Solon storms back to stun rival Mount Vernon

Solon storms back to stun rival Mount Vernon


Solon storms back to stun rival Mount Vernon


Score one for the new coach in a longtime rivalry that just got a little bit hotter.

Solon outscored Mount Vernon 23-6 in the fourth quarter — erasing a 12-point lead to start the final frame — to stun their Highway 1 foe, 68-63, on Tuesday night. Leading scorer Streeter McIlravy tallied 21 points, including six in a row that drew the Spartans within a point with a little more than three minutes to go. The senior was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line down the stretch to keep any Mount Vernon comeback at bay.

Solon improved to 5-5 with the win in the WaMac Conference contest. Mount Vernon fell to 7-4.

The win was sweet for a Solon team playing Mount Vernon, located just nine miles north and an opponent for years in most sports. Yet it may have had a little extra meaning for first-year Spartans coach Jason Pershing, who was an assistant last year at Mount Vernon before taking the coaching position at Solon.

“I learned so much from (Mount Vernon coach Wes Bruns),” Pershing said. “He’s the epitome of what a coach should be. And, so, obviously to get a ‘W’ means a ton. But more importantly, it’s just one game at a time. For us, to get two in a row in the middle of our season, when we’re getting into the middle of some of our stiffest competition in WaMac, is even more important, and for these guys to get that confidence.

“You know, it’s a crosstown rival, it’s a big deal, so this is super exciting.”

Solon led just once through the first three quarters, on a 3-pointer by Halston Durr, which gave the Spartans a brief 3-2 lead. Mount Vernon took control from there, building a 25-13 advantage at the end of the first quarter on the strength of 14 points from junior guard Connor Herrmann, who finished with 16 for the game but was held scoreless after halftime.

The Mustangs led 44-34 at the half, although Solon crept within six points on four different occasions and cut the lead to five once as well. Emilio Villagrana kept the Spartans close with eight points in the quarter.

But Solon couldn’t trim the lead to less than nine in the third, and trailed 57-45, to start the fourth.

Durr nailed a trey to trim the lead to 60-53 with 6:32 left in the fourth quarter. After a Mount Vernon timeout, Herrmann was called for a charge, his fourth foul, and went to the bench. McIlravy, who until then had been held by check by Herrmann, smelled the opportunity. He scored to draw Solon within five, then stole the ball and went the length of the court for a layup to make the score 60-57. After another Mount Vernon timeout, McIlravy drove baseline for a basket, and Solon had closed the lead to a single point.

“I just knew (Herrmann) had four fouls,” McIlravy said, “and I mean there’s no game plan. That’s one-on-one, and we just play basketball. He ended up being on me, and I mean it’s going to be a matchup on whoever he was guarding, I’m just going to go at him and try to get a foul. So, he ended up matching up on me, and he fouled me, and I got some free throws and ended up winning the game.”

“Any game you play, you try and exploit matchups,” Pershing said. “But as soon as Connor, who’s a fantastic, phenomenal athlete, gets into foul trouble, that next matchup is favorable for us, and Streeter, he’s kind of like a shark smelling blood in the water. He’s just an automatic scorer anyway, always looking to put the ball into the hoop, so definitely that helped us a ton.”

After consecutive turnovers by Mount Vernon, Villagrana drove into the lane, faked a pass and hit the layup to put Solon on top, 61-60, with 2:25 left. Mount Vernon came up empty on five consecutive possessions, and McIlravy iced the game by making all six free throws to clinch the victory.

Solon may look at this one as the night its season got reignited.

“We’re still learning so much,” Pershing said. Throughout the process of the game, we’re just gaining confidence. So, for us, once a couple of shots go in, you can just see my guys loosen up as well. It’s obviously a great positive.”

Mount Vernon












Mount Vernon (63)—Tommy Hook 13, Connor Herrmann 16, Nolan Teubel 6, Austin Ash 8, Andy Decamp 8, Luke Eldred 2, Adam Ketelsen 10

Solon (68)—Streeter McIlravy 21, Emilio Villagrana 12, Jacob Coons 8, Jackson Rushek 8, Dylan Doyle 5, Brandan Childs 1, Halston Durr 13

3-point field goals—Mount Vernon 7-19 (Herrmann 2, Ketelsen 2, Ash, 2, Hook 1)

Solon 6-14 (Durr 4, Doyle 1, Rushek 1)

Total fouls—Mount Vernon, 15, Solon, 15

Fouled out—Herrmann


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