenberghe and Caleb Hedberg. Vandenberghe finished with four points Tuesday night and Hedberg finished with two. “Two freshmen scored their first points tonight, so we’re happy about that,” Rajala said. “They’re going to be special players. We’ve got a bright future ahead of us.”
Solon Springs 13 12 20 20 — 65
Winter 7 6 12 10 — 35
Solon Springs — Daniel Gengenbach 14, Trey Scheldroup 11, Tyler Long 9, Jacob Dahlberg 7, Logan Long 6, Austin Khalar 6, Brett Missinne 6, Adam Vandenberghe 4, Caleb Hedberg 2. 3-point goals — T. Long.
Winter — Tyler Dennis 15, Dustin Lueloff 11, Devon Searfoss 5, Taylor Patenaude 2, Jesse Homp 2. 3-point goals — Dennis, Searfoss.