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Lady Spartans break Mustangs, 60-12

Solon 2-2 on season after defeating Independence
Lady Spartan senior Jenna LaDage looks for an open teammate, following the rebound, while battling Independence senior Jadyn Schultz during Solon's 60-12 shellacking of Independence on Friday, Dec. 10, at Solon High School.

SOLON– The Lady Spartans varsity basketball team moved to 2-2 on the season following a 60-12 breaking of the Independence Mustangs on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at home. Both Solon and Independence entered the fracas with 1-2 records but it was Independence who left the gym sadly disappointed. It was a banner night for the Lady Spartan program as the junior varsity team was also victorious earlier in the evening, 42-25.
Independence took its only lead of the evening out the chute with just over a minute gone in the first quarter, but a Jenna LaDage three-pointer, courtesy of a Kaia Holtkamp assist, gave the Lady Spartans a 3-2 lead and the dam broke from there. By the end of the first quarter, behind the scoring of LaDage, a streaking drive into the paint by Hillary Wilson, a three and a bucket by MaKinley Levin and a three by Elly Holubar, courtesy of an assist by Ava Stebral, and the Lady Spartans held a 19-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Lady Spartans put up 12 more points in less than three minutes, pushing out to a 29-4 lead in the second quarter, before the Mustangs spent two minutes mustering what they could, making it 37-10 with a little more than three minutes remaining in the half. Independence put in one more shot, ending their scoring in the game, before Holtkamp delivered a three to make the score 40-12 at halftime.
The halftime show, following a brief, two-participant shooting contest, was a basketball skills contest by the sixth-grade girls’ team, competing in the winter session. The team, coached by Adam Stahle and J.P. Heineman and billed as “future Lady Spartans” by the veteran voice of the Spartans’ announcer Don Ellis, included Trea Eidahl, Piper Stahle, Sophia Ortega, Delaney Durr, Jillian Elijah, McKenna Rogers, Reese Grimm, Jozie Lahr, Audrey Heineman, Gable Knight and Emma Phelps.
The second half opened with no scoring for the first two minutes, prompting a time out by Solon Head Coach Jamie Smith. Senior Jenna LaDage responded, with a rebound-put-back at the 5:55 mark to break the dam once again. She put in a three-pointer roughly 30 seconds later for a 45-12 score and Levin joined the party going coast-to-coast for a layup and a 47-12 lead. Freshman Claire LaDage gave the Lady Spartans their final two points of the quarter setting up the 49-12 score that would start the fourth quarter.
The Lady Spartans smothered Independence on defense and kept them scoreless in the second half, forcing a continuous clock with about 2:50 remaining in the game. Solon triumphed, 60-12.
“It was a great win for us,” Coach Smith commented. “Getting to .500 and doing it at home was big for the program. The crowd was great.”
The Lady Spartans outscored the Independence Mustangs 40-12 in the first half and solidly shut out Indy in the second half, 20-0, with Levin scoring 17, Holtkamp contributing 12, Jenna LaDage put up 10 and Hillary Wilson poured in nine off the bench.
Holubar battled under the boards for 13 rebounds, nine offensive and four defensive; Jenna LaDage fought for six, four offensive and two defensive; and Holtkamp and Levin wrestled down five apiece, both with three offensive and two defensive.
Every player on the team had at least one assist with Holtkamp leading the group with four and all but one player stole the ball at least once, 17 total steals– a season high to date, with Wilson, off the bench, collecting five by herself.
Coach Smith was pleased with the performance.
“I honestly can say everyone that stepped on the floor did their part,” he said. “Eight players scored for the second straight game.”
The Lady Spartans shot 53.8 percent from the field, including 24-52 inside the arc and 8-23 outside the arc, and went 4-12 shooting free throws (33.3 percent). They collected 41 total rebounds and committed a season-low 12 turnovers.
“We have worked hard on not turning it over in practice,” Coach Smith commented. “But I would say the improvement has come from us getting better skill-wise. Also, our practices are pretty intense on the defensive side so we are getting used to being pressured.”
Coach Smith was pleased with the intensity of play and felt the team showed improvement.
“Ton of progress,” he said. “I thought we played the whole 32 minutes. This has to happen for us to move to the next level. You have to have this, whether you are down by 20 or up by 20. I thought we did this.”
Coach Smith felt the Lady Spartans found the approach they needed against the Mustangs to roll into Friday’s game against Benton and teams beyond.
“Well, we are going to take the same approach as we do for any opponent,” he explained. “Get after it on both ends of the court.”

Lady Spartans’ stats from the 60-12 win over the Independence Mustangs on Tuesday, Dec. 10, courtesy of Quikstatsiowa.com and Varsity Bound- Iowa High School Sports:
Scoring– Levin 17, Holtkamp 12, J. LaDage 10, Wilson 9, Holubar 7, C. LaDage 2, Stebral 2, Buffington 1.
Rebounds– Holubar 13, J. LaDage 6, Holtkamp 5, Levin 5, Buffington 4, Wilson 2, C. LaDage 1.
Assists– Holtkamp 4, Levin 3, Buffington 2, J. LaDage 2, Stebral 2, Holubar 1, C. LaDage 1, Wilson 1.
Steals– Wilson 5, J. LaDage 3, Levin 3, Holubar 2, Stebral 2, Holtkamp 1, C. LaDage 1.
Block– Holtkamp 1, J. LaDage 1.