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Eagle boys end record season with regional final loss

ASHLAND -- The Solon Springs boys basketball team saw its season come to an end Saturday night with a 51-39 loss to Drummond in the WIAA Division 5 regional finals.

ASHLAND -- The Solon Springs boys basketball team saw its season come to an end Saturday night with a 51-39 loss to Drummond in the WIAA Division 5 regional finals.

The Eagles led 10-4 after one quarter but lost the lead in the second. Drummond remained in front to end the third quarter up 37-33, and the Lumberjacks put the game away in the final eight minutes by outscoring Solon Springs 14-6.

Solon Springs ends the season at 19-6, while Drummond improves to 22-3.

"This is the best season in our history," said Dale Rajala, Solon Springs head coach. "We've probably had more wins over the past four years with these guys than any other group of players that I've had. They set the bar high for our program, and I couldn't be prouder."

Saturday's game marked only the second time in school history the Eagles had advanced to the regional finals. Solon Springs played in its first regional final game in 2006.

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The Eagles' 19 wins this season are also an all-time high for the school, surpassing the 17-5 record of the 2003-04 team.

Drummond now faces Frederic (18-7) in the sectional semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday in Hayward. Frederic advanced with a 53-46 victory over No. 1-seeded Siren Saturday.

"I think it's our fourth trip (to sectionals) in the last five years, so the expectations are a little bit more," said Josh Hanson, Drummond head coach. "It's not so much about winning a regional championship right now -- we are absolutely happy that we did that -- but I think we're more ready to contend for sectional levels."

Solon Springs opened Saturday's game in a 2-3 zone that gave the Lumberjacks trouble in the first eight minutes.

Drummond scored only four points in the quarter, coming on a pair of baskets from Ben Best less than a minute apart. Best's second shot gave the Lumberjacks a 4-2 lead at 4:38, but Drummond was then held scoreless for the remainder of the quarter.

"We've played them enough to know what to expect, and they actually surprised me a little bit that they came out in a 2-3 (zone) right away because the last two times they played man against us," Hanson said. "I don't think it affected us too much, but it took a little bit of adjustment to get used to, and that slowed us up in the first quarter."

Friday's game

The Solon Springs boys advanced to the WIAA Division 5 regional finals with a 71-48 victory over the Bayfield Trollers Friday night in Solon Springs.

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"The guys played together," Rajala said. "They went out and they trusted each other; they played for each other, and I'm really proud of that."

The Eagles started fast against Bayfield, built a seven-point lead heading into halftime and then put the game away with a decisive third quarter.

Leading 34-27 after two quarters of play, the Eagles opened the second half with 10 unanswered points.

Tyler Long started the run with nice shot under the basket on a pass from Trey Scheldroup nine seconds into the second half. Cody Utyro then came up with a quick steal, and Scheldroup scored the layup to make it 38-27 less than 30 seconds into play.

Phil Larson was the next Eagle to come up with a steal as Bayfield struggled against Solon Springs' full-court pressure. The Eagles worked the ball around for an open shot that rimmed out, but Long grabbed the offensive rebound and Kyle Vandenberghe eventually put the ball in from the left block.

Long continued the Eagles' strong defensive effort on the Trollers' next possession when he stepped in front of a pass for the steal, and Larson's turn-around jumper off the glass gave Solon Springs a 42-27 lead.

Scheldroup finished off the 10-0 run at 5:06 when he drove into the lane and pulled up for a short jump shot.

Michael Waschmuth's put-back on a long rebound gave Bayfield its first points of the quarter at 4:46, but Solon Springs responded by scoring the next five points on a 3-point play from Long and a floater from Vandenberghe to take a 20-point lead.

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"We all challenged Tyler because we know what he's capable of," Rajala said. "We challenged him to come out and play his best game of the year, and he did that by far."

Solon Springs led by 24 at the end of the third quarter, and Bayfield never got closer than 16 in the fourth quarter.

Hurting the Trollers in the fourth quarter were a pair of technical fouls less than 10 seconds apart. Larson made 3-of-4 shots on the technical fouls to put Solon Springs up 67-45.

"We know that it's going to be an intense game with Bayield," Rajala said. "I just told the guys to keep their heads; we don't want to get anybody in trouble, we don't want to get anybody hurt. Just play smart and ride it out."

For the night, Solon Springs was 17-of-20 from the free-throw line. The Trollers were 2-of-6.

Larson led a balanced scoring effort for the Eagles with 16 points. Cody Utyro made a trio of 3-pointers and finished with 14, Long had 13 points and provided a noticeable spark for Solon Springs with his strong defense and rebounding.

"We all challenged Tyler because we know what he's capable of," Rajala said. "We challenged him to come out and play his best game of the year, and he did that by far."

