Solomon advances after breaking 104-year-old playoff drought
SOLOMON, Kan. (KWCH) - Update: An historic season for the Solomon High School boys basketball team isn’t over yet. The No. 7 seeded Gorillas pulled off an opening round upset in the Class 1A DI playoffs, knocking off the No. 2 seed, Norwich. With Wednesday’s 45-43 win, Solomon moves on to face Montezuma-South Gray in the state semifinals. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. Friday in Dodge City. The Gorillas will finish no worse than fourth in the state. While Solomon has the talent to make history, the run to the state semifinal round wasn’t expected by many.
“Just scrolling through social media, you just see a lot of stuff about us and what we’re doing right now,” Solomon High School Boys Basketball Head Coach Kyler Stein said. “Like I said, not a lot of people thought we could do what we’re doing right now, and these guys just put in a lot of work and effort into it And we always believed in them, believed they could get it done. And it’s awesome to see the rest of the state starting to see it and other people are starting to see all the work they put in.”
A basketball team in a community about 107 miles north of Wichita ended a drought going back more than a century. For the first time since 1918, the Solomon High School boys basketball team is going to the state playoffs.
To put the drought in perspective, the last time the Gorillas competed in a boys basketball state tournament, Woodrow Wilson was president, the country was still involved in World War I and the Spanish flu first hit the U.S.
“There’s a lot of people that have played here. One-hundred-four years, a lot of guys that went through this program, and I’m just glad this is the group,” Solomon High School boys Basketball Head Coach Kyler Stein said.
In his first year guiding the Gorillas, Stein has the team sitting at a record of 16-7. The No. 7 seed in 1A Division I, Solomon opens the state tournament as the No 7 seed taking on No. 2 seed Norwich at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 9 in Dodge City.
In preparation for the historic game, Stein urged his young team to stay focused.
“You guys are representing Solomon, you’re representing the Gorillas. Do it well,” he said. “You guys have one job and that’s to win a basketball game [Thursday] night.”
The town of about 1,100 people is backing them up. Solomon players say they’re looking to get beyond just breaking a 104-year-old drought.
“Celebrating the sub-state championship was good but I’m looking forward to more,” said Solomon sophomore Spencer Coup.
Looking ahead, Solomon’s two top scorers return next year, so there’s realistic hope that the next playoff opportunity will come long before another century passes.
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