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Solon Springs one win from title

Mike Granlund

For the Superior Telegram

The Solon Springs boys basketball team is one win away from claiming its first ever Indianhead Conference title.

The Eagles continued their historic season with a 75-54 win over the Hurley Midgets on Parent’s Night Thursday in Solon Springs.

The win broke the school record for wins in a season as the Eagles went to 20-1 on the year.  The old record was a 19-6 during the 2011-12 season.

Solon Springs also improves to 14-1 in conference play and can clinch at least a share of the IC title with a win over the Mercer Tigers, who they play in a make-up game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Washburn (19-1) is also 14-1 in the conference and the Castle Guards host Ironwood (6-8) tonight. .

Thursday’s game started out as anything but easy as the Eagles ran into early foul trouble and an unstoppable center in Hurley’s James Sukanen.

With Adam Vandenberghe and Caleb Hedberg on the bench in foul trouble, the Midgets forged to a 21-20 lead midway through the first half.

Solon Springs coach Dale Rajala then took a chance and reinserted Vandenberghe in the game and he responded with seven points and two assists in the next few minutes as the Eagles went on a 17-2 run and gained a comfortable 37-23 lead.

The first half ended 43-33 in favor of Solon Springs.

In the second half the Eagles slowly built on their lead, finally stretching it to the final margin and a 75-54 win.

“I’m very proud of these guys,” Rajala said. “They have kept their focus and have concentrated on the job each of them has.”

Senior guard Ryan Anderson again was the top scorer for the Eagles with 23 points. Vandenberghe added 19 points and was the team leader with six assists and nine rebounds.

Seniors honored for Solon Springs included Vandenberghe, Anderson, Hedberg, Ian Klinzing and Corey Pajtash.

The game also was retro night as the Eagles wore jerseys bearing the former name of the High School, St. Croix.

Sukanen led Hurley (10-9) with 31 points.

Saturday’s home game is part of a boys/girls doubleheader with the Solon Springs girls playing Mercer at 5 p.m. and the boys following at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Hurley                           33                    21                    —                    54

Solon Springs               43                    32                    —                    75

Hurley — James Sukanen 30, Kohl Manzanares 7, Isaac DeCarlo 6, Dante Bender 5, Tandrell Foster 3, Josh Quello 3.

3-point goals —  Quello, Manzanares.

Solon Springs — Ryan Anderson 23, Adam Vandenberghe 19, Jens Gehl 9, Corey Pajtash 7, Zach Rajala 7, Reid Lisson 6, Caleb Hedberg 2, Ian Klinzing 2.

3-point goals — Anderson 2, Vandenberghe 2, Rajala.