LeBron James has been known to say that in Northeast Ohio nothing is given and everything is earned. Solon’s boys basketball team earned a return trip to the Euclid District championship game thanks to one very impressive flow on both the offensive and defensive end of the floor in the closing moments.
In short, David Gulley’s closer act against Cleveland Heights would have impressed even King James himself.
As reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Solon was trailing Cleveland Heights 70-67 with an inbounds play in the final 20 seconds. After an inbounds play, Solon missed a shot but a rebound was corralled by Ryan Bergen, who then got the ball to Gulley at the top of the key. The guard took a single dribble, created space and fired up a shot from behind the arc just as a Cleveland Heights defender made contact with him.
The shot rattled home, with a whistle coming as he released the ball. A free throw later, Solon held a 71-70 lead.
There was just enough time for Cleveland Heights to get one last, frantic drive up the court, which earned a high percentage opportunity in the paint. That could have sent the game to overtime, except Gulley was there again, elevating beyond his 5-foot-11 frame to reject that last Cleveland Heights attempt from 6-foot-5 Ohio State football commit Jaylen Harris. Game, set, match for Solon.
“I’m not sure what’s more impressive: the four-point play or the block on a 6-5 kid who’s going to Ohio State,” Solon coach Tony DeCesare told the Plain Dealer. “But he made huge plays throughout the entire game. And we needed every single one of them.”
Unfortunately for Solon, the rematch for the Euclid Division title against Mentor tipped in Mentor’s favor,