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Lady Spartans wrangle Raiders, 56-45

Lady Spartans Head Coach Jamie Smith gives his squad a breather, discussing the offense with Assistant Coaches Mark Sovers and Danielle Hawker looking on, during the second half of Solon's 56-45 victory over the Williamsburg Raiders, at home, on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

SOLON– The Lady Spartans varsity basketball team ended a two-game skid with a 56-45 victory over the Williamsburg Raiders on Tuesday, Dec. 8, on the home hardwood to move to 2-2 on the season. It was an early start for the Lady Spartans in the opening leg of a boys and girls basketball doubleheader.
The new week dispelled the previous week’s dual losses starting with Stetson McIlravy belting out the national anthem and the Lady Spartans and the Williamsburg Raiders sized one another up in back-to-back unrewarding trips in the first minute up and down the court before junior MaKinley “Mak” Levin deposited the first points for the Lady Spartans and, a little over 1:45 later, the Raiders’ Charlotte Wetjen made it 2-2.
It started as a scrap for Solon much of the first quarter. They led, 6-4, with little more than a minute and a half remaining before a three-pointer by the Raiders made it 7-6 in their favor. Junior Elly Holubar tied the game, 7-7, with the front end of a pair of free throws with 45 ticks remaining. And following the Raiders’ next unsuccessful trip to the other end of the court, freshman Callie Levin, with a spin move to the inside for a layup in the final 30 seconds, gave Solon the 9-7 lead at the end of one.
Less than 30 seconds in, MaKinley Levin pushed the Lady Spartans out to an 11-7 lead and Solon pushed out to a 17-7 lead before the Raiders put two on the board to make it 17-9. The Levin sisters delivered back-to-back buckets, after Holubar pushed Solon to a 19-9 lead with a deuce at roughly the 6:10 mark, a three by Callie with 5:32 remaining made the score 22-12 and Mak made it 24-14 with 4:07 remaining in the half. The Lady Spartans and the Raiders increased the pressure on one another, creating turnovers the rest of the half, ultimately culminating in a 32-19 advantage at the half.
The Raiders drew first blood in the third period, but Callie Levin responded with three for a 35-21 lead with a little over six minutes left in the third. With 1:47 left in the quarter, the pressure was notably increased by both teams, now scrappy under the basket and battling in pursuit of turnovers. Junior Jada Buffington delivered a 40-27 lead courtesy of a three-pointer from the corner with 1:03 remaining and Callie Levin drew a foul driving toward the bucket and dropped two from the charity stripe to deliver the final score of the third, 42-28.
Junior Kaia Holtkamp started the Lady Spartans in the final quarter with a layup for the 44-28 lead just 15 ticks in. Holubar made it 46-30 courtesy of a Mak assist with a little over 6:30 remaining. The pressure increased by both teams defensively but the Lady Spartans’ defense forced the Raiders to work harder for every basket. Head Coach Jamie Smith called a well-placed timeout with 2:29 remaining to thwart some confusion created by the Raiders’ attempt at a full court press with Solon leading 50-38. At approximately the two-minute mark, the Raiders took to fouling in hopes of foiling the Lady Spartans dominance. Coach Smith took another timeout with 37.1 ticks remaining to give Solon a reprieve from the grab-hands as Holtkamp was headed to the line for two free throws to put Solon up 56-42. As the horn sounded to the staccato dribbles of Callie Levin, the Lady Spartans broke the two-game losing streak with a 57-45 victory.
Coach Smith felt the win was important.
“We were coming off two straight losses and we were able to get a win against a very good Williamsburg team,” he said.
He complimented the Raiders’ defense but pointed out the gap in the adjustments.
“I think they did a good job defending the three, which left us gaps to drive,” he said. “I think it was a very good game by the whole team. I thought Elly Holubar had her best game of the season and Kaia (Holtkamp) played a very good floor game.”
Entering the game at 1-1 on the season, Williamsburg averaged 64 points per game with Charlotte Wetjen and Taylor Winegarden, both guards, combining to average 33 of those points per game. Solon’s stingy defense held the Raiders to just 19 points in the first half and forced 13 turnovers while only permitting Wetjen and Winegarden to combine for 16 points. The Lady Spartans also limited the Raiders to just 3-13 shooting in the third quarter.
Solon limited themselves to 16 turnovers and committed 18 fouls compared to the Raiders’ 18 turnovers and 17 fouls.
The win moved the Lady Spartans to 2-2 for the season and relegated the Raiders to 1-2, putting Solon’s crosshairs on the Vinton-Shellsburg Vikettes for Friday, Dec. 11.
It was clear Coach Smith was hoping to capitalize on Tuesday’s success heading into the game with Vinton-Shellsburg.
“I think this will be a game that will be determined on the defensive end of the court,” he concluded. “Whichever team doesn't allow runs will most likely come out on top. We will have to defend them better than we did last year in the regional game.”

Statistics Solon 56, Williamsburg 45 (courtesy of ia.varsitybound.com):
Points- Callie Levin 21, Holubar 13, MaKinley Levin 11, Holtkamp 6, Buffington 3, Ava Stebral 2.
Rebounds (Off-Def)- Holubar 13 (6-7), Callie Levin 8 (1-7), MaKinley Levin 6 (3-3), Holtkamp 3 (1-2), Stebral 3 (0-3), Holtkamp, Claire LaDage 2 (1-1), Buffington 1 (0-1), Hailey Miller 1 (0-1).
Assists- Holtkamp 4, Callie Levin 4, MaKinley Levin 2.
Steals- Callie Levin 4, Holubar 2, Wilson 2, Holtkamp 1, MaKinley Levin 1, Stebral 1.
Blocks- MaKinley Levin 4, Callie Levin 1.