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Lady Spartans outpace Stormin’ Pointers in season opener

Solon overwhelms CPU, 68-41
Solon freshman Callie Levin shoots for three over Center Point-Urbana sophomore Ryanne Hansen during her debut in the Lady Spartans' 68-41 season opener victory over the Stormin' Pointers on Tuesday, Nov. 24.

SOLON– The Lady Spartans opened the varsity girls’ basketball season on Tuesday, Nov. 24, against the preseason, top-five ranked defending state semifinalist Center Point-Urbana Stormin’ Pointers in grand fashion, introducing new players and making a statement, surpassing CPU, 68-41.
Solon’s Kiersten Conway belted out the national anthem and Don Ellis, the voice of the Lady Spartans, introduced the WaMaC inter-conference match up.
It became quickly evident the Center Point-Urbana humbling of Solon in last season’s opener, 52-23, was fresh in the Lady Spartans’ mind as they shot to a 9-2 lead in just under three minutes, sparked by a game-opening three-pointer by freshman newcomer Callie Levin just eight ticks into her varsity premiere and threes by juniors MaKinley Levin and Kaia Holtkamp. Solon claimed an 18-4 lead as junior Ava Stebral dropped a three of her own for the Lady Spartans’ final score of the first quarter.
“We wanted to come out and play aggressively on both ends,” Head Coach Jamie Smith said. “And I think we did that from the tip.”
Solon maintained its dominance, outdistancing CPU, 19-12, in the second quarter to claim a 37-16 lead at the half.
The Stormin’ Pointers surged in the third quarter, but sound defense and transition basketball by the Lady Spartans allowed Solon to maintain the lead, 53-31.
Solon appeared to have focused on strength and conditioning in the off season, allowing them to maintain its pace in the fourth quarter pushing to the 68-41 final.
The Stormin’ Pointers were without several starters for Tuesday’s game, including leading scorer Ryley Goebel.
Freshman Callie Levin led all scorers with 20 points, Holtkamp scored 13 points, MaKinley Levin scored 12, sophomore Hilary Wilson added nine, Stebral scored six, junior Jada Buffington added four and junior Elly Holubar and sophomore Claire LaDage added two points apiece.
LaDage led the Lady Spartans with 10 rebounds, nine defensive and one offensive; Holubar had six rebounds, three and three; MaKinley and Callie Levin, Stebral and Wilson recorded five apiece, all with four defensive and an offensive; Buffington pulled down four boards, two apiece; and Holtkamp grabbed four defensive boards.
Callie Levin was credited with six assists, two steals and a blocked shot. MaKinley Levin had four assists and two blocked shots. Holtkamp had two assists and a steal and Wilson had two assists and two steals. Stebral had an assist, two steals and a blocked shot. Buffington was credited with one assist and a steal. LaDage stole the ball three times and blocked a shot.
The Lady Spartans committed just 14 turnovers to the Stormin’ Pointers’ 21 and CPU committed five fouls compared to Solon’s 17.
Coach Smith was pleased with the performance overall, crediting the offense and defense for feeding off one another for momentum.
“I thought we brought it to them instead of waiting,” he summarized. “I don't think they were flat. We hit some shots early and that sparked the (defense).
“Or maybe it was the other, defense sparked the offense,” he added with a smile. “Either way we came out ready to play.”
He thought everyone that stepped on the court played well.
“Nice when four starters go for 20,13,12, (and) 9. Then off the bench Claire (LaDage) gets 10 rebounds and Ava (Stebral) hits two threes, so overall pleased with everyone’s performance,” Smith added.
Coach Smith praised the momentum the Lady Spartans developed and enjoyed winning the season-opener at home.
“It’s always nice to win, but winning first game at home against an opponent like CPU is extra nice. We will build off that win and go from there,” he said.
With the fluid nature of scheduling this season, as schools move to virtual learning due to the pandemic, Solon is scheduled, according to ia.varsitybound.com as of Nov. 29, to play Central DeWitt on Tuesday, Dec. 1, at Solon High School at 7:30 p.m. and then visit Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin to play the Clippers at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4.
Tuesday, Dec. 8, the Lady Spartans host the Williamsburg Raiders with a 6 p.m. tip off and Friday, Dec. 11, Solon welcomes the Vinton-Shellsburg Vikettes at 7:30 p.m.
Coach Smith refused to give the fluid nature of schedule modifications any sort of hold on his team’s preparations.
“Our schedule is obviously tough in the WaMaC,” Coach Smith commented. “And our non-conference schedule is as tough as anyone’s. So, we have to be ready to play every night. That starts in practice for us.”
He assured, “Nothing will change how we prepare. ‘Control what we can, nothing more nothing less.’”