DYERSVILLE– It apparently wasn’t meant to be.
The basketball gods conspired against the Lady Spartans last week in their season finale, snatching away a winning season with a 53-52 loss against Beckman on the road at Dyersville.
“I have watched the end of the game probably 15 times and can just shake my head,” noted Solon head coach Tony Nicol.
Solon’s girls held a 1-point lead with 8.1 seconds on the clock after the two teams had battled neck and neck in the second half.
“They (Beckman) inbounded the ball to their post who turned and dribbled once and then took three steps before throwing the ball the length of the floor to a guard at the free throw line,” Nicol said. “I thought the game was over but no traveling call was made.
“Their guard then tried to dribble and Kristin Purdy got both hands on the ball,” he continued. “The girl for Beckman then fell backwards and pulled Kristin on top of her. The whistle blew and two officials were making the jump ball call. The third official came in and overturned them and called a foul on Kristin. With 1.1 seconds left the Beckman girl made both free throws.”
Nicol called a timeout and called a play for Rylee Smith to receive the inbounds and shoot from half court, but an error sent the clock off before time had expired.
“I had no more timeouts so Beckman knew our play and when we tried to throw it in again it was deflected,” Nicol reported. “Game over. A very tough loss for the girls who once again played with great effort.”
Again, cold shooting played a role for the Lady Spartans.
Beckman shot 42 percent from the field, including 50 percent from the 3-point line. Solon shot 26 percent and went 2-13 beyond the arc.
The Lady Spartans did hit 20-26 free throws, including 6-6 from sophomore Shelby Gunnells, and forced 39 turnovers by Beckman
Rylee Smith led the Solon scoring with 15 points, while Gunnells added 10. Karly Kramer had 8 points. Gunnells was also the leading rebounder with seven. Ali Herdliska had eight steals, and Rylee Smith had seven.
The season finale loss dropped the Lady Spartans to 10-11 overall.
The Solon girls will have an opportunity to extend their year Wednesday, Feb. 13, against Marion in the first round of the District 4 postseason bracket. Marion (13-8), will host the 7 p.m. game. If victorious, Solon would advance to a Saturday, Feb. 16, game at Cedar Rapids Xavier against the hosting Saints.