Solon rallies, reaches 2A final

By Jeff Linder

The Gazette

DES MOINES — This was no mere thriller, no run-of-the mill classic.

This was more.

Matt Morrison swished a 3-pointer from the left corner — the last of his game-high 34 points — with 9 seconds left in the second overtime, then stole the ball moments later to preserve top-ranked Solon’s 83-80 win over No. 2 Western Christian in a Class 2A semifinal at the boys’ state basketball tournament Thursday afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena.

Solon (27-0) rallied from a 16-point deficit to deny the two-time defending champions.

“It’s hard to consume it all,” said Solon Coach Brad Randall. “(Western Christian) is a historic program. To go out and beat them in two overtimes … it’s almost like a dream and I don’t want to wake up from it.”

This will slap the Spartans to full attention: They still have one more game to play.

Solon faces No. 4 Pella Christian (26-1) for the 2A title at 8 tonight.

“We’ll go to the hotel, eat right, sleep, then come out (tonight) with the attitude that we’re going to win,” said Tucker Wentzien, who converted a baseline drive into a two-handed dunk in the second overtime.

That made it 78-75 with about a minute left. After Western’s Trevor Wolterstorff and Solon’s Ben Bergman made two free throws each, Wolters made a 3-pointer under heavy pressure to tie it at 80-all with 20 seconds left.

But Bergman located a wide-open Morrison, and the left-hander delivered from the corner.

“I thought if we pushed it, we might get a good shot,” Morrison said. “Ben found me with a good pass. I let go, and it went in.”

Western (25-2) made 7 of 12 3-point shots in the first half and held a 41-25 lead late in the first half. It was 64-54 with 5 minutes left in regulation.

But the Wolfpack missed the front end of two straight one-and-one opportunities, giving the Spartans a chance.

And they capitalized fully.

Bergman’s runner with 15 seconds left tied it at 66-66, then Western’s Tyler Wolterstorff was short on a 7-footer at the buzzer.

“It was a tremendous game,” said Western Coach Jim Eekhoff. “We just got outscored.”

Morrison, a signee of the University of Northern Iowa and the quarterback of the Solon football team that won the 2A title in November, made 12 of 25 field-goal attempts (6 of 14 from long range).

Wentzien added 19 points, Ben Weeks 13 and Bergman 12.

That offset a pair of 25-point games by Trevor Wolterstorff and Shawn Keizer.

Western was bidding to become the first three-time champ since Palmer did it in the late 1980s.

“They’re a great team,” Wentzien said. “But this is our year.”

We’ll find out tonight.

“We can be happy for a couple of hours. Then we’ve got to put this game in a shoebox,” Randall said. “We’ll pop in a couple films of (Pella Christian), and tell our kids, ‘This is who is preventing you from what you want.’ “


One Response to “Solon rallies, reaches 2A final”

  1. Solon rallies, reaches 2A final | Says:

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