WADSWORTH: The top team in the Associated Press Division I girls basketball state poll ran into an unranked team ready to prove its worth Wednesday night.
Unranked and visiting Solon scored on eight of its opening nine possessions to build a lead it maintained on its way to defeating No. 1 Wadsworth 55-47.
“They came out on fire,” Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth said. “A lot of times coaches talk about being ready to play. I think this was the case with them being ready to play, knocking down perimeter shots and getting to the rim.
“They have very skilled players. On the other side of that, I thought our kids did a good job. They could have packed it in at 22-11 [after one quarter], but they battled back.”
Wadsworth (19-1) trailed for a majority of the game following the quick start by Solon (17-3). Freshman Dee Bekelja led the Comets with 15 points and three steals.
“We play one of the toughest schedules in the state and I don’t think it gets recognized very much, but it shows in a game like this that when it comes down to crunch time our kids are ready for it with the schedule we play,” Solon coach Trish Kruse said. “Our kids bought in over the summer, they believed in each other, had fun and worked very hard.”
Solon, which has two wins apiece over Stow and Mentor, and a win apiece over Perrysburg and Walsh Jesuit this season, closed the first quarter on a 20-6 run. The Comets led 32-28 at halftime and 43-36 after three quarters.
Solon senior Kristen Confroy, a Maryland recruit, finished with 14 points, six rebounds and three steals. Junior Jordan Bekelja contributed 14 points and three steals.
Comets senior Alexis Gray, a Cincinnati track and field recruit, totaled 10 points, four assists and three rebounds.
Confroy, Gray and the Bekelja sisters keyed Solon’s early surge.
“That was huge,” Kruse said. “Kristen hit a few 3s, Dee hit one and Jordan hit one too. We just did a really good job of sharing the basketball, kicking it out, making that extra pass and the kids knocked the shots. Our defense also did a really good job.”
Senior Peyton Booth paced Wadsworth with 13 points, five steals, four rebounds and four assists. Senior Taylor Wyatt scored 10 points, and sophomore Jodi Johnson scored nine points.
“This is a big win,” Confroy said. “They are not only ranked No. 1 in the area, but also in the state, and for some reason we are not getting any love in the state. Hopefully we will get ranked, but no matter what, we do our work on the court. Who cares what we get ranked? It is what you do in the postseason.”
Solon’s losses are to defending Division I state champion Kettering Fairmont, Centerville and St. Vincent-St. Mary. Kruse and Booth each said their teams will benefit from this game.
“That is a state level team,” Booth said. “We talked about how fortunate we were to play a state level team at this point [in the season]. If you want to get to state, which is what the kids want to do obviously, those are the games you have to win. I don’t know why they are not ranked.”
Jordan Bekelja said not being ranked motivated Solon for the game, “but we know that the rankings aren’t going to get us into the regional or the state where we want to go to. We know it is not everything, but we definitely want to be ranked up there with the top teams we play.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.