For the second straight game, opening the 2013-14 season, the Solomon High School basketball teams stepped up a class, from 2A to 3A, and played a member of the North Central Activities Association.
For the second straight time, however, things didn’t go well for the Gorillas or the Lady Gorillas. But things, on the other hand, were relatively a breeze for the Minneapolis Lions and Lady Lions who opened their 2013-14 basketball seasons 31 and 28-point victories over Solomon’s basketball programs.
“We got after them defensively in the first half and pushed the ball and got a lot of easy baskets out of our transition,” Minneapolis Lady Lion coach Bryan Weatherman said.
Last Friday night Solomon traveled to Salina and played Sacred Heart in a basketball doubleheader, Friday night the NCAA squad (Sacred Heart) handed Solomon losses of 15 points (the girls game) and 36 points (the boys game).
Tuesday night the outcomes were identical as the girls game between Solomon and Minneapolis was a 31-point Lady Lion victory, 59-28, and the boys’ game was a 28-point Lion victory, 64-36.
“It is a good win for us,” Minneapolis boys’ coach Eric Shupe said. “Last year we opened, I think, with three losses so to get one right now, right off the bat, the kids feel good about it and they should.”
Minneapolis outscored Solomon in seven of the eight quarters played Tuesday night. The only quarter Minneapolis did not outscore Solomon was the final quarter of the boys’ game when the two teams tied 7-7.
In the girls’ game the Lady Lions raced out to a 19-6 lead after the first quarter and outscored Solomon 15-3 in the second quarter, 18-15 in the third quarter and 7-4 in the final period.
Minneapolis was led in scoring by Lucy Giles, who finished with 16 points while Lindsay Shupe and Jacee Owens scored 10 points each for the Lady Lions. The Lady Gorillas were led in scoring by Jamie Meagher, who finished with 10 points and was the only Lady Gorilla to reach double figures in scoring.
“What we have seen in practice from our girls, is that we have 10 or 11 kids that can play, we have kind of planned all year to get our and put pressure on the offense,” Weatherman said. “We really want to get out and have really good offense in the transition.”
In the boys’ contest the Lions raced out of the gates to build an 18-10 lead after the first quarter, pushed the lead to 36-23 by intermission, then outscored Solomon 22-7 in the third quarter to seal up the 28-point victory.
The Lions had 10 different players score in the game, led by John Kelly’s 18 points while Josh Macy added 12 for Minneapolis. The Gorillas were led in scoring by Jordan Rangel, who finished with 10 points and was the lone Solomon player to score in double figures.
“I thought we did a good job in the second half of making adjustments defensively,” Shupe said. “The kids started playing defense with their feet and getting into the passing lanes with their feet.”
The contest was in the opening round of the Tri County Classic. In the other opening round game Halstead played at Bennington.
In the other Tri County Classic showdown Halstead swept Bennington with the Halstead girls winning 52-39 and the Halstead boys winning 70-57.
Thursday night in the middle round of games Bennington will play at Minneapolis while Solomon will play at Halstead. Friday night, the final round of games which will be played at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Solomon will play Bennington and Minneapolis will play Halstead.
“I think the potential is there,” Shupe said of his team this season. “It is one game and there is a lot to be seen. I think we felt coming into the season that if we can clean some things up and we could score the ball a little better, we could be good. I think that is still true.”