Van Horn ready for Ruskin for first playoff game in 26 years

Bill Althaus
The Examiner
Van Horn senior guard Jaden Monday (11) drives the ball down court against William Chrisman's Anthony Watkins in Friday's Class 5 District 14 championship game. Monday scored 25 points to help lead the Falcons to a 61-52 win over the Bears and their first district title since 1995.

Van Horn boys basketball coach Max Sollars says his team is razor focused and ready for its first state playoff game in 26 years.

The Falcons are set to travel to Ruskin High School Tuesday for a Class 5 sectional playoff.

“We won district, which was big, because we lost the district championship game last year,” senior guard Jaden Monday said. “We were so disappointed and humbled last year, and we’re taking things one day at a time until we play Tuesday.”

Following Friday’s 61-52 Class 5 District 14 championship victory over crosstown rival William Chrisman, the Falcons had two practices over the weekend and a light workout Monday before facing the Ruskin Eagles Tuesday.

More:Falcons stave off rival Chrisman for first playoff berth since 1995

“This is like a dream come true, which is unusual to say during a pandemic season,” added Monday, who is averaging 22.4 points per game. “But as a senior, I don’t want to play my last game unless it’s the state championship game.

“I’m so proud of all we’ve accomplished and we’ve worked so hard all season. We’re looking forward to Tuesday as a team.”

Sollars believes his 17-9 Falcons are ready for 12-13 Ruskin in the program's first boys basketball state playoff appearance since 1995.

“We’re all excited, I’m getting a good vibe from the team, but we know we have to do the key things that have gotten us to this point of the season – rebound and play defense – to have success against Ruskin,” said Sollars, whose team is also led by guards Jeremy Paige (12.4 ppg, 4 assists and 4 steals per game) and Brycen Dean (12.6 ppg).

“We’ve watched film on Ruskin and know they are physical and have a lot of size, but I like our guards and our quickness. It should be a great game.”

Ruskin features a balanced attack led by Jalen Dunn (9 ppg), Joshua Williams (9 ppg) and DeAngelo Woods (8 ppg).