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Solon threatens but Central DeWitt triumphs

Closer than appeared, Lady Spartans fall to Sabers, 55-39
Lady Spartan Kaia Holtkamp darts between two Central DeWitt defenders on her drive to the basket in the closing minutes of Solon's 55-39 loss to the Sabers on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Solon High School.

SOLON– The Lady Spartans hosted the 6-0 Central DeWitt Sabers on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Solon High School, their second game in as many days and they turned in a solid performance closing within eight points of Central DeWitt on numerous occasions before falling, 55-39.
Central DeWitt amassed a 15-0 lead when Solon took a second timeout, with a few ticks over two minutes remaining in the first quarter. The timeout discussion worked as Solon stopped the hemorrhaging and scored its first points of the game, trailing 15-2 at the end of the first period.
The Lady Spartans managed to close the gap in the second quarter as Kaia Holtkamp added the back end of a pair of free throws and Elly Holubar scored a bucket, making the score 15-5. By the half, Solon appeared to be knocking, trailing 24-16.
A little over 15 ticks into the third period, Jenna LaDage laid in a field goal to make it 26-18, and Levin answered a three-point bucket with one of her own to make the score 29-21. A pair of free throws by Jenna LaDage closed the gap to 29-23. Following an exchange of salvos, the quarter closed with Central DeWitt leading, 41-33.
The final quarter saw the Lady Spartans conferring with the bench during free throws and time outs many times. With 3:43 remaining in the final quarter, a Jenna LaDage three made the score 45-37. Assistant Coach Jim Smith lamented the Sabers’ success during a timeout as the team discussed, finishing the game.
“Can’t get any traction, can’t get past eight,” he said.
The Sabers took to attempting to run out the clock in the final three minutes, forcing the Lady Spartans to resort to fouling in effort to get possession. Unfortunately for the Lady Spartans, the end result was a rather non-reflective final score, 51-39.
Lady Spartan Head Coach Jamie Smith was brief in his comments following the game.
“We made some runs throughout the game,” he summarized. “Defensively we made some adjustments, but in the end, they made some plays and we missed some shots.”
Coach Smith felt the fouling in the final minutes of the game was a double-edged sword.
“I think anytime you have to foul it changes the complexion of the game,” he commented. “Hard to get the momentum back after that.”
The Lady Spartans sank 13-46 inside the arc (28.3 percent) and dropped 4-18 from three-point land (22.2 percent) while shooting 50 percent (9-18) from the charity stripe. The team was responsible for 30 rebounds, 15 offensive and 15 on defense. The Lady Spartans accumulated six assists and six steals and committed 19 turnovers.
Coach Smith was pleased with his staff’s work and communication with the Lady Spartans throughout the game following repeated runs at the Sabers.
“All of our coaches have roles and the freedom to talk to players if they see fit,” he said. “We have a lot of coaching experience on our bench so we aren’t going to waste it.”
He added, “I hope our coaches are always talking. I am guessing they were talking about matchups, fouls and/or timeouts.”
Senior Jenna LaDage led the scoring for the Lady Spartans with 17 of the 39 points, hitting 6-11 field goals, 3-6 from three-point range and 2-3 on free throws. Holubar scored 12 points, MaKinley Levin scored four, Hillary Wilson added three, Jada Buffington added two and Holtkamp scored one.
Holubar led the rebounding effort with nine, six offensive and three defensive. Jenna LaDage had six rebounds, two offensive and four defensive; Holtkamp had five, four offensive and one defensive; Buffington had three rebounds, one offensive and two defensive; Levin had three defensive rebounds; and Wilson had one apiece, with two uncredited.
Buffington and LaDage were responsible for two assists apiece. Holtkamp and Levin each had an assist, as well.
LaDage stole the ball three times from the Sabers and blocked two shots. Buffington lifted the ball twice and Wilson pilfered one and blocked a shot.
The loss moved the Lady Spartans record to 2-5 and elevated the Sabers to 7-0 this season.
Solon closed out 2019 on Friday, Dec. 20, at home against Beckman Catholic and welcome the New Year on the road Friday, Jan. 3, at 6 p.m., on the road in Marion. Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 7 p.m., Mount Vernon makes the trek down Highway 1 to visit the Lady Spartans, then it is two road games, at West Delaware on Friday, Jan. 10, at 7:30 p.m., and at Williamsburg Tuesday, Jan. 14, at 6 p.m. Maquoketa visits Solon Friday, Jan. 17, at 7:30 p.m.
Coach Smith was reserved about looking toward the future match ups on the schedule.
“No, we are thinking about today,” he remarked. “Same thing we have been doing since Day One. Major reason why you see the improvement.”
Statistics for the article were courtesy of quikstatsiowa.com and the Varsity Bound- Iowa High School Sports App on Thursday, Dec. 19.