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Lady Spartans dissect Indee, 81-22

Defensive-minded Lady Spartans end season on high
Claire LaDage shoots a three-pointer during the first half of Solon's 55-43 victory over the Marion Indians on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at home.

INDEPENDENCE– The Lady Spartans put an exclamation point on the 2020 portion of this season’s varsity basketball campaign with an 81-22 win over the Independence Mustangs on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
It was the Lady Spartans’ fifth win in a row, providing a 6-2 season record and 6-1 conference record, perching Solon atop the WaMaC East standings followed by Marion (3-4, 3-2), Beckman Catholic (3-5, 3-4), West Delaware (2-5, 1-4), Maquoketa (2-7, 1-5) and Mount Vernon (0-5, 0-5).
From the opening tip off, the Lady Spartans kept the throttle buried, leaping out to a 27-6 lead by the end of the first quarter, maintaining the pace for a halftime lead of 49-12, taming the Mustangs 19-2 in the third for a 68-14 lead, and finishing the game, 81-22.
The Lady Spartans had a 63.6 percent field goal percentage, sinking 33 of 59 shots and nine of 27 three-point attempts while shooting six of 10 from the free throw line. They tore down 23 defensive rebounds and seven offensive rebounds while racking up 23 assists, 27 steals and a blocked shot. Solon committed only nine turnovers and 11 fouls.
Independence was only able to sink eight of 29 attempted field goals, 27.6 percent, and attempted only one unsuccessful three-pointer. The Mustangs shot 46.2 percent from the free throw line, six of 13, and recorded 21 rebounds, six offensive and 15 defensive, six assists and four steals while committing 32 turnovers and seven fouls. Mustang freshman Havanna Griffith led the team offensively scoring six points and defensively sophomore Annie Johnson recorded 11 of the Independence rebounds, two offensive and nine defensive.
All of the Lady Spartans put points on the board.
“It’s always good to get players in the game,” Head Coach Jamie Smith commented. “All of these kids have worked hard in practice, so they have earned the minutes they get.”
Leading all scorers for the evening was Callie Levin with 15 points, closely followed by Ava Stebral with 14 points; Hailey Miller with 10 points; MaKinley ‘Mak’ Levin with nine; Kaia Holtkamp, Claire LaDage and Alex Locke with eight points apiece; Elly Holubar with four points; Jada Buffington and Hilary Wilson with two points apiece; and Sophie Stahle with one point.
Holubar led Solon with nine rebounds, two offensive and seven defensive, followed by Buffington, Holtkamp and Wilson with four total rebounds apiece. LaDage and Callie Levin pulled down three total rebounds apiece while Mak Levin grabbed two and Locke grabbed one.
Callie Levin recorded six assists and seven steals for the Lady Spartans, Holtkamp was credited with five assists and two steals, LaDage had three assists and seven steals, Miller had three assists, Wilson had two assists and three steals, Holubar and Mak Levin recorded one assist and two steals apiece and Stebral and Stahle had one assist and one steal apiece. Buffington stole the ball twice and blocked a shot.
“We can throw everyone in the ‘outstanding performance list,’” Coach Smith praised. “Ava Stebral was great off the bench hitting four threes. Callie was great on defense. Like I said, everyone contributed tonight.”
Coach Smith was conservative with his comments on the excitement of the Lady Spartans during the return bus trip.
“The ride home is always nice after a win,” he said.
With no games before the first of the year, the Lady Spartans close the door on the 2020 portion of the season atop the WaMaC East.
“I think the break is good,” Coach Smith reflected. “The girls have been going hard for the past two months, so it comes at a good time.”
After the first of the year, however, Solon’s schedule heats up, pending any COVID-related alterations, as they travel to West Delaware on Jan. 5 for a 6 p.m. tip off, then host Beckman Catholic on Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. Xavier visits Solon on Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m., followed by Maquoketa on Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. Road trips follow for the next two games, first to Mount Vernon on Jan. 15 for a 7:30 p.m. game and then to Marion Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. A home stretch follows as the Lady Spartans host West Delaware Jan. 22 at 6 p.m., Regina Jan. 23 at 3:30 p.m., and Benton Community Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
It is Rivalry Weekend at Maquoketa Valley High School on Jan. 30 as Solon travels to meet West Liberty at 9:15 a.m. The Lady Spartans host Beckman Catholic Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. and visit Maquoketa Feb. 5 at 6 p.m., before the final regular season game Feb. 9 at home against Mount Vernon at 7:30 p.m.
Coach Smith did not reveal a change to the Lady Spartans’ preparation following the break for the holidays.
“Just keep doing what we do,” he outlined. “Keep guarding on defense and keep pushing the ball ahead on offense.”
“We are process-driven and take a work-like approach at practice,” he specified. “Get better daily and it will all sort itself out.”
Coach Smith was reluctant to put the moniker of a goal for any of the upcoming scheduled games.
“I know this is redundant but we will stay focused on improving,” Coach Smith stated. “Every opponent is of concern for us but we will keep focusing on Solon.”
Statistics for article courtesy of Ia.VarsityBound.com Dec. 26.