Solon freshman AJ Coons
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Jake and AJ Coons have unofficially been teammates their entire lives.
The two brothers have been on the same side in countless pickup basketball games and backyard football battles over the years.
When it comes to be official teammates the Coons brothers plan to make their one shot a memorable one.
In their first ever season as teammates in an organized sport Jake and AJ Coons have played a big role in helping Solon start the season 6-1.
“We’ve been talking about this since we were seven or eight,” Jake Coon said. “This is the only year that we get to play together and we are going to try to cherish every moment of it.”
A 6-foot-4 senior forward Jake is enjoying the best season of his career.
Solon senior Jake Coons
Jake is averaging a team-high 12.6 points per game while adding 5.1 rebounds for Solon.
While his on-court production is at an all-time high it has been what the older Coons has brought off the court that has been most valuable for the Spartans this season.
The Iowa football recruit has become a steady leader for Solon and a source of knowledge for AJ, a freshman guard.
“I think it’s huge for AJ having Jake out there, they play so well together and he has seen his brother lead,” Solon coach Jason Pershing said. “His brother is our biggest leader. He has seen what it takes to be a multi-sport athlete and lead in all these other avenues. He knows what the expectation is and they feed off each other.”
AJ has made an immediate impact in his first season.
The 6-foot-2 freshman is averaging 8.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game this season.
“Felt the pressure to perform well being a freshman on varsity but I just wanted to go out there and do my job,” AJ Coons said. “It always helps having an older brother on the team to be a mentor.”
AJ Coons had a career-high 19 points in his second ever varsity game and has scored double digits three times in his first seven contests.
He had 12 points and five rebounds in a 72-45 win over Keokuk in the final game before the holiday break.
“He’s getting better, at the beginning you are a freshman you are a little scared but as the season goes on you get to feel your way through and he’s playing really well right now,” Jake Coons said of AJ. “You can see his confidence building in everything he does.”
The stakes are a little higher now and the games are more formal but the brothers are still as competitive with each other and as hard on one another as they were in the back yard as kids.
Both AJ and Jake said they are their toughest critics with Jake being especially critical of his younger brother.
“It’s been the best experience I’ve had on a team just having my brother there,” Coons said. “There is somebody always to talk to about how it’s going. He’s hard on me, we are always on each other but we want to get the best out of each other.”
Remaining 4A Unbeatens: With top-ranked West High’s 80-71 loss to Cedar Rapids Prairie on Tuesday the list of unbeaten teams in Class 4A is down to 4.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Lewis Central, Sioux City East and Councile Bluffs Abraham Lincoln all enter the holiday break 6-0.
Scoring Leaders: West Branch senior forward Cooper Kabela leads Your Prep Sports area scorers entering the holiday break averaging 23 points per game,
West High senior Connor McCaffery is averaging 18.8 points per game while West Branch sophomore Beau Cornwell is averaging 17.3 points per game.
Top Performances: Beau Cornwell had 29 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals in a 78-67 loss to Camanche.
Solon senior Jake Coons had 21 points in a 72-45 win over Keokuk.
Regina junior Jocoa Kerschen had 18 points and six rebounds in a 63-57 win over Benton Community.
City High sophomore Antonio Turner had 25 points and four rebounds in a 76-56 loss to Cedar Rapids Jefferson.
Devontae Lane had 17 points, eight assists and four rebounds in an 80-71 loss to Cedar Rapids Prairie.