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Girls end regular season with a win

Hannah Bluder drives to the basket against Marion last week. Bluder scored four points in the Lady Spartans’ 42-33 win. (photo by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– The Lady Spartans ended the regular season on a high note.
Solon defeated Marion 42-33 Tuesday, Feb. 11, finishing 9-12 and winning three of its last four games.
“The Marion game was satisfying on many levels,” said head coach Tony Nicol. “We were without two starters– Ali Herdliska and Madi Shafer– due to injury and illness. Any time you can beat a team that beat you earlier in the year it is a great accomplishment, especially without two starters.”
The Lady Spartans out-scored Marion 13-5 in the second quarter to take the lead and then salted the game away late.
Sydney Lawson lead Solon with 11 points, including a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line, and Josie Durr followed with 10 points. Durr also had five steals to lead the team. Shelby Gunnells added nine points and six rebounds, while Candice Kucera also had six rebounds and Emily Capper had five. The Lady Spartans doubled up Marion on the glass, enjoying a 28-14 edge on the boards.
“Our bigs did a great job against Michalyn Mohr and collectively held her to eight points,” Nicol pointed out. “Candice Kucera, Emily Capper and Shelby Gunnells all defended well.”
Marion shot only 27 percent from the field and were even colder behind the 3-point line, where only two of 15 attempts fell.
Solon shot 47 percent from the field and 75 percent from the charity stripe.
“It does seem like the team is trending up towards the end of the season,” Nicol said, noting that Nichole Oberthien, Lawson and Hannah Bluder stepped up and contributed. “Sydney Lawson has continued to improve throughout the season and had some huge takes to the basket down the stretch.”
The Marion game was also senior night for Solon’s Alex Henry, Kucera, Capper and Rylee Smith.
“Senior night is always a special night for our program,” Nicol said. “I thought the seniors did a great job setting the tone with energy and enthusiasm. They will all be missed.”
The girls began postseason play hosting Maquoketa Wednesday, Feb. 19, in the opening round of the Class 4A Region 3 bracket.
“Winning three of our last four games was a great way to finish the season and I could not be more proud of the improvement and heart the girls showed down the stretch this year,” Nicol concluded.