Scheldroup and Vandenberghe also scored 11 points each for the Eagles; and Mac Ohm, Corey Utyro and Jake Dahlberg chipped in with two points apiece.

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NOTES: Saturday's regional final was the third game in three days for the Eagles, who postponed their opening playoff match until Thursday due to adverse weather conditions. Rajala, however, was not concerned about the tight schedule.

"I think it's good. It's just like the NFL playoffs when you're a wild card -- you've just got to keep going, and we like that," Rajala said. "The guys would rather play than practice, that's for sure."

Saturday's game

Drummond 4 19 14 14 -- 51

Solon Springs 10 12 11 6 -- 39

Drummond -- Ben Best 27, Jake Fibert 9, Bryant Ayers 4, Andrew McKinney 4, Justin Miller 3, Ryan Schick 3, Mitch Byrd 1.

3-point goals -- Fibert 3, Miller.

Solon Springs -- Phil Larson 14, Cody Utyro 11, Trey Scheldroup 8, Kyle Vandenberghe 4, Tyler Long 2.

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3-point goals -- Larson 2, Scheldroup 2, Cody Utyro.

Friday's game

Solon Springs 18 16 23 14 -- 71

Bayfield 16 11 6 15 -- 48

Solon Springs -- Phil Larson 16, Cody Utyro 14, Tyler Long 13, Trey Scheldroup 11, Kyle Vandenberghe 11, Mac Ohm 2, Corey Utyro 2, Jake Dahlberg 2.

3-point goals -- Cody Utyro 3, Larson 2, Scheldroup.

Bayfield -- Alex Dietrich 14, Michael Waschmuth 9, Kyle Gordon 8, Andrew Defoe 8, Kevin Leask 6, Jonathon Cadotte 3.

3-point goals -- Gordon 2, Leask 2, Waschmuth, Cadotte.

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Thursday's game

Solon Springs 22 15 14 16 -- 67

Mercer 9 2 9 4 -- 24

Solon Springs -- Cody Utyro 17, Jake Dahlberg 12, Philip Larson 11, Kyle Vandenberghe 10, Corey Utyro 7, Trey Scheldroup 6, Mac Ohm 2, Tyler Long 2.

3-point goals -- Corey Utyro.

Mercer -- Jake Rozhor 9, Dakota Engler 7, Hunter Kirchoff 5, Tim Wurlitzer 2, John Alvey 1.

3-point goals -- Engler, Kirchoff.

Earlier action

The Solon Springs boys basketball faced Drummond Tuesday for the second time this season, but this time the Eagles didn't come away with a win, falling 50-34.

On Friday, the Solon Springs boys defeated Butternut 73-28. All 10 players on the Eagles roster scored in Friday's game.

The Solon Springs boys open the WIAA playoffs Tuesday with a home game against Mercer.

Friday's game

Solon Springs 21 14 19 19 -- 73

Butternut 12 6 6 4 -- 28

Solon Springs -- Phil Larson 19, Cody Utyro 9, Mac Ohm 9, Tyler Long 7, Corey Utyro 7, Kyle Vandenberghe 6, Daniel Gengenbach 5, Jake Dahlberg 5, Trey Scheldroup 4, Trent Wester 2.

3-point goals -- Larson 3, Corey Utyro.

Butternut -- Gabe Miesbauer 16, Ryan Prellwitz 4, Malachi Zielke 2, Steven Sherwinski 2, Myles Hirtreiter 2, Mark Hill 2.

3-point goals -- Miesbauer 2, Prellwitz.

Solon Springs girls

The Eagle girls fell behind early Tuesday and ended with an 87-28 loss to Shell Lake.

"We didn't know what to expect and we were thrown for a loop when Shell Lake started," said Eagles coach Kate Klinzing. "But like any other game, we fight until the bitter end."

Solon Springs struggled with turnovers in the game and showed some fatigue late in the game. The Eagles also had difficulty contending with the Lakers' strong perimeter shooting as Kristen Koetke finished with seven 3-pointers.

Autumn Blaylock led Solon Springs with 10 points, followed by Shayla Bornholdt with seven and Tylor Kruse with six.

Shell Lake 22 34 21 10 -- 87

Solon Springs 8 8 6 6 -- 28

Solon Springs -- Alicia Jensen 2, Autumn Blaylock 10, Valerie Garay 1, Brittney Armstrong 2, Tylor Kruse 6, Shayla Bornholdt 7.

3-point goals -- Blaylock.

Shell Lake -- Jenny Cornell 5, Hannah Cassel 11, Jen Cassel 20, Emma Anderson 9, Kristen Koetke 21, Shania Pokerny 14, Erica Kozial 7.

3-point goals -- Koetke 7, Anderson.

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