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Lady Spartans squeak out 46-42 win over West Delaware

First road win of 2020
Lady Spartan sophomore Kaia Holtkamp defends against Mount Vernon sophomore McKenzie Rentschler on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at home. Holtkamp led Solon with 15 points in a 46-42 win over West Delaware on the road Jan. 13. (file photos by Jeff Hess)

MANCHESTER– The Lady Spartans squeaked out a four-point road victory, 46-42, over the West Delaware Hawks for their first travel triumph of 2020 on Monday, Jan. 13, in Manchester.
The varsity girls’ basketball matchup was postponed from Friday, Jan. 10.
It was a dead heat for both teams at the end of the first quarter, knotted at 11-all. The Hawks put up another 11 points to Solon’s four in the second quarter for a 22-15 lead at the half.
Solon bested West Delaware, 14-10, in the third quarter, cutting the Hawks’ lead to 32-29 to start the final period.
Solon outscored West Delaware 17-10 in the fourth quarter to capture the win, 46-42.
“We were pretty flat the first 23 minutes,” Head Coach Jamie Smith professed. “Not for sure we led until fourth quarter. Our shooting was not good, our passing was not good, our offense was not good, our defense was not good, until the fourth quarter.”
Coach Smith delivered the assessment to his players at halftime.
“The girls found a way at the end,” Coach Smith commented. “What they did is hard at the high school level. Winning on the road is hard.”
Solon sophomore Kaia Holtkamp led all scorers on the court for the evening with 15 points, West Delaware senior Allison Collier led the Hawks with 10 points. Holtkamp pulled down three rebounds, two offensive and one defensive, and recorded an assist and a steal in the game.
Elly Holubar contributed 10 points to the Lady Spartans’ effort and pulled down eight boards to lead the Lady Spartans rebounding, seven offensive and one defensive, while stealing the ball three times.
Jenna LaDage scored seven points in the game, pulling down five rebounds, two offensive and three defensive, and contributed three assists and pilfered the ball from the Hawks four times.
Ava Stebral added six points and battled for an offensive rebound while earning an assist, blocking a shot and stealing the ball once. Jada Buffington scored five points, grabbed six boards, three offensive and defensive, and earned an assist and a steal. Claire LaDage scored three points for Solon and stole the ball three times. Aria Foster had one offensive and one defensive rebound. There were two defensive rebounds unassigned for Solon.
MaKinley Levin’s absence on the court did not go unnoticed.
“Thought Kaia (Holtkamp) played (well) and hit a 35-foot runner to end the third that cut it to three,” Coach Smith remarked. “I think that sparked us. Elly again got rebounds and had a big bucket in the fourth.”
Solon sank 15-47 field goals attempted (31.9 percent), compared to West Delaware’s 16-32 (50 percent). The Lady Spartans sank 6-25 shooting three-pointers (24 percent), as opposed to the 3-7 the Hawks shot (42.9 percent). Shooting from the charity stripe was a neck-and-neck battle between the two teams, Solon was 10-14 (71.4 percent), in comparison to West Delaware’s 7-10 (70 percent).
The Lady Spartans out-performed the Hawks offensively rebounding 15 to West Delaware’s six, however the Hawks grabbed 22 defensive rebounds to Solon’s 11. Both teams recorded eight assists and a blocked shot apiece, but Solon valued the ball more than the Hawks limiting themselves to 17 turnovers compared to the 29 committed by West Delaware.
“We shoot a lot of free throws in practice,” Coach Smith said. “Been waiting for the work to show up and it did.”
The team pulled together, rallying to steal a win from West Delaware in the fourth quarter. Coach Smith was cautious about acknowledging the success his young team has found.
“At times it shows up,” he reflected. “We just need to be more consistent.”
He added, “Turnovers have went down because we are better. We don’t talk much about turning it over, we talk about decision making, which has got better.”
Coach Smith was noncommittal to the benefits of the game being postponed until Monday due to the weather.
“Not really for sure if it helped or hurt,” he remarked. “We were ready to go last Friday and we can’t control the weather.”
The win moved the Lady Spartans to 5-6 on the season and relegated the Hawks to 1-10.
The Lady Spartans were scheduled to meet Williamsburg on the road the following night and host Maquoketa on Friday, Jan. 17, as the culmination of a busy week.
Statistics for the article are courtesy of Quikstatsiowa.com and the Varsity Bound- Iowa High School Sports app on Jan. 19.