Future looks bright for Eagles

SOLON SPRINGS -- It may be against the school dress code, but Solon Springs boys basketball coach Matt Berger may have to start wearing sunglasses when he teaches.

SOLON SPRINGS -- It may be against the school dress code, but Solon Springs boys basketball coach Matt Berger may have to start wearing sunglasses when he teaches.

That's because, like Timbuk 3's 1989 hit, the Eagles' hoops future is very bright.

"There are a lot of times when (assistant) coach Al Visger and I get excited thinking about the next few years here," Berger said. "But at the same time, we think we can do a lot of damage this year."

Early this season, though, the damage has been inflicted on the Eagles, and the shades might be more appropriately worn to cover up black eyes rather than to shield from a bright future.

Solon Springs has been bounced in both of its Indianhead Conference contests thus far, opening the season with a lopsided 63-36 loss at South Shore and falling last Friday at home to Mercer by 14.


"Our inexperience showed in both of those games," Berger said. "But we also showed how we can improve."

The Cardinals and Tigers are expected to compete for the top spot in the IC this season, while a conference title has never come to rest in the Eagles' nest. Solon Springs did sandwich a non-conference victory in between the IC losses, winning at Birchwood 53-44. Ryne Slivensky scored 16 to lead the Eagles, while Jake Coughlin added 12.

Slivensky, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, is part of a talented group of young Eagles hoping to force the shades on Berger's face. Kyle Polzin, a 6-foot-2 junior, and Tyler Luebbe, a 6-foot-3 freshman, also provide the Eagles with inside height.

"We've got a couple good kids in Sly and Polzin who are constantly improving," Berger said. "And Tyler Luebbe might be a bit weak physically right now, but he's a natural."

Guard play will be critical if Solon Springs hopes to emulate a run as it did in 2002 when the Eagles turned in a 9-1 mark in the second half of the IC schedule. Coughlin, a junior, leads the Solon Springs backcourt, which also features Alex Rowe and Billy Hynes. The remaining players on the Eagles bench include juniors Cody Deming, Mark Lundgren, Billy Albano and Jordan Armstrong and sophomore Andrew Armstrong. Ryan O'Meara is the team's lone senior.

"Jake (Coughlin) is a heck of a player who has come off the bench in the past and has had a taste of big games," Berger said. "A lot of our guys simply have expanded roles this season."

The growth of those roles is due to the graduation of over 90 percent of the Eagles' scoring and rebounding last season. Gone are Andrew Deming, Mitch Hebb, John Krawza, Tim Hynes and two-time all-IC performer Zach Gilbert.

"We lost a great deal from last year's team," Berger said. "But we've got a great bunch of kids with good attitudes and work ethics."


It is the combination of those things that have Berger and the Eagles thinking ahead. Maybe not enough to start studying nuclear science from a crazy teacher who wears dark glasses, but certainly enough to create some excitement in Solon Springs.

Solon Springs Eagles

Coach: Matt Berger

Nov. 28 -- at South Shore (L)

Nov. 30 -- at Birchwood (W)

Dec. 1 -- vs. Mercer (L)

Dec. 5 -- at Hurley (ppd)

Dec. 8 -- at Glidden


Dec. 15 -- vs. Butternut

Dec. 19 -- vs. Bayfield

Dec. 22 -- at Drummond

Jan. 2 -- vs. Northwood

Jan. 5 -- vs. Washburn, 7:45 p.m.

Jan. 8 -- vs. South Shore

Jan. 12 -- at Mercer, 6 p.m.

Jan. 16 -- vs. Mellen


Jan. 19 -- vs. Hurley, 7:45 p.m.

Jan. 25 -- vs. Glidden

Feb. 1 -- at Butternut

Feb. 8 -- at Bayfield

Feb. 15 -- vs. Drummond

Feb. 19 -- at Mellen

Feb. 23 -- at Washburn

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