SOLON– The Lady Spartans got down and couldn’t climb back.
The West Delaware Hawks and the Solon Lady Spartans fought a defensive battle Friday night in Solon, but the home team couldn’t overcome a slow start in the 31-30 loss.
The Solon girls spotted the Hawks an 11-2 first quarter lead, then held West Delaware to 20 points the rest of the way.
“We let their scorers have too many open looks,” Head Coach Mark Sovers noted. But the Lady Spartans played better defensively as the game progressed, he said.
Solon’s Ashley Holubar tied the score at 19-all with four minutes remaining in the third. The fourth quarter started in a 21-21 tie and despite several chances to put the game away, Solon’s missed free throws and fouls put the game in the hands of West Delaware.
Tie score and time running out, a Solon foul led to a costly free throw. West Delaware only needed one to go ahead for good with less than four seconds to play. The final play, a coast-to-coast drive by a sprinting Smith, was not in time.
Holubar and Smith had eight points each to lead the Solon scoring, while Emma Rickels chipped in seven. Smith had eight rebounds and five steals to pace the team, which pulled down 35 total rebounds and collected 17 steals.
The home loss came on the heels of another road win, this one against Central DeWitt.
“I thought we played a pretty balanced game,” Sovers said of the 50-42 win.
Holubar had nine points to lead the Lady Spartans, although nine different players scored. Mel Breza added eight, Smith seven and Katelyn Anderson six.
“Ashley (Holubar) has done a nice job the last two games,” Sovers observed. “Her defensive play has been really good and that’s helped her offensive end grow.”
The Lady Spartans are in the midst of a four-game home stand, with Western Dubuque and Mount Vernon coming to town Dec. 13 and Friday, Dec. 16.
“This will be a nice challenging week for us,” Sovers said. “We should find out where we are going into Christmas against two quality opponents.”
The Lady Spartans head into the break after hosting Mid-Prairie in a girls/boys doubleheader in Solon Dec. 22.