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Lady Spartans come close against ranked Bobcats

Solon makes big leap in 43-40 loss
Josie Durr battles for a loose ball on the court with West Dubuque’s Megan Maahs during Solon’s 49-33 loss to the Bobcats on Friday, Dec. 11. (photo by Jeff Hess)

DeWITT– Solon traveled east on Highway 30, through the lights of DeWitt, into the darkness on the edge of town to meet the Central High Sabers on Tuesday, Dec. 8. It was a battle to the final seconds with Solon on the short side, 43-40, but the crowd in attendance and the players could clearly see the light.
It was a fast-paced, defensive game with quick transitions for both teams as the Sabers and Spartans battled on the hardwood. The Sabers jumped out early, taking the lead on two 3-pointers with about 6:37 left in the first period. Solon joined them on the scoreboard with two at the 6:16 remaining mark, and so the defensive marathon began. The back-and-forth first period ended with the Sabers leading, 9-7.
The second period saw the same rapid exchange, with Solon outscoring the Sabers, 13-8.
With around a minute remaining in the second period, Solon’s Sydney Lawson drove down the court pulled up just outside the arc and planted a solid 3-pointer that brought Solon fans in attendance to their feet and pushed the Spartans ahead, 18-17. Solon entered the locker room leading, 20-17, at the half, after putting up another basket, followed by Nichole Oberthien tying up a ball blocked by Hannah Bluder and Josie Durr on a shot by the Sabers’ Sydney Small.
When asked what the topic of discussion was in the locker room at the half, Coach Lisa Bishop responded, “Our keys of the game were still written up on the white board. We revisited them and really emphasized only eight (turnovers in) the first half, which was a big improvement from previous games.” 
The Sabers were forced to capitalize on outside shooting in the third period to reclaim the lead, 30-26.
Solon made a hard run in the fourth period at the win, see-sawing scores with the Sabers until a little more than 40 seconds remained in the game with Solon leading, 39-37. The defensive contest started anew. Following several time-outs, a 3-pointer by the Sabers, and a free-throw by Bluder, the game was knotted at 40-all with 9.6 seconds remaining in the game.
The Sabers had possession.
“I told them to take a deep breath, be aware of the situation, and to take care of the basketball,” Bishop said when asked what she told the girls during the time-outs in the final exchange.
In marked response to Lawson’s 3-pointer, invigorating the Spartans in the second period of play, the Central Clinton Sabers’ Amanda Brainerd sank a 3-pointer, stealing the win from the Lady Spartans, with a little over a second left in the game.
To the applause of the Spartan fans in attendance, a lot of Solon Pride showed on the court as the Lady Spartans strode to the locker room on the heels of the horn.
“I walked into the locker room pretty heartbroken for the girls, but just told them how proud I was for their effort, attention to detail, valuing the basketball and playing good defense,” Bishop said. “That was a night that will not be measured by the scoreboard. I know, and they know, they took some BIG steps forward that night.”
Bluder and Lawson led the scoring for the Spartans, each with 12 points. Bluder had one assist and three rebounds while Lawson had two rebounds. Dakota Doyle and Oberthien each scored six points. Doyle had one assist, two steals and seven rebounds while Oberthien had three assists, two rebounds and two steals. Alli Prybil scored four points and had a steal.

Bobcats bite Lady Spartans, 49-33
Solon 2-4 on the season with loss to Western Dubuque
By Jeff Hess
Solon Economist
SOLON– The Lady Spartans seemed just a step off stride in their loss to the Western Dubuque Bobcats, 49-33, on Friday, Dec. 11, at home. The WaMaC rival Bobcats played a physical game beneath the boards and the Lady Spartans held their own for over three periods of play.
The Lady Spartans scored first a little over a minute-and-a-half into the game and the Bobcats tied it back up about 15 seconds later. With five minutes remaining in the first, Western Dubuque took a 3-2 lead. The Bobcats pushed out to a four-point lead at the end of the first period, leading 11-7.
The Bobcats expanded the lead to eight points at one time during the second period until Solon reeled them back in, trailing 19-17 at the half.
Things got physical in the third and fourth period as the women battled beneath the net. Several of the Solon players received complimentary rides to the court during hard play, including Nichole Oberthien, Brianna Smith, Hannah Bluder and Alli Prybil, who was walked from the floor by the coach and trainer following a physical scramble for a loose ball that saw her arm flexed back against the grain.
Solon fell to a five-point deficit through the third period recovering only slightly to end the period down, 27-23.
The fourth period saw the Bobcats get out as far as a six-point lead. Then Solon got to within three, 34-31, on a Josie Durr 3-pointer with 1:50 remaining in the game. But as the time quickly waned, Solon had to resort to fouling in effort to try and get possession of the ball. Western Dubuque was good from the line and won, 49-33.
When asked about the physical nature of the game, Coach Bishop said, “Yes, it was a physical game. Dakota (Doyle) especially played extremely hard. She played a lot of minutes against a (Division I) basketball player, got knocked down, got back up, and played fearlessly. She is a tough young lady and I’m very proud of her effort she gives each and every day, but especially against such a strong team like Western Dubuque.”
Doyle scored three points, with seven rebounds and three steals.
“I was also excited for Josie (Durr) to have such a great game defensively, but also she got back in the offensive game, shooting over 50 percent from the field with excellent shot selection,” Bishop added.
Durr led all shooters for Solon, bucketing 15 points, going 6-11 (54 percent) with two assists, three rebounds, and eight steals.
Bluder and Smith each had five points. Bluder had a block and a steal and Smith had three rebounds and a steal. Bryce Hinkel scored three points and a rebound. Sydney Lawson added two points with an assist, a rebound and a steal.
“Staying in the game with the fifth-ranked team in Class 4A takes a lot of guts and passion, and I’m excited for the direction the girls are headed. But now it’s time to get a couple (wins) this week. I think this past week we have improved so much defensively,” Bishop said, looking ahead at the schedule. “Now we need to spend a little more time on the offensive side of things. We don’t seem to be in our rhythm yet, which is hard when we are starting from square one,” Bishop said. “We need to go back to some fundamentals. Working to get open, (set and use) screens, jump-stopping and making our free throws in order to be more of an offensive threat. We’ll get there. We all need patience and a willingness to get better every day! I think this team has it in them!”
Solon traveled to play Anamosa, sitting at 2-5 on the season (based upon Dec. 11 stats), on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The Lady Spartans finish play before the holiday break on Friday, Dec. 18, with another home WaMaC game with varsity action starting at 7:30 p.m. against Dyersville Beckman, who sits at 0-5 on the season (based upon stats provided thru Dec. 11).