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Spartans on track for continued success

Solon looks to extend district title streak
Junior Emilio Villagrana returns to run the offense for Solon’s boys on the basketball court this season. (Economist file photo)

SOLON– They’ve won 83 percent of their games over the last 10 seasons, are the reigning district champs, and have been for nine years running. And coach Brad Randall thinks the Solon Spartans varsity boy’s basketball team can do it again.
In his 21st season as the head coach, Randall returns a pair of starters from last season’s 19-5 team. Emilio Villagrana, a junior, and Ethan Ahern, a senior will be the core Randall builds the 2013-2014 season around. Villagrana averaged 9.7 points per game last season with a 39 percent field goal average, made 26.8 percent of his 3-point shots and shot 58.6 percent from the charity stripe. Ahern averaged 5.3 points with a 42.4 percent average in field goals, made 28 percent of his three-bombs and made almost 76 percent of his free throws last season.
Also back are seniors Jaden Durr, Austin D. Miller, Nick Shelman, Jacob Black, Shay Croy and Nathan Hawkins.
Durr averaged 1.1 points, made 23.5 percent of his field goals, made three of 14 3-pointers and shot 35.3 percent from the free throw line. Miller averaged nearly 4 points making nearly half of his field goals, made a trio of three-bombs and hit 15 of 22 free throws for 68.2 percent. Shelman averaged 2.4 points sinking 24 of 57 field goals for 40 percent, hit a trio of 3-pointers and made eight of 13 charity shots. Black saw limited action, averaging 0.4 points and hitting three free throws. Croy averaged 1.2 points with four buckets, three treys, and one charity shot. Hawkins added 0.4 points per game with four baskets last season.
Newcomers to the squad include freshman Jake Coons, sophomore Streeter Milravy and juniors Eric Holtorf, Zach Lawson, Peyton Nicol, Josh Prybl, Jackson Rushek and Cameron Fitzpatrick. Also new to the varsity Spartans is manager Owen Steinbrech.
Solon lost Austin M. Miller (5.8 points per game), Rory Siddell (6 points), Joe Weeks (11.9 points per game), Todd Oberthien (.9 points) and Ryan Kunkel (9.7 points).
Randall sees the squad’s quickness and shooting as strengths going into the new season, but noted the team needs to improve on the boards to make more rebounds.
“I think we will play an exciting style,” Randall said.
The season starts on the road at Western Dubuque on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Center Point-Urbana comes to visit on Friday, Dec. 6. Randall sees Western Dubuque and Dyersville Beckman, along with his crew, as the top teams and expects the Spartans to be the favorite in the southeast division.