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Lady Spartans win fourth in a row, then stumble against Mustangs

Solon’s Hannah Bluder drives into the paint, through heavy Mustang traffic, during Solon’s loss to Mount Vernon Jan. 15. (photo by Jeff Hess)

SOLON– The Lady Spartans varsity basketball team started the week on Tuesday, Jan. 12, by extending its winning streak to four in a row defeating the Maquoketa Cardinals, 51-32.
However, the Mount Vernon Mustangs stole their momentum Friday, Jan. 16, beating Solon, 62-46.
In the junior varsity (JV) preview on Tuesday, Jan. 12, the squad started slow in the first period, outscored by the Cardinal JV team, 11-7. The Lady Spartan JV crew gained momentum from then on, outscoring Maquoketa 10-5 in the second period, 15-10 in the third and 18-7 in the final period, to defeat the Cardinal’s underclassmen, 50-33.
Sophie Nicol and Taylor Ryan led the JV team in scoring with 18 and 11 points respectively. Nicol had a rebound and a steal while Ryan had two assists, one rebound, and five steals. Brianna Smith scored five points, followed by Madysen Hess and Gabby Marty with four points apiece, and Saige Hauer, Erin Kerkoff, Abby Smith, and Lexi Stebral, all with two points each. Brianna Smith had one assist and one rebound while Marty had three rebounds and one steal. Hess had one assist, five rebounds, and two steals; Marty grabbed three rebounds and had a steal; Hauer pulled down three rebounds and had a steal; Kerkoff had four rebounds and snatched six steals; Abby Smith got away with two steals; and Stebral was physical under the boards grabbing five rebounds in the game.
Following a week with two games postponed, the Lady Spartans returned to varsity competition against Maquoketa on their home court. Like the JV team, the varsity girls started the game plagued by turnovers in first period, leaving Solon trailing the Cardinals at the quarter by seven points, 13-6.
In the second period Solon dominated, outscoring Maquoketa three to one, 22-7, heading to the locker room leading the game, 30-20.
Maquoketa made some adjustments, forcing the Lady Spartans to make some modifications of their own, only outscoring Maquoketa 9-6 in the third quarter. Solon outscored the Cardinals, 14-6, in the final period to defeat Maquoketa, 51-32.
“Let the bodies hit the floor,” seemed like a fitting theme song as Brianna Smith, Nicol and Alli Prybil had to leave the floor, along with one of the Maquoketa players, due to on court injuries throughout the game.
Hannah Bluder led the team scoring with 12 points, Dakota Doyle and Sydney Lawson added eight apiece to the total, and Bryce Hinkel and Nicol each scored six points. Bluder also had one assist, six rebounds and two steals; Doyle had seven rebounds and two steals; Lawson had three assists, eight rebounds and two steals; Hinkel pulled down six rebounds; and Nicol had one assist and a rebound.
Josie Durr added three points with two assists, three rebounds and posted seven steals while Nichole Oberthien also contributed three points, pulled down four rebounds and had two steals. Prybil and Julia DeValk each racked up two points, Prybil added one rebound and a steal and DeValk had a rebound. Ryan scored one point, a rebound and as steal, as well.
On Friday, Jan. 16, the rolling Spartans met the irresistible force of the Mount Vernon Mustangs.
Following a lopsided freshman exhibition loss to the Mount Vernon, Solon’s JV Lady Spartans were out-shot 62-39 by the Mustangs’ JV squad, setting everyone in attendance on the edge of their seats for the varsity show to follow.
The veteran voice of Don Ellis returned to announce for the Lady Spartans, and following his introductions, the sportsmanship pledge, and the National Anthem, it was time for the Highway 1 rivals to get down to business.
The Mustangs jumped out to a four-point lead before the Lady Spartans scored on a free throws to make it 4-2 only 45 ticks into the game. Solon tied it up a minute and a half into the first period. The first period played out in the same see-saw fashion as both teams led by as much as four points. The first period ended with Mount Vernon leading the Lady Spartans, 17-16.
The second quarter started with Solon building a lead to make the score 21-17 with a little over two minutes gone in the period via a 3-point shot by Durr from the top of the arc.
But five seconds later, on two free throws, the Mustangs began their rise. Bluder made Solon’s lead five points, 26-21, by sinking a free throw with four minutes remaining in the first half. But by the end of the half, Mount Vernon reclaimed the lead, 34-30.
Arguably, Solon’s defense in the first half of play seemed to challenge Mount Vernon. Solon’s ability to get the ball into the paint and shoot had kept them close.
However, it was the tale of two halves.
In the second half of play, the Mustangs came out and all but shut down Solon’s inside shooting, allowing them plenty of looks from outside the arc. The Mustangs outscored the Lady Spartans, 28-16, in the second half. Led by the 29-point scoring performance of Kaitlyn Volesky in the game, Mount Vernon’s defense allowed Solon to score only nine points in the third quarter and seven points in the fourth.
Solon’s winning streak ended, as the horn sounded Mount Vernon’s victory, 62-46.
Bluder and Oberthien led Solon’s scoring with 11 points apiece. Oberthien contributed two assists, five rebounds and two steals, while Bluder had one assist and five rebounds. They were followed in scoring by Lawson (8), Durr (6), Hinkel (5), Doyle (3), and Ryan (2). Lawson grabbed five rebounds and had two steals, while Durr racked up four assists, five rebounds and three steals. Hinkel posted two rebounds and two steals, Doyle had three rebounds, and Ryan added two assists and one rebound.
The Lady Spartans moved to 6-5 on the season and Mount Vernon to 9-4.
The Lady Spartans have a busy week as they traveled to Mount Pleasant on Monday, Jan. 18, and returned home to meet Central Clinton of DeWitt on Tuesday, Jan. 19. They travel to Epworth to face Western Dubuque on Friday, Jan. 22, and play in Iowa City Regina at Regina on Saturday, Jan. 23. The Friday JV game in Epworth starts at 6 p.m. and varsity commences at 7:30 p.m. The JV girls play at Regina Saturday at 1:30 p.m. with the Varsity Lady Spartans’ tip-off at 4:30 p.m.