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CCA clips Lady Spartans, 58-43, in season opener on road

Lady Spartans basketball, young but experienced
Kaia Holtkamp looks to dish the ball during Solon’s 58-43 season-opening loss Nov. 26 at Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin. Holtkamp led the Lady Spartan scoring with 19 points.

TIFFIN– Lady Spartan Basketball Head Coach Jamie Smith, in his second season, is going to lean on the entire team, following a 3-18 showing last season.
“I think they all hold leadership capabilities,” Coach Smith commented.
Solon returns letter winners sophomores Makinley Levin (5-9), Kaia Holtkamp (5-7), Ava Stebral, (5-5), Jada Buffington (5-7), Emma Bock (5-6) and Elly Holubar (5-7). The lone returning senior is Jenna LaDage (5-9).
Newcomers to the varsity roster this season include senior Aira Foster (5-8), freshmen Hillary Wilson, (5-6) and Claire LaDage (5-8).
LaDage, a senior, who earned WaMaC Conference Honorable Mention recognition last season, returns to the roster after averaging 7.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
As a freshman, Levin led the Spartans’ scoring last season with a 9.7 points per game, shooting 32 percent from the free throw line. She also averaged 3.3 rebounds for the Lady Spartans.
Holtkamp, also a junior this year, returns with experience after averaging 6.8 points per game last season.
All in all, the Lady Spartans return seven players with significant play time from last season including Stebral, Buffington, Bock and Holubar.
“I think players like Ellie (Holubar), Jada (Buffington), Ava (Stebral) and Emma (Bock) will continue to help the team,” Coach Smith said. “They all saw a lot of time the second half of last season.”
“This group worked hard in the off season and have shown a lot of basketball growth,” Coach Smith elaborated. “We need to continue to improve on the offensive end. Defensively, we will need to do a better job of letting teams go on extended runs.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 26, the Lady Spartans dropped their season opener, 58-43, on the road, in Tiffin, to the Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Clippers.
CCA’s Karsyn Stratton and Calia Clubb gave the Lady Spartans fits with their pick and roll. The duo scored 43 of the CCA team’s 58 total points in the opener for both teams.
The Clippers led, 11-6, at the end of the first quarter but the Lady Spartans rallied back to tie the game at 12-all on a three-point shot by Stebral with a little less than six minutes remaining in the first half. However, the Clippers returned with a salvo of their own, behind the Stratton and Clubb combo, for the final 11 points of the half, to make the score 28-13.
The Lady Spartans matched the Clippers point for point in the final two quarters to end the game: Clippers 58, Solon 43.
“I liked the beginning of the game, I thought our intensity was awesome,” Coach Smith said. “I liked the way we played early, there were a couple of open threes that we didn’t hit early that I thought kind of hurt.”
Holtkamp led the Lady Spartans’ scoring with 19 points. She pulled down an offensive rebound and four defensive rebounds. She collected three assists and stole the ball three times.
Levin scored nine points for Solon, also pulling down one from the offensive boards and four on defense. She also blocked three shots.
Stebral scored three points, wrestling down an offensive and a defensive rebound. She collected one assist and two steals.
Buffington scored three points while recording an offensive rebound and two defensive rebounds with an assist and three steals.
Holubar scored two points and led the team in rebounds with two offensive and five defensive.
Jenna LaDage, Claire LaDage and Foster ended the game with one point apiece. Jenna had two assists and blocked a shot, but fouled out, and Claire had a defensive rebound.
Freshman Hillary Wilson came up with a defensive rebound, as well.
To begin the season, Coach Smith’s varsity roster includes: #3 freshman Claire LaDage, #4 junior Ava Stebral, #10 senior Aira Foster, #11 junior Kaia Holtkamps, #15 junior Makinley Levin, #22 junior Emma Bock, #23 senior Jenna LaDage, #24 junior Jada Buffington, #32 freshman Hilary Wilson and #40 junior Elly Holubar.
Coach Smith’s junior varsity (JV) includes: freshmen #4 Taylor Dee, #5 Sophia Stahle, #10 Georgia Havlicek, #22 Claire LaDage, #30 Hillary Wilson, #32 Taylor Hogan and #33 Kerrigan Lyons with juniors #15 Alex Locke and #41 Bailey Leitz.
Team Managers are Maria Gertsma and Delaney Kriz. Assisting Coach Smith are Mark Sovers, Jim Smith and Danielle Herdliska.
The Lady Spartans continue on the road Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Center Point-Urbana, then host Vinton-Shellsburg for their home opener Friday, Dec. 6. Solon hosts Independence on Tuesday, Dec. 10, and travels to Benton Community High School on Friday, Dec. 13. Monday, Dec. 16, Solon hosts West Branch and hosts Central DeWitt on Tuesday, Dec. 17, then closes out 2019 at home, Friday, Dec. 20, against Beckman Catholic. All varsity games typically have a 7:30 p.m. tip off with JV playing a 6 p.m. game.
Coach Smith feels the WaMaC Conference is the toughest in both 3A and 4A in the state.
“Of course, Marion and CPU will be two of the top contenders,” Coach Smith summarized. “I also think that Central DeWitt, Maquoketa and CCA will be in the mix. We will have to be ready every night.”