It was tough for the Solon Comets boys basketball team to be forced to sit on the sidelines at the beginning of the season. The start of the season had been delayed due to health concerns because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Comets were not the only team that had wait but it was still a tough pill to swallow as there was some uncertainty when they would be back.
The Comets got back on the court in December but only got to play six games before the program was shut down again due to a positive test. The team was just starting to get into the swing of things and now had to sit for ten days before it could return. Solon definitely looked a little rusty on Jan. 22 as it fell to Greater Cleveland Conference rival the Medina Bees 79-73 at Medina last Friday evening.
Despite not totally being in game shape Solon overcame a double-digit deficit to make it a 3-point game in the final minute of regulation. The Comets had turned up the pressure defensively and seniors Marcus Steele and Jimmie Williams led the charge offensively. They combined for 18 of Solon’s 24 fourth-quarter points but ultimately fell just short.
“We got it to under ten then in the fourth quarter and defensively our pressure started to have a little bit of an effect on them. They missed some foul shots so we took some advantage of some possessions and I think we gave ourselves three or four chances to really pull it out at the end,” said Comets’ head coach Tony DeCesare. “We had a couple of good possessions and a couple of good traps that they’d broken and ended up making shots out of but to go to their place on the road and be in it at the end is a big sign. We just have to take care of some of the things that we didn’t do great defensively but I think our guys will do that.”
No one really knew what to expect when tip-off rolled around. Not playing for over a week or even having any practice time is not really a recipe for success but the Comets showed that they were not going to roll over as they took a 22-21 lead at the end of the first quarter.
It continued to be a back-and-forth affair with Solon still holding a 1-point lead at the half. The third quarter is when the fatigue set in. It was only a 6 minute stretch but the Comets’ tired legs showed as Medina came out and hit three triples in its first three possessions to key a 16-2 run and opened up a 15-point lead over its GCC rivals. The Bees couldn’t miss while Solon couldn’t buy a basket after Medina went to a zone defense.
“We haven’t seen much zone throughout the year and it was something that took us a few possessions to adjust to and then we got some goods shots that we just didn’t hit. I think that was probably key and it was a good decision on the coach’s part because we were having a lot of success against their man-to-man so I think that adjustment for them defensively was key,” said coach DeCesare.
Solon showed its resiliency by cutting the gap to under 10 points at the end of the third quarter. The Comets caught their second wind in the final quarter but it wasn’t enough as the Bees handed them their first conference loss of the season.
Solon bounced back on Jan. 23 with a road win against Twinsburg. It will be a challenge for the Comets to get back to form as they are slated for a slew of GCC conference games and will be playing 12 games over the next four weeks. That’s essentially like playing an NBA schedule and coach DeCesare will make sure to give his guys as much rest as possible so they are not worn out by the time the sectional tournament rolls around.
Steele was the leading scorer for Solon with 31 points, three rebounds and three assists followed by Williams who had 23 points, two rebounds and three assists. Medina senior Corey Tripp led the way with 29 points and junior Bryce Beech and senior Christian Howard each chipped in 14 points. The Comets will hit the road to take on GCC rival Euclid on Friday evening. The scheduling challenges continue as Friday night’s game against GCC conference rival Euclid was canceled.