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The difference a day can make

Lady Spartans go 1-1 in back-to-back games
Coach Wheeler and Coach Sovers watch from the bench as Hannah Bluder drives past Maquoketa’s Brie Bennis Friday, Feb. 5, in Maquoketa. (photo by Jeff Hess)

MANCHESTER– The Lady Spartans hit the road to Manchester late in the week to meet the West Delaware Hawks on Thursday, Feb. 4– a make-up of the first match-up of the season which was postponed from early January.
The change in the game, or the change in start time to 6 p.m., or the weather change or something changed and threw Solon’s play for a loop, and they fell uncharacteristically to the Hawks, 49-29.
Although the Lady Spartans scored first, West Delaware, behind solid shooting from outside the arc, got out to a 14-6 lead with 8.5 seconds remaining in the first period. Nicole Oberthien closed out the first period with a pull-up jump shot for two-points just as the buzzer sounded, cutting West Delaware’s lead to 14-8.
In the second quarter, West Delaware extended its lead, punctuating it with its own buzzer-beating two-point shot by the Hawk’s Haley Lyness, and held Solon to nine points of offense. The period ended with Solon trailing, 26-17.
Solon was held to only 12 points in the second half of play, while the Hawks continued to extend their lead, taking the win, 49-29.
The Lady Spartans were unable to find offensive success, shooting 29 percent (8-28) inside and 17 percent (3-18) from outside the arc.
Varsity Statistics
Scoring: Bluder (10), Nicol (5), Oberthien (4), Ryan (4), Lawson (2), Doyle (2), Durr (2)
Rebounding: Doyle (10), Durr (7), Bluder (3), Lawson (3), Hinkel (3), Oberthien (3), Stebral (1)
Assists: Lawson (2), Durr (1)
Steals: Durr (2), Ryan (2), Doyle (1), Lawson (1), Hinkel (1)
In the junior varsity (JV) exhibition match-up, the Lady Spartans’ squad did not fair well, either. At the end of the first period they trailed the Hawks, 15-8, and went to the locker room at the half behind, 27-15. At the end of three quarters, they made little headway, 32-23. Solon lost to West Delaware’s JV squad, 50-36.
JV Statistics
Scoring: B. Smith (10), Nicol (8), Marty (8), Ryan (4), Prybil (2), Miller (2), Kerkhoff (2).
Rebounds: Nicol (5), Stebral (4), Marty (4), A. Smith (4), Devalk (3), Prybil (2), B. Smith (2), Ryan (2), Hauer (1), M. Miller (1).
Assists: B. Smith (2).
Steals: Nicol (3), Stebral (2), B. Smith (2), Ryan (2), Prybil (1), Devalk (1), A. Smith (1), Hauer (1).

46 points the magic number against Maquoketa
MAQUOKETA– Coach Bishop was up early on Saturday, Feb. 6, penning an email to the team, coaches and parents. After two games in as many days, and hundreds of miles of travel, the stars may have aligned and a message may have been sent.
“GREAT SWEEP last night from all levels! We loved the passion, enthusiasm, and the TEAM EFFORT! Fresh team scored 46 points, JV team scored 46 points, Varsity team scored 46 points, Coincidence??? #ONETEAM,” was the message following the outline of the teams’ practice plans for the weekend.
The anomaly was the topic of discussion following Solon’s 46-39 win over the Maquoketa Cardinals.
In the junior varsity (JV) game, the Lady Spartans trailed the Cardinals, 19-11, with about five minutes remaining in the second period, and rallied to within two, 22-20, with 58 seconds remaining. Solon took the lead on a 3-point shot by Sam Miller with 13 seconds remaining in the period. Following a rebound by Miller and a quick out pass, Alli Prybil sent the ball down the court– taped thumb and all– to Brianna Smith, who put the ball in at the horn with a Cheshire smile. The Lady Spartans bounded to the locker room with momentum, leading the Cardinals, 25-22.
Solon’s JV team started the third period with 10- unanswered points in four minutes of play and it was clear the girls were clicking. With the smiles and camaraderie on the bench and court, it showed they were having fun. At the end of the third, the JV squad held the Cardinals to only three points in the quarter and led, 38-25.
Although Maquoketa’s JV squad made a run toward the end of the game, closing to within seven, 44-37, with 1:41 remaining in the fourth, Solon scored, hitting the magic number 46, with 21 seconds left on the clock. Solon won 46-37, leaving the varsity squad to make a three of a kind win streak.
Brianna Smith led the JV scorers with 15 points, followed by Taylor Ryan (7), Sophie Nicol (6), Sam Miller (5), Gabby Marty (3), Alli Prybil (2) and Abby Smith (2). Brianna Smith reeled in four rebounds and a steal, Ryan grabbed a rebound and a steal, Nicol pulled down a rebound with a steal and an assist, Sam Miller snatched six rebounds with two assists, Marty corralled three rebounds and a steal, Prybil muscled a rebound with three steals, and Abby Smith had four rebounds. Julia DeValk and Hannah Kramer contributed three and two rebounds respectively.
The varsity Lady Spartans fought a defensive battle with the Cardinals in the first period, able to squeak out only a 7-5 lead with three minutes remaining. The Spartans exchanged trips up and down the court the remainder of the first period to end up tied, 7-7.
A two-point jumper by Sydney Lawson with six minutes remaining in the half pushed Solon out to a 9-7 lead. Maquoketa wasn’t able to tie it back up at nine until a little over 3:30 remained in the half. Maquoketa got out to a brief lead, 13-11, but the Lady Spartans tied it back up at 13-all with about 1:20 remaining in the half. Maquoketa grabbed the lead with 34.7 remaining in the half, only to have Solon reclaim the lead, 16-15, on a trey by Dakota Doyle. Maquoketa did not answer.
The third period started with Solon building a lead, 25-19, before Maquoketa would resurge to within one of Solon, 25-24, with 1:14 remaining in the third. Josie Durr closed out the third period with a three-pointer to make the score 30-24.
Solon extended its lead to 37-24 with a little over 5:50 remaining in the game before Maquoketa could answer in the fourth. Solon appeared to have the game well in hand, leading 43-29 with a little over 3:40 remaining. Maquoketa closed to within 10 points, 44-34, with a little over two minutes left on the clock. Solon took to clock management and closed out with free throw shooting to take the win, 46-39, sealing the 46-point trifecta.
Doyle led all of Solon’s scorers with 16 points, followed by Hannah Bluder with 10, Lawson and Oberthien with six apiece, Durr with five, and Taylor Ryan with three.
Oberthien pulled down eight rebounds with three assists and two steals, Durr snatched seven rebounds with four assists and four steals, Doyle grabbed five rebounds with two assists and three steals, Brianna Smith gathered four rebounds with an assist, Hannah Bluder nabbed three rebounds with an assist and a steal, and Bryce Hinkel collared two rebounds.
Solon traveled to Mount Vernon on Monday, Feb. 8, to meet their Highway 1 rivals the Mustangs who were 11-8 on the season. On Thursday, Feb. 11, Solon meets West Delaware for Senior Night on their home court to end the regular season, hoping to avenge Thursday’s loss. The Monday and Thursday regular season games feature a freshman game at 4:30 p.m., a JV contest at 6 p.m., and a varsity competition at 7:30 p.m.
The Lady Spartans meet Anamosa on their home court in regional quarterfinal play Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. Solon defeated Anamosa twice during the regular season, 42-32 on Tuesday, Dec. 15, and 40-34 on Tuesday, Jan. 26.