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Lady Spartans continue receiving accolades

Holtkamp, Levin, LaDage and Holubar receive additional recognition

SOLON– It may be a few weeks divorced from the Lady Spartans’ exit from the postseason, but the recognition of the Lady Spartans’ performance continues.
The WaMaC Conference East Division released its selection of conference players and several Lady Spartans received recognition as part of their 2019-2020 campaign which ended with a 9-13 overall record, 5-7 in the WaMaC East.
Sophomore Kaia Holtkamp was selected for the 2019-2020 WaMaC East All-Conference Girls Basketball First Team.
Holtkamp started 21 and played in all 22 games for Solon, ending the season with a field goal percentage of 36.2 percent (97-268), sinking 27 percent from beyond the arc (27-100) and sank 49 percent of her free throws (25-51) to average 11.2 points per game. She led the team in scoring. Holtkamp was second on the team in assists with 48, she stole the ball 26 times from Solon’s opponents and blocked three shots. She recorded 86 total rebounds during the season, 34 offensive and 52 defensive, averaging 3.9 per game.
Holtkamp was in good company. Central DeWitt sophomores Taylor Veach and Allison Meadows, Marion senior Kayba Laube and junior Riley Wright and Maquoketa’s Nell Sybesma were all unanimous selections. Marion junior Ella Van Weelden rounded out the First Team selections with Holtkamp.
“Kaia is coming into her own,” Head Coach Jamie Smith commented. “She is one of the tougher players to guard in the WaMaC because she can get to the basket and shoot it. We are looking for big things from her in the future. Very deserving First Team choice.”
Sophomore MaKinley “Mak” Levin received 2019-2020 WaMaC East All-Conference Girls Basketball Second Team selection.
Beckman junior Kennedy Arens, Central DeWitt junior Talbot Kinney, Maquoketa senior Autumn Dykstra, Mount Vernon senior Summer Brand, Marion sophomore Sadie Stuchen and West Delaware sophomore Ella Koloc also found places among the Second Team selections.
Levin started in 17 games and played in 19 hampered by a concussion, but was second to Holtkamp in scoring for Solon, averaging 10.8 points per game. She dropped 64-182 field goals (35.2 percent), 29-96 from beyond the arc (30.2 percent) and 48-70 from the charity stripe (68.6 percent). She was credited for 23 assists, 26 steals and tied teammate Jenna LaDage to lead the team with 15 blocks. She was fourth on the team in total rebounds recording 72, 27 offensive and 45 defensive, and averaged 3.8 per game.
“Mak is on her way,” Coach Smith praised. “She is one of the better three-point shooters in the conference and is so much better at taking it to the basket. I think once she puts it all together she will be a really hard to guard.”
Also receiving WaMaC Recognition (formerly honorable mention) were Solon senior Jenna LaDage and sophomore Elly Holubar.
Beckman Catholic sophomore Lauren Osterhaus and senior Paige McDermott, Central Dewitt junior Grace Pierce and senior Lauren Cooper, Maquoketa seniors Abbi Strathman and Cari Pickup, Marion senior Jo Hartke and freshman Ella Bockenstedt, Mount Vernon sophomore McKenzie Rentschler and junior Natalie Welch, and West Delaware senior Allison Collier and junior Mia Peyton also were given WaMaC Recognition.
LaDage led the Lady Spartans with 61 assists and 50 steals during her senior season while tying teammate Levin to lead Solon with 15 blocked shots apiece. She started 21 of Solon’s 22 games, playing in all, and averaged 8.1 points per game. She sank 31.4 percent of her field goals (65-207), put in 25 percent of her three-point shots, and made 54.8 percent of her free throws (17-31). She was second on the team pulling down boards with 95 total rebounds for the season, 32 offensive and 63 defensive, averaging 4.3 per game.
“Jenna was a three-year varsity performer for us,” Coach Smith commended. “Her improvement from last year to this year was noticeable. Her leadership this year will be missed next year.”
Holubar, in just her sophomore season, led the Lady Spartans with 195 total rebounds, 103 offensive and 92 defensive, averaging 8.9 per game and pulled down 21 rebounds in a game against West Delaware to tie the Solon High School single-game rebounding record set in 1997 by Katie Miller. She started in 18 of Solon’s 22 games, playing in all. She recorded five assists and was second on the team with 29 total steals for the season and even found time to block a shot. She averaged 6.9 points per game by scoring on 53 of 124 field goals (42.7 percent), 10-32 three-pointers (31.3 percent) and dropped 35-71 from the free throw line (49.3 percent).
“Elly,” Coach Smith reflected, “Have said it many times before. I have never coached a better rebounder. She has a knack at just getting to the ball and she is very strong once she gets her hands on the ball.”
Coach Smith was quick to point out this season’s team broke a couple of other records. The Lady Spartans made 135 three-pointers in a season surpassing a 1998 record and Solon sank 11 three-point shots in a single game breaking the record set in 2006 of nine.
YourPrepSports.com also posted, “Looking Back at the Best of the Girls Basketball Season,” a girls basketball season recap article by Director of Content Ryan Murken. Among Murken’s selections for prep sports recognition were two Lady Spartans and a nod to Solon’s girls basketball coaching staff.
The YourPrepSports.com article mentioned the Solon Lady Spartans as part of its recognition of Coach of the Year. The article indicated numerous exceptional performances in its quest for a victor, specifically citing, “Once again, the Your Prep Sports area featured a number of excellent coaching jobs as three teams reached the state tournament and Solon tripled its win total from a year ago.”
Coach Smith acknowledged the shout-out, but once again transitioned to the source of success being a team effort.
“When coaches get mentioned it is because the players have put in the work,” he clarified. “We have a great staff that puts in a lot of time people don't see. Our assistants are totally invested in this program. Not just during the season but 365 days a year. I am so thankful that they are part of the program.”
The coaching staff at Solon includes Head Coach Jamie Smith, Assistant Coach Jim Smith, Assistant Coach Danielle Herdliska and Assistant Coach Mark Sovers.
YourPrepSports.com named Holtkamp its “Breakthrough Performer.” Crediting her shooting and rebounding average, as well as her assist average, as facets of the moniker, stating, “After pressed into immediate action last season, as a freshman, Holtkamp flashed her massive potential as a sophomore leading the Spartans with 11.2 points per game. Holtkamp added 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game while cutting her turnover total nearly in half.”
YourPrepSports.com again honored Holubar, this time recognizing her success this season, beyond just her rebounding performance. She was name “Newcomer of the Year.” The article went into depth noting, “As a sophomore Elly Holubar isn’t technically a newcomer but after scoring 19 points in just 10 games last season Holubar made quite a splash in her first full season of varsity action. The 5-foot-7 ball of energy led Solon with 8.9 rebounds per game and added 6.9 points per contest, while shooting a team-best 43 percent from the floor.”
All totaled, the Lady Spartans are developing a chemistry and a program of success in just the second year under Head Coach Smith’s staff.
“Our fan base grew the past year,” assessed Coach Smith. “I also think that the popularity of girls basketball has grown the last two years. We look forward to putting a competitive team with great kids on the floor next year and years after.”