Your Prep Sports
CLARENCE – The Davenport Assumption girls’ basketball team waited until the final two games of regional play to unveil its box-and-one defense.
The strategy – designed to stifle a dominant scoring threat by applying man-to-man defense against a singular player while the other four defenders protect the foul line and the basket – limited Class 3A No. 10 Center Point-Urbana to just 31 points on Wednesday.
On Friday night, it ended the season for No. 12 Solon and its breakout freshman Callie Levin.
“A lot of things,” third-year Solon Coach Jamie Smith said after the Spartans lost to Assumption, 49-36, in a 3A regional final at North Cedar High School. “Their length, putting the pressure on the ball, taking some stuff away from us. It’s tough. About everything they did. And then we missed some shots. I think we were five for 25 from three or something like that and we have got to hit some of those shots. It is a lot of what they did.”
The point total was the lowest this season for Solon (17-6).
Levin – a future Division-I player already in possession of scholarship offers from Drake, Iowa State and Oklahoma State – scored the first five points of the game for the Spartans and appeared well on her way to matching her prolific 19.6-points-per-game scoring average.
But she was held without a point for the final three-and-a-half quarters.
“At the end of the game, it comes down to heart,” Levin said. “And we had heart. We had a lot of it, but they made the better plays and at the end of the game, it just comes down to that. … Their pressure, it was hard getting into the lane because once we did, they would collapse. It was probably the hardest thing.”
Prior to the five-point effort Friday night, Levin’s previous low was 12 points on two occasions.
“They are all a good team in general, but our main focus during our talks was we started our box-and-one in postseason,” said Assumption senior guard Olivia Wardlow, who was tasked with defending Levin for the bulk of the contest. “If we shut her down and performed well in our defense, we knew we could win the game.”
Assumption (8-11) used its significant height advantage to build a lead it never relinquished.
By halftime, Assumption post players Ava Schubert (6-foot-2) and Anna Wohlers (5-11) had matched Solon point-for-point by themselves as the Knights led, 29-15.
Schubert finished with 14 points, Wholers added 11 and 5-foot-10 Assumption guard Dawsen Dorsey chipped in 14 and led all players with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Assumption lists six players – including four starters – that exceed the height of every player on the Solon roster, which tops out at 5-9.
“We are going to have to pressure the ball a little bit better,” Smith said. “We have got some younger kids coming that have a little bit of height, but we are just going to have to figure out a way. This is who we are. We are not a zone team that much. We have been up against the size deal all year. This is nothing new to us.”
Assumption led by as many as 20 points early in the fourth quarter.
The Knights – toughened by a schedule void of 3A competition until regional play – qualified for the state tournament for the 15th time in 21 years, including four or the last five.
Assumption received a No. 8 seed and will open against No. 1 Cherokee (22-0) in a 3A state quarterfinal March 1 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Solon was led by junior Kaia Holtkamp, who scored nine points and posted two assists.
Junior guard Ava Stebral scored all seven of her points during a 9-0 Solon surge that got the Spartans within eight points at 32-24 with 3:44 left in the third quarter.
Levin and junior Elly Holubar each grabbed five rebounds, while junior MaKinley Levin added six points and a team-high two steals.
For a Solon program two years removed from a three-win campaign, having its season end one win away from its first state berth since 2006 should prove to be a significant motivator to a group that will has no seniors.
The entire roster will return in 2021-22.
“I think that this game pissed everyone off and next year we are just going to come back stronger,” Callie Levin said. “People better watch out.”
Solon 8 7 9 12 – 36
Davenport Assumption 13 16 9 11 – 49
Solon (36) – Kaia Holtkamp 3-12 2-2 9, MaKinley Levin 2-6 0-0 6, Callie Levin 2-10 0-0 5, Hilary Wilson 1-6 3-4 5, Elly Holubar 1-1 0-0 2, Claire LaDage 0-1 0-0 0, Ava Stebral 3-6 0-0 7, Hailey Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Jada Buffington 0-1 0-0 0, Alex Locke 1-1 0-0 2, Totals 13-44 5-6 36.
Davenport Assumption (49) – Ava Schubert 7-11 0-0 14, Anna Wohlers 4-5 3-3 11, Maddie Loken 0-1 0-0 0, Olivia Wardlow 0-2 0-1 0, Dawsen Dorsey 3-5 7-7 14, Annika Kotula 0-0 0-0 0, Jessie Wardlow 1-1 0-0 2, Katie Andersen 1-3 1-2 4, Maddy Nigey 2-5 0-0 4, Totals 18-33 11-13 49.
Three-point goals – Solon 5-23 (Holtkamp 1-7, M. Levin 2-5, C. Levin 1-3, Wilson 0-3, Stebral 1-3, LaDage 0-1, Buffington 0-1), Assumption 2-3 (Dorsey 1-1, Andersen 1-2). Rebounds – Solon 23 (C. Levin, Holubar 5), Assumption 25 (Dorsey 7). Assists – Solon 3 (Holtkamp 2), Assumption 8 (Dorsey 3). Steals – Solon 5 (M. Levin 2), Assumption 8 (Dorsey 3). Turnovers – Solon 15, Assumption 14. Team fouls – Solon 15, Assumption 11. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.