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Lady Spartans let two get away

Solon girls fall to Anamosa, 55-36, and Beckman, 57-43
Solon’s Erin Kerkhoff brings the ball up the court on Friday, Dec. 15, at home during the Lady Spartans’ 57-43 loss to the Beckman Catholic Trailblazers from Dyersville. (photo by Jeff Hess)

SOLON– Solon’s girls dropped to 2-7 last week with losses to Anamosa and Dyersville Beckman.
The Lady Spartans traveled to Anamosa on Tuesday, Dec. 12, and came out flat, losing 55-36. It was the return to play of Solon junior Taylor Ryan.
Solon kept pace with the Raiders in the first quarter, trailing 15-12, but the Blue Raiders silenced the Lady Spartans in the second period, outscoring them 14-1, for a 29-13 halftime score.
Solon outscored Anamosa 16-14 in the third, but the Raiders stretched the lead in the fourth again outscoring Solon, 12-7, sending the Spartans into their Friday night game, sitting at 2-6 for the season, to face the Beckman Trailblazers, from Dyersville, on Friday, Dec. 15.
Gabby Marty topped the scorers for Solon at Anamosa with 10 points, three assists, three rebounds and two steals. Jenna LaDage and Abby Smith scored eight points apiece; Smith added two assists, two rebounds and three steals while LaDage added two rebounds and three steals. Brianna Smith and Erin Kerkhoff each added five points; Kerkhoff with an assist and five rebounds and Smith with an assist, four rebounds and two steals. Ryan in her debut accumulated an assist and two steals. Haley Melchert added four rebounds. The Lady Spartans were once again foiled by amassing 23 turnovers. Anamosa’s senior Sydney Volkenant had 17 points, senior Sophia Wilt had 15 points and junior Taylor Zumbach scored 13.
The Solon girls returned to their home court Friday, Dec. 15, to host the Beckman Trailblazers from Dyersville and took a beating in the second half to fall, 57-43.
The Lady Spartans leaped out to an early 3-0 lead, 3-0 on a 3-pointer deposited by Brianna Smith with a little over six minutes remaining in the first. Marty pushed the Spartans out to a 5-0 lead with a little over 5:30 left in the quarter.
Beckman responded with four unanswered points and a steal to tie the game.
The Blazers moved ahead with a little over 2:30 remaining and Kerkhoff tied it at eight with two free throws with about two-minutes remaining in the quarter.
A layup by LaDage, two free throws by Kerkhoff after drawing a foul driving to the basket and a 3-pointer from LaDage, gave Solon a 15-10 lead at the end of the first.
The Trailblazers closed to within one several times in the second period, but an assist from Ryan to Abby Smith for a layup had Solon leading, 29-24, with 26.6 left in the half.
With a free throw from Ryan and a score by the Blazers, the horn ended the half with the Lady Spartans ahead, 30-26.
“The first half the girls did a great job of bringing energy, crashing both the offensive and defensive boards, and talking on defense,” Coach Lisa Bishop said.
A 15-2 rally, and seven scoreless minutes for the Lady Spartans, put Beckman up, 41-32, at the end of the third. Solon was outscored by Beckman in the fourth quarter, 16-9, to fall 57-43 at home.
“We came out the second half very flat from an energy perspective,” Bishop commented.
Brianna Smith led Solon scoring with 11 points, two assists, seven rebounds and three steals. LaDage added 10 points with a rebound and a steal; Kerkhoff had six points with an assist, three rebounds and three steals; Abby Smith contributed five points and pulled down three rebounds; Marty faced with double- and triple-teams, recorded only four points but battled for nine rebounds and a steal; Sara Ruzicka added three points; and Ryan scored one point with an assist, a rebound and seven steals. Saige Hauer had one assist and three rebounds, Melchert and Vanessa Milliman were credited with an assist apiece.
Turnovers haunted the Lady Spartans once again, with 32.
Coach Bishop harkened back to the first half of the game in her comments. “We just need to battle, to play four quarters that way.”
The loss to the Trailblazers drops the Lady Spartans to 2-7 for the season with their final game of 2017 to take place in Manchester on Tuesday, Dec. 19, against West Delaware.
“Hope to end the 2017 games on a positive note- knowing we are getting better and the girls having the confidence in themselves that us coaches have in them is a priority to build on this week,” Bishop said.
The Lady Spartans open 2018 on Thursday, Jan. 4, on the road facing Mount Pleasant and stay on the road against Benton Community Friday, Jan. 5, in Van Horne. Solon’s first home game for 2018 is Tuesday, Jan. 9, when it hosts Maquoketa. The home stand continues as Mount Vernon visits Friday, Jan. 12. Central DeWitt visits Tuesday, Jan. 16, before the Lady Spartans load the bus to Epworth on Friday, Jan. 19, to visit Western Dubuque. All games have a 7:30 p.m. varsity tip off, and are preceded by a 6 p.m. junior varsity game.