A rebound, a free throw and a deflection.
Ethan Ahern’s overtime stat line Saturday night doesn’t exactly jump off the page.
All it did was win the game.
Ahern drew a foul grabbing an offensive rebound and hit one free throw with 4.4 seconds left to help Class 3A No. 3 Solon escape with a wild 63-62 win over Mid-Prairie.
The game wasn’t decided until Ahern got a hand on a pass to knock the ball loose as the buzzer expired.
“We didn’t get a lot of breaks in overtime, but we got the last one because (Ahern) ripped the backboard off the wall and went to the line, and that’s why he is a three-year starter,” Solon coach Brad Randall said. “He was the guym and I’m real proud of himm and I’m real proud of us for getting this win.”
Solon (4-0) trailed by as many as 15 points in the third quarter before mounting a furious rally to eventually force overtime.
Mid-Prairie (2-2) had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Nathan Faselt hit 1-of-2 free throws to tie the score at 59.
The teams played to a 3-3 draw in the four-minute overtime until the final seconds.
Solon’s Emilio Villagrana missed a 3-pointer, but Ahern went high for the rebound and was fouled on the putback attempt.
“Coach told us to go to the boards, and I just crashed and tried to get a putback like he said,” Ahern said. “I was able to draw the foul and make the free throw and help us get a win.”
Ahern hit the first free throw, and following a miss on the second attempt, he knocked a pass away at the other end of the court as Mid-Prairie failed to get off a final shot.
“I really felt with four seconds left I still believed we were going to come down and win it,” Mid-Prairie coach Chris Kern said. “I think that’s the way our kids felt and the way they played all game.”
Mid-Prairie hit 8-of-9 field-goal attempts in the first quarter, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range as the Golden Hawks led 18-16.
The lead grew to 34-30 at halftime and 50-38 after three quarters as Mid-Prairie ended the third quarter on a 13-3 run.
Solon answered with a 19-3 run to start the fourth quarter that gave the Spartans a 57-53 lead.
“Coach always preaches to keep our cool,” Ahern said. “We knew if we kept our heads in it we would be OK.”
Solon forced Mid-Prairie into 11 turnovers in the fourth quarter and 28 in the game.
After being held to eight points on just two field goals in the third quarter, Solon was 6-of-10 from the field in the fourth quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers.
“I was real proud of our kids coming back, down 12,” Randall said. “You don’t come back on Mid-Prairie very often when you are down 12-15 points, and we did.”
Solon was led by Austin Miller and Jaden Durr, who each finished with 15 points.
Villagrana added 11 points for Solon, while Ahern finished with eight and Nick Shelman had seven.
“I think we had three or four different guys hit 3-pointers and that’s what I like about our team, we are balanced,” Randall said. “We don’t have to rely on one person.”
Dayton Hall led Mid-Prairie with 15 points, while Nicholas Stimson, Spencer Shalla and Riley Sieren each had 10 for the Golden Hawks, who had a two-game winning streak snapped.
“When you come up here on their floor, you know it’s going to be tough,” Kern said. “I’m just really proud of the effort our kids put in, and I don’t believe in moral victories — a loss is a loss — but I think this game is going to go a long way for us as we go through the season.
MID-PRAIRIE (62) – Dayton Hall 5-11 0-0 15, Wyatt Cady 1-3 0-0 2, Nicholas Stimson 3-7 3-4 10, Nathan Faselt 3-4 2-7 8, Nolan Faselt 1-1 0-0 2, Spencer Shalla 3-4 2-2 10, Riley Sieren 3-5 4-4 10, Christian Johnson 1-2 3-3 5. Totals 20-37 14-20 62.
SOLON (63) – Emilio Villagrana 4-12 0-0 11, Nathan Hawkins 0-2 1-2 1, Ethan Ahern 1-1 6-9 8, Nick Shelman 3-7 1-2 8, Jacob Coons 1-2 0-0 2, Jaden Durr 4-10 4-4 15, Shay Croy 0-0 1-2 1, Jacob Black 1-6 0-1 2, Austin Miller 7-10 1-2 15. Totals 21-50 14-22 63.
3-point goals – Solon 7-21 (Villagrana 3-9, Hawkins 0-1, Shelman 1-2, Durr 3-5, Black 0-3, Miller 0-1), Mid-Prairie 8-14 (Hall 5-9, Cady 0-1, Stimson 1-2, Shalla 2-2). Rebounds – Solon 21 (Miller 6), Mid-Prairie 30 (Shalla 7). Turnovers – Solon 17, Mid-Prairie 28. Total fouls – Solon 24, Mid-Prairie 20. Fouled out – Solon (Durr). Technicals – None.