Prep boys basketball: Eagles, Bobcats look to rematch

The third-seeded Eagles face Birchwood, the second seed Friday at 7 p.m.
Solon Springs’ Calin Lisson (24) spins in the post on Northwood’s Logan Henning (40) during the game in Minong earlier this season. (Jed Carlson /

The Solon Springs boys basketball team closed out the regular season with a 60-38 victory at Birchwood Saturday, Feb. 13, in a playoff tune-up.

Well, the third-seeded Eagles (6-8) hope that tune-up doesn’t backfire as their Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 5 playoff opener is at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, at that very same opponent, second-seeded Birchwood (6-12).

“It will be very interesting playing the same team we just beat,” Solon Springs coach Marcus Besonen said. “It’s always encouraging playing a team you have beat because that gives confidence knowing you can do it, but at the same time we need to not be overconfident since the playoffs can always bring a different level of play.”

The good news is the Eagles are playing their best basketball of the season, having won five of their past seven.

RELATED: Prep boys basketball: Eagles start fast, control pace in win over Washburn Solon Springs to close out season Saturday, Feb. 13, at Birchwood.


RELATED: Prep girls basketball: Eagles’ season concludes with loss to Northwood "The future is bright": Solon Springs played in its first regional championship game since 1997.

Senior Calin Lisson leads the team in scoring at 13 points per game while adding 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 steals. He is followed by Isaiah Kastern (9.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg), with the Eagles pretty balanced after that.

The winner advances to play the winner of No. 1 Northwood and No. 4 Lac Courte Oreilles for the regional championship at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at the highest remaining seed.

“We have been steadily improving, so we’re excited heading into the playoffs since it feels like we are just getting our legs under us after a rough delayed start,” Besonen said.

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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