ELDRIDGE– The season came to an end for the Lady Spartans over the weekend, but not without a valiant effort.
Solon’s girls fell to North Scott in a Class 4A Region 3 semifinal Saturday at Eldridge, 63-51.
After falling behind by 13 points in the first quarter, the Lady Spartans played the Lancers evenly the rest of the way.
“We knew going into North Scott was going to be a real challenge,” said head coach Tony Nicol. “North Scott is a very good team and played a 5A schedule throughout the season. I knew the atmosphere was going to be loud and exciting and was grateful the girls would have an opportunity to play under those conditions.”
Nicol said his team’s plan was to rotate early and often and try to wear North Scott down, be ultra aggressive on offense, and limit their offensive rebounds.
“We managed to do all three,” he said. Solon shot 29 free throws and only gave up nine offensive boards. “But were still not able to overcome the athleticism and skill that North Scott possessed.”
The Lady Spartans shot 75 percent from the line, but were only 14-51 from the field, including 2-10 from 3-point range.
“Overall I could not be more proud of the way the girls battled especially after getting down 17-4 in the first four minutes of the game,” Nicol added. “The North Scott coach kept saying ‘Now we roll! Now we roll!’ and because of the heart and effort of the Lady Spartans, they never did.”
Ali Herdliska led the Solon scoring with 16 points, including a perfect 9-9 from the line. Madi Shafer added eight points.
Shelby Gunnells had 10 rebounds to lead the team, six on the offensive glass.
The Lady Spartans advanced to the semifinal by defeating Maquoketa 47-28 at home Wednesday, Feb. 19, to open postseason play.
After facing the Cardinals twice in the regular season, Nicol switched from man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone and a three-quarter-court press.
“The plan was to give different looks and try to keep them uncomfortable on offense,” Nicol said. “The girls did a great job learning and executing the different defenses and it really paid off.”
Solon held Maquoketa to just five points in the first quarter and four points in the third, taking a commanding 39-18 lead into the final period.
Josie Durr led the Lady Spartans with 11 points, while Sydney Lawson added eight and Herdliska seven.
“I want to thank the seniors– Alex Henry, Candice Kucera, Emily Capper and Rylee Smith– one last time for all the their leadership and dedication to the program for the past four years,” Nicol added. “Like I have said before they are going to be sorely missed.”