SOLON– After a 1-2 start, the Solon Lady Spartans have reeled off three straight wins.
Solon’s varsity girls hosted Maquoketa and Anamosa last week, outscoring their opponents 123-63.
After Tuesday’s home game against Central DeWitt, however, it’s five straight on the road, including a Dec. 18 matchup with No. 9 Western Dubuque.
“I am pleased with the progress of the team at this point in the season,” first-year head coach Tony Nicol said. “The transition into my system has gone more smoothly than I had expected.”
The team has changed defensive strategies, he said, going from mostly zone to almost all man-to-man, and the offensive pace has picked up.
“The credit goes to the players and their willingness to buy into a new system and learn it as fast as they have,” Nicol observed.
Fast is a good word to describe the Lady Spartans’ start against Maquoketa last Tuesday.
Solon charged out to a 17-3 lead in the first quarter, and continued to outscore the Cardinals in a 66-28 romp.
“Maquoketa came in having played every team tough, so our success against them was a bit surprising,” Nicol said. “I thought our girls had great focus and energy and did a great job being aggressive.”
Kristen Purdy led the scoring with 12 points, while posts Kara Misel and Karly Kramer each had 10. The Lady Spartans shot 40 percent from the field and 74 percent from the line, but also collected 40 total rebounds, 15 of them on the offensive glass. Shelby Gunnells led the team with six boards, although Kramer, Misel, Emma Rickels and Kristen Purdy each had five and Jordan Smith and Ali Herdliska each had four.
Team rebounding continued with 42 more (22 offensive) on Friday night hosting Anamosa. Kramer pulled down nine boards to lead the team, while Rylee Smith, Rickels and Gunnells each had five.
It really helped because Solon’s shooting percentage dropped to 28 percent from the field.
The Lady Spartans trailed by a point at the end of one quarter, but went on a 18-6 run in the second to open an 11-point lead at half.
Solon continued to build on the lead until the 57-35 final.
Kramer dumped in 20 points to lead the Lady Spartans on 7-14 shooting. Kristen Purdy added 10 points.