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Solon girls push past Maquoketa

Shelby Gunnells eyes the basket as Maquoketa’s Allison Vendemore tries to stop her during Solon’s 37-31 win over the Cardinals at home Friday. (photos by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– The temperatures were freezing outside, and the shooting inside was almost as cold.
Solon’s girls played back-to-back home games coming out of winter break Friday and Saturday, defeating Maquoketa, 37-31, and then falling to Anamosa, 28-25.
Both the Lady Spartans and their opponents had a hard time finding the bottom of the basket.
Hosting the Maquoketa Cardinals, Solon trailed 16-15 at the half, but held Maquoketa without a point in third quarter to take a 25-16 lead into the fourth.
“I thought the difference in the Maquoketa game in the third quarter was that the girls relaxed a bit,” head coach Tony Nicol said. “Instead of forcing the issue defensively and getting fouls, they played good solid defense.
“In the first half we were trying a bit too hard and were being overly aggressive,” Nicol said. “After three weeks without a game I’m not surprised.”
Josie Durr led a balanced scoring attack for Solon with six points, but nine players made it into the scoring column. Ali Herrdliska and Molly Walkner each added five points, while Alex Henry, Sydney Lawson, Madi Shafer and Nichole Oberthien each had four.
But Solon shot only 34 percent (14-41) from the field and 36 percent (8-22) from the free throw line. “To be honest, I’m not sure what the issue was with free throws,” Nicol said. “We certainly shot a lot during break.”
Candice Kucera had six rebounds to lead the Lady Spartans, while Shelby Gunnells added five. As a team, Solon had 25 rebounds, seven on the offensive glass.
The lack of made baskets continued Saturday against Anamosa in the 28-25 loss.
The Lady Spartans shot only 20 percent (10-50) from the field, including 1-16 from the 3-point line, and 44 percent (4-9) from the stripe.
“The Anamosa game was a tough-fought game with both teams playing hard,” Nicol said.
Anamosa held an 11-10 halftime lead and out-scored Solon 10-5 in the third for a six-point margin to start the fourth.
“We had a difficult time making shots against their zone defense,” Nicol said. “Our defense kept us in the game, but we could just not string enough scoring possessions together to get the win.”
Durr was again the leading scorer for Solon with six points, with Lawson and Henry each adding five points.
The Lady Spartans were out-rebounded 31-23. Henry had five rebounds to pace Solon, while Oberthien had four.
Because of several school cancellations, the Lady Spartans have two games to make up– against Dyersville Beckman (postponed from Dec. 20) and Clear Creek Amana (postponed from Jan. 7).
Activities Director Keith McSweeney has announced the Clear Creek game will be rescheduled for Feb. 6. No new date for the Beckman game has been determined.
This week finds the Lady Spartans on the road, with games at Marion Friday, Jan. 10, at West Delaware (Manchester) Tuesday, Jan. 14, and at Benton Community (Van Horne) Friday, Jan. 17.