By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
SOLON – Every high school player wonders at some point what it would be like playing in the NBA.
Over the next week, Solon players will get a small sample of the rigors of an NBA schedule.
Solon (8-4) began a five-game in seven days stretch fit for an NBA team last week with back-to-back wins at Western Dubuque on Friday and at home against Regina on Saturday.
After an off day on Sunday, the Spartans play three games in four days beginning with back-to-back home games against WAMAC East Division foes Maquoketa and Anamosa on Monday and Tuesday.
“It’s kind of like our NBA schedule type week,” Solon junior guard Luke Ira said. “That’s kind of the way we are looking at it, just trying to have fun with it. We are looking forward to it.”
A quirk in the schedule and a make-up game turned what was a four-game in eight day stretch last season into a five-game mini marathon week for the Spartans this season.
Monday’s game with Maquoketa is the rescheduled date of a Jan. 10 game postponed by weather.
The finale of the five-game stretch, a trip to Dyersville Beckman is being played as a rare Thursday night WAMAC game rather than a normal Friday game like last season.
Add everything together and it’s a unique stretch for Solon.
“We just try to really focus on one at a time, it’s a cliché but that’s really how we do it,” Solon coach Jason Pershing said. “We try to condition so much early that we are ready to play now and I think those two things play dividends.”
Last season the Spartans started the similar stretch with a win over Western Dubuque but lost to Regina, Anamosa and Beckman in what turned into a nine-game losing skid.
Solon is hoping the stretch that began a losing streak last season jump starts a winning streak this year.
“It helps a lot to get the first two wins,” Ira said. “That gives us some confidence going into these next few days.”
The Spartans snapped a three-game January losing streak with a 46-35 win over Western Dubuque on Friday and held off Regina 67-63 Saturday.
Solon will try to add on to that streak at home against 4-9 Maquoketa and 3-11 Anamosa.
The final game of the stretch may be the toughest on the road against a Dyersville Beckman (10-3) team that has won seven in a row since a 63-61 loss at Solon in December.
“We came out of break on a three-game skid and we knew we had to bounce back from that,” Solon junior guard Ben Krutzfeldt said. “These two first wins have been big for us and hopefully we can carry that momentum over.”
Solon played just two games in the first 16 days of January, falling to ranked opponents West Delaware and Mount Vernon.
The Spartans will close the month by playing seven games in 15 days.
“We’ve gotten good work in practice before so we are in shape now, we just have to go through stuff quickly at practice so we can rest our legs during this stretch,” Krutzfeldt said. “When you are winning it’s a lot more fun to have a lot of games and hopefully we can keep that streak going.”
1,000 and counting: West Branch senior Cooper Kabela became a member of the prestigious 1,000-point club on Friday.
Kabela scored 27 points in a win at Bellevue to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau and now has 1,007 career points.
The 6-foot-4 senior ranks seventh in Class 2A averaging 22.3 points per game and is adding 8.2 rebounds per game.
Ratings Update: West High remained atop the most recent Class 4A poll released by the Associated Press on Monday.
The Trojans are followed by Sioux City East, Dubuque Senior, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln and Cedar Falls in the 4A top five.
Other top-ranked teams include Waverly-Shell Rock (3A), Western Christian (2A) and North Linn (1A).
Top performances: Solon senior Sterling McIlravy had 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 53-51 loss to Central DeWitt.
Clear Creek Amana senior Cory Siders had 12 points and 12 rebounds in a 76-55 loss to Benton Community.
West Branch sophomore Beau Cornwell had 31 points, six rebounds and six assists in a 78-58 win over Tipton.
Regina freshman Masen Miller had 17 points, six assists and four steals in a 67-60 win over Mid-Prairie.
City High freshman Keyshawn Christian had 10 points and 13 rebounds in a 68-57 win over Cedar Rapids Jefferson.