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Levin scores 22, Holubar pulls down 21 rebounds in 76-45 victory

Holubar ties school record in win over West Delaware
Solon sophomore Elly Holubar pursues a ball out of the scrum beneath the basket during third quarter play of the Lady Spartans' 76-45 victory over the West Delaware Hawks, at Solon High School, on Friday, Feb. 7.

SOLON– The Lady Spartans varsity basketball team posted its best offensive performance to date and its second 70-point game in a week by defeating the West Delaware Hawks, 76-45, on Friday, Feb. 7, after a four-point squeaker a little less than a month ago.
Every Lady Spartan put points on the board for the team. It was the highest point total for the team since Head Coach Jamie Smith took the helm.
Sophomore Elly Holubar also turned in a memorable performance against the Hawks, pulling down 12 offensive and nine defensive rebounds, tying a school record at 21 total.
“Elly was phenomenal on the boards,” Coach Smith praised. “She tied a 23-year-old school record held by Katie Falco (Miller) at 21. Elly is the best rebounder I have ever coached, she has a knack for just getting to the ball. And she does this at 5-7.”
The West Delaware Hawks entered the affair fresh off a 25-24 win over Mount Vernon and Solon was fresh off a 71-26 thrashing of South Tama which ended a four-game slide.
Solon jumped out to a 10-0 lead less than half way through the first quarter courtesy of threes by Jenna LaDage and Kaia Holtkamp and scores by MaKinley “Mak” Levin and Elly Holubar. By the end of the first, Solon led, 16-3, courtesy of solid defense and working the ball offensively.
Less than 1:15 into the second quarter, Ava Stebral made a three-pointer off a Jenna LaDage assist to start the Lady Spartans’ scoring. Solon stepped up the tempo in transition and kept pressure on West Delaware. Levin drove up the court in the final ticks of the half to put in a layup, crashing to the floor with a Hawk defender, for a 35-15 halftime score.
Holtkamp kicked off the scoring in the third quarter, pushing the Solon score out to 37-15 and following the ensuing Hawk possession took it coast-to-coast for a 39-15 lead. The quarter culminated in a three-point shot by Levin, courtesy of a Jenna LaDage assist, for a 56-27 lead entering the deciding quarter.
The Hawks staged a charge in the first couple minutes of the fourth quarter and Coach Smith called a timeout with a 57-32 lead after an errant pass. Levin activated the continuous clock with about 4:30 remaining in the game, and about two minutes later, senior Aira Foster dropped a three to breach the 70-point barrier giving Solon a 71-39 lead. With approximately 1:15 remaining in the game Coach Smith began directing traffic vocally from the sidelines, communicating with his Lady Spartans. Foster scored the Lady Spartans’ final two points on a pair of free throws to give Solon the 76-45 victory over West Delaware.
Solon went 26-52 (50 percent) from the field, dropping 11-26 from beyond the three-point line (42.3 percent) and shot 13-18 from the free throw line (72.2 percent). The Lady Spartans pulled down 39 total rebounds, 18 offensive and 21 defensive, with 21 courtesy of Holubar. The team recorded 17 assists, 11 steals, two blocked shots and limited themselves to 15 turnovers.
Coach Smith praised the team performance.
“Mak (Levin) had a great night shooting, making five threes,” he stated. “Jada (Buffington) and Jenna (LaDage) dished out six assists apiece. Overall another great team performance.”
Coach Smith debunked the notion the win signaled the team had turned a corner.
“Not for sure if we have turned the corner, but I am positive every player in our program are better players,” he assessed. “And because of this, we are better as a team.”
Coach Smith claimed the team’s preparation prior to the rematch with West Delaware remained unchanged.
“We shot the ball a lot better and made a school record 11 threes,” he added. “When we shoot it well, we are pretty good.”
Coach Smith attributed the team win to preparation, offensively and defensively.
“Like I have mentioned, when we move the ball and get open looks, we are going to be in at the end,” he proclaimed. “I felt that we kept the pressure offensively at a high level, moved and passed the ball well which led to open looks. Defensively for most of the game we made things hard for them.”
The Lady Spartans traveled to Maquoketa to challenge the Cardinals on Tuesday, Feb. 11, for the final regular season game.
The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union 2020 Regional Basketball Pairings were released Wednesday, Feb. 5, matching the Solon Lady Spartans with the Vinton-Shellsburg Vikettes at Solon High School on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 5 p.m. in the first-round pairings of Class 3A, Region 5. The winner of the contest will face either Monticello or Mount Vernon at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Monticello High School. The second-round game will be played at Monticello on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. The winner of the Feb. 19 advances to the regional championship Saturday, Feb. 22, at 4 p.m. at Center Point-Urbana High School.
Solon and Vinton-Shellsburg match up very well on paper.
The Lady Spartans shot 331-907 (34.3 percent) from the field compared to the Vikettes’ 347-952 (36.4 percent). Solon sank 118-444 three-point attempts (26.6 percent) versus Vinton’s 60-193 (31 percent). The Lady Spartans were 147-271 (54.2 percent) shooting free throws while the Vikettes dropped 205-368 (55.7 percent). The two teams are dead even, averaging 29.6 rebounds per game. Solon takes the advantage in assists averaging 10 to Vinton-Shellsburg’s 6.6. The Vikettes average 11.1 steals to Solon’s 9.7; 2.3 blocks per game to Solon’s 2.1; and 14.7 turnovers to Solon’s 15.1 per game.
Coach Smith’s focus remains unerring even with the playoffs looming; one game at a time.
“We still have Maquoketa on Tuesday,” he said. “Our focus is on them the next two days of practice. Vinton will be a tough match up. We feel really good that we earned a home game in the first round. I think it is two evenly-matched teams, so it should be an exciting game.”
Statistics provided for the article courtesy of Quikstatsiowa.com and the Varsity Bound- Iowa High School Sports app.

Solon Lady Spartans, 76, West Delaware Hawks, 45, statistics courtesy of Quikstatsiowa.com:
Scoring– Levin 22, Holtkamp 14, Holubar 13, J. LaDage 8, Foster 6, Stebral 6, C. LaDage 5, Buffington 2.
3-pointers– Levin 5, Holtkamp 2, Stebral 2, Foster 1, C. LaDage 1.
Rebounds– Holubar 21, Buffington 4, Holtkamp 3, J. LaDage 3, Levin 3, C. LaDage 2, Stebral 1, 2 uncredited.
Assists– J. LaDage 6, Buffington 6, Stebral 2, Levin 1, Holtkamp 1, Holubar 1.
Steals– Levin 3, J. LaDage 2, Holtkamp 2, Stebral 1, Foster 1, Buffington 1, Holubar 1.
Blocks– Levin 1, Holubar 1.