MARION– It was a tough loss.
Solon’s Lady Spartans couldn’t hold on to a fourth quarter lead after injury sidelined their leading scorer Friday night at Marion.
Solon dropped to 4-6 on the year with a 62-51 loss to the Indians.
According to head coach Tony Nicol, the Lady Spartans lost senior guard Rylee Smith to a knee injury about midway through the third quarter of the game.
“The team rallied and gained a small lead, but could not hold on down the stretch,” Nicol said.
Solon had played the Marion girls to a 27-27 tie at halftime, and the Lady Spartans outscored the Indians 15-9 in the third to take a 42-36 lead into the final eight minutes.
But Marion shot 21 of its 33 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter and outscored Solon 26-9 down the stretch.
The Lady Spartans were led in scoring by Smith with 13 points, including 9-10 from the charity stripe. Sydney Lawson and Josie Durr each added seven points off the bench, while Ali Herdliska and Shelby Gunnells each contributed six. Nine different players scored for Solon, which shot 79 percent from the free throw line (19-24), but only 29 percent (15-51 from the field, including 2-16 from the 3-point line.
“The girls are getting good looks,” Nicol said. “We spend a lot of time talking about “good” shots versus “bad” shots. The girls recognize and get good shots. They are just not falling and that is something we just have to play through.”
Solon out-rebounded Marion 31-21, including 17 on the offensive glass, with Gunnells, Herdliska and Nichole Oberthien each with six boards.
The Indians were led by Michalyn Mohr with 26 points, and Amanda Sahm with 24.
“We ended the game with 24 turnovers which had a huge impact especially down the stretch,” Nicol said. “The girls are pushing really hard and sometimes push a little too hard and end up traveling or turning the ball over.”
The Lady Spartans were expected to have a tough road match against West Delaware (9-2) Tuesday, Jan. 14, before traveling to Van Horne to face the Benton Community Bobcats (3-8) Friday, Jan. 17. A fourth straight game on the road awaits Tuesday, Jan. 21, against Williamsburg (10-1), the leader in the WaMaC West.
Solon’s girls finally return home Friday, Jan. 24, to host Vinton-Shellsburg (2-6).