In their first back-to-back series of the season, the Wildcats were looking to stay hot after a close win over Garfield Heights the night before. Saturday night’s tough challenge would be the reigning state runner-ups, the Solon Comets.
In the end, the Comets squeaked past the Saint Ignatius varsity basketball team in overtime, 77-71.
The first half went back and forth, but two huge dunks by sophomore Henry Raynor and Kevin Davet gave the Wildcats confidence going into the break. At halftime, the score was 33-31, with Solon in the lead.
In the third quarter, the Comets went on a decisive run. Solon’s lead stretched to six points at one point, combining clutch 3’s with making multiple defensive stops. The score at the end of the third was 51-47, with Solon still on top.
The fourth quarter is where all of the magic happened for the Wildcats.
The game would stay close, but the Wildcats only allowed Solon to score 11 points in the quarter. With 57 seconds left to go in the quarter, the Wildcats found themselves down by five. That would change quickly, as as Griffin Hanna came in clutch and hit a three. The Wildcats, trailing by two, burned a timeout.
On the Solon inbound, Chase Toppin, who already had 19 points in the game, got a steal and a bucket, tying the game at 62 with 51 seconds left.
The Comets had chances aplenty in the final minute, but could not grab the lead. Solon missed two free chances at the charity stripe with 5 seconds remaining, sending the contest to overtime. The Wildcats’ defense was a big difference maker down the stretch.
In the fifth period of play, Solon pulled ahead. After a hard fought overtime period, the Wildcats lost to the Comets 77-71.
One Wildcat who stood out in this performance was Chase Toppin, who dropped 24 points and played stellar defense. Toppin’s slashes to the basket were a thing of beauty on Saturday.
“Twenty four points isn’t that bad, but I think I could’ve done better in certain areas,” Toppin said. “We’re going to watch film on Monday, and step it up to another level our next game.”
Head Coach Brian Becker ‘77 credited Solon on a well-played game after the thrilling back-and-forth affair.
“Solon’s a great team. They have four returning starters from last year that went to the state finals,” said Becker. “Tonight, I think we hurt ourselves, we had some mental mistakes and some defensive lapses. We really battled back and I think Chase Toppin had an exceptional game. But basketball’s a team game and every game we need to have 15 guys playing at their best. Tonight, we just didn’t have that.”
The Wildcats will look to learn from the narrow loss after dropping to 3-1 on the year. The team will have a chance to bounceback next weekend.
“We’re going to watch the film on Monday, because with final exams this week, it’s always real hard for those student athletes to practice and study for exams,” Becker said. “We’ll cut back a little in practice so the guys aren’t stressed, but we’ll clean some things up as far as composure goes and taking care of the basketball.”
The next game for the Wildcats will be on Saturday, December 22 against Canton McKinley on the road. The JV game starts at 5:30 and the Varsity starts at roughly 7:30 pm. Both games can be heard on the SIBN.