The Solon Springs boys basketball team ended its season Saturday with a 63-53 loss to the South Shore Cardinals in the WIAA Division 5 regional finals in Ashland.
The Cardinals (22-3) advance to play Drummond in the sectional semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday at Northwestern High School.
The winner will play either Rib Lake (17-7) or McDonell Central Catholic (15-10) in the sectional final at 7 p.m. Saturday in Spooner.
Solon Springs, which also lost to South Shore twice during the regular season, ends its year with a record of 17-7.
Saturday’s game saw 14 lead changes and was tied seven times, but South Shore took the lead for good on Dallas Williams’ 3-pointer with 10:20 remaining.
The Cardinals had an impressive night beyond the arc, led by Tristin Wilcox’s seven 3-pointers. In the first half, all but one of the Cardinals’ seven field goals came from beyond the 3-point line. South Shore finished the game with 12 total 3-pointers.
The Eagles were forced to change their game plan Saturday when leading scorer Jens Gehl suffered a knee injury midway through the first half and did not return. Solon Springs trailed by one at the time, but the team rallied to lead 24-23 at halftime.
In the second half, the Cardinals and Eagles traded the lead until the closing minutes.
A pull-up jumper by the Eagles’ Caden Smith made it a one-possession game with 3:46 remaining, but the Cardinals went on a 8-3 run over the minute and a half to take a 58-50 lead they would not relinquish.
Hunter paced the Eagles with 16 points, followed by Nick Zosel with 11. Smith scored 10 points, and Chase Latvala had eight. Gehl finished with four points in the first half.
Wilcox finished with a game-high 28 points, followed by Williams with 18 points.
EAGLE EXTRAS: This marked Solon Springs’ fifth trip in seven years to the WIAA Division 5 regional finals. The Eagles also played in the regional finals in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017. ... Solon Springs played in its first regional final game in 2006 — a loss to South Shore at UW-Superior. … Thursday’s sectional semifinal between South Shore and No. 2 seed Drummond will be carried live on WNXR 107.3 FM.
Solon Springs 24 29 — 53
South Shore 23 40 — 63
Solon Springs — Alex Hunter 16, Nick Zosel 11, Caden Smith 10, Chase Latvala 8, Jens Gehl 4, Aaron Pfister 2, Christian Sellwood 2.
3-point goals — Hunter 2, Latvala 2.
South Shore — Tristin Wilcox 28, Dallas Williams 18, Connor Sorenson 7, Doug Hipsher 5, Bjorn Branham 3, Steven Kavajecz 2.
3-point goals — Wilcox 7, Williams 4, Branham.
Solon Springs advanced with a 62-47 win over Washburn Friday night in Solon Springs.
Gehl led Solon Springs with 23 points, with Smith added 19 points.
Washburn (13-11) was led by Cody Christianson and Sebastian Tenney with 12 points apiece.
Washburn 20 27 — 47
Solon Springs 30 32 — 62
Washburn — Charlie Motiff 5, Evan Rusch 2, Cody Christianson 12, Carlos Rosales 2, Brady Stephenson 7, Sebastian Tenney 12, Hale Hoglund 4, Wilber 3.
3-point goals — Stephenson.
Solon Springs — Caden Smith 19, Chase Latvala 6, Nick Zosel 4, Aaron Pfister 10, Jens Gehl 23. 3-point goals — Pfister 2.