By TYLER HENRY
Salina Post contributor
After finishing the 2019-20 season just 8-13, the Solomon Gorillas boys basketball team is off to a roaring start to the new year at 8-3.
Solomon has outscored their opponents by an average of 15 points per game this season and has continued to improve as the year has progressed.
“It took us a little time to find our groove, we had a few kids ineligible early but we have everyone now and I feel like there aren’t many teams that can play with us athletically,” Solomon head coach AJ Johnson said.
The Gorillas have been led by sophomore guard Makaen Hastings, who has averaged over 18 points per game in just his second season.
“He’s our heart and soul as well as our leading scorer on offense,” Johnson said. “He’s just starting to find himself as a main scorer and he’s a great go to player.”
Solomon has also picked up a boost from a pair of juniors in Caden Acosta and Dylan Hines, who add consistent double digit scoring and so much more on defense.
One of the big surprises for the Gorillas this season has been the emergence of freshman Spencer Coup, who has added even more youth and energy to an already talented young core.
While things have gone well for Solomon this season, there’s always room for improvement, as Coach Johnson noted.
“I think we need to work on being able to stretch out our offensive possessions,” he said. “A lot of times we’re making two passes and then scoring, but when we play good teams like Little River we need to move the ball more.”
Solomon will have a good test coming up with a stretch of games featuring 10-3 Wichita Classical, 10-2 Little River and 7-3 Peabody-Burns, a run of games that could be helpful in preparing the young Gorillas for sub-state.
“With where we are in 1A sub states I think we have a great shot to get to the state tournament,” Johnson said. “Our matchups will be tough but we’re going to try our best to make it hard for teams like Canton-Galva and Little River.
Solomon will be back in action on Friday when they host the 4-5 Canton-Galva Eagles.