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Solon girls foiled by Sabers, 57-41

Lady Spartans fall before Sabers, 57-41
Solon freshman Hailey Miller defends against a Central DeWitt Saber during fourth-quarter play on Tuesday, Dec. 1, at Solon High School. The Lady Spartans fell, 57-41, to the Sabers.

SOLON– The Lady Spartans (1-0) were unable to repeat their season opening win from a week earlier on Tuesday, Dec. 1, as they were foiled by the Class 4A fifth-ranked Central DeWitt Sabers, 57-41.
The Lady Spartans showed the same early game spark in the first quarter, taking an early lead on free throws from Callie Levin, a deuce from Elly Holubar and a steal for a layup, before a MaKinley “Mak” Levin three-pointer and a Holubar three, courtesy of a Kaia Holtkamp assist, pushed Solon out to a 11-0 lead with 4:11 remaining.
It quickly eroded as Central DeWitt rallied, holding Solon relatively quiet in the final minutes, for a 17-13 lead at the end of a period.
The Lady Spartans were held to just six points in the second quarter by the Sabers, extending the Central DeWitt lead at the half to 32-19.
Coach Jamie Smith called for a timeout a little more than two minutes into the second quarter with Central DeWitt adding to its lead, 38-19, and following the conversation Claire LaDage rewarded the team dropping a three-pointer after her teammates moved the ball well around the outside, loosening the Sabers’ defense. With a little less than four minutes remaining in the third, Solon closed the gap, trailing 42-28, but by the end of the third the Sabers again surged to lead, 49-30.
The Lady Spartans put 11 points on the board, but the Sabers ability to consume the clock and add eight more points were the deciding factor as Solon moved to 1-1 on the season following the 57-41 loss to Central DeWitt.
The Lady Spartans went 13-45 shooting field goals, 4-20 from three-point range, and went 11-17 from the free throw line with the Sabers dropping 23-49 field goals, 1-10 from outside the arc, and 10-16 from the stripe. Solon’s offensive rebounding dominated, pulling down 12 compared to DeWitt’s seven and defensive rebounding ended in a dead heat with both teams recording 18. Central DeWitt combined for eight assists and 12 steals over Solon’s seven assists and 11 steals. The Lady Spartans recorded two blocked shots, but turned over the ball 23 times compared to DeWitt’s solo blocked shot and 15 turnovers. Fouls were a dead heat at 16.
Coach Smith paid respect to the Sabers in his comments.
“Central DeWitt is one of the best teams in 4A,” he said. “So, they had a lot to do with the outcome. But we hit a dry spell after we got ahead early 11-0. Had a stretch where we turned it over and just missed shots. They didn’t turn it over and they made shots. Basketball can be as simple as that.”
Coach Smith was quick to dispel mind games were not being played with timeouts in the game, following a point during the fourth quarter where the two teams seemed to exchange 30-second time outs following back-to-back scores.
“Oh, I don't know,” he responded. “Guess I never paid attention to that. We both have coached a long time, so I am sure there were reasons in both of our minds why or why we didn’t call timeouts.”
Coach Smith was also very direct when asked if frustration aggravated Solon’s ability to get the ball to drop during the game.
“We will keep shooting,” he stated flatly.
Solon’s original opponent was to be South Tama, however the game was postponed, creating the Central DeWitt versus Solon game on Tuesday, Dec. 1, emphasizing the fluidity of the season due to the pandemic.
Coach Smith embraced the Lady Spartans’ good fortune in regard to the pandemic and welcomed the schedule of home games in the next week.
“Anytime you can play at home is great,” he said. “I think players love to be at home, so this will be a good week for the players.”
“We have been pretty fortunate,” he noted. “No COVID issues required us to miss any practice time. Our administration and our parents/players have done a great job keeping our players safe as possible.”

Lady Spartans statistics versus Sabers on Tuesday, Dec. 1 courtesy of Varsity Bound:
Scoring- Callie Levin 18, Claire LaDage 9, MaKinley Levin 8, Elly Holubar 4, Jada Buffington 2.
3-pointers- Ladage 2, Callie Levin 1, MaKinley Levin 1.
Rebounds- Holubar 6, Kaia Holtkamp 5, Callie Levin 5, Hillary Wilson 5, Claire LaDage 4, MaKinley Levin 3.
Assists- Holtkamp 2, Wilson 2, LaDage 1, Callie Levin 1, MaKinley Levin 1.
Steals- MaKinley Levin 3, Buffington 2, LaDage 2, Holtkamp 1, Hailey Miller 1.
Blocks- Holtkamp 1, Callie Levin 1.