Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Trailing by a point entering the fourth quarter Solon coach Jamie Smith had a message for junior Hailey Miller before the final eight minutes of Monday’s Class 3A state quarterfinal.
“I just told her going into the fourth quarter you have to score,” Smith explained. “You have to get to the rim, you have to at least look like a scorer.”
She didn’t just look like a scorer in the fourth quarter she was one and an extremely good one at that.
Miller scored 10 of her game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter as second-ranked Solon (23-2) rallied for a 54-46 win over eighth-ranked Dubuque Wahlert at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“She’s a scorer,” Smith said. “She wants the ball and the fourth quarter she was huge. She was the difference.”
Smith scored six consecutive points to snap a 44-all tie as Solon closed the game on a 13-2 run.
The win was the first state tournament victory in 25 years for Solon which will face the winner of the final 3A quarterfinal between Sioux Center and West Marshall in a 3A semifinal on Thursday at 3:15 p.m.
“Coach told me to start driving because he thought I could get to the rim,” Miller said. “We were down, we needed baskets so I just drove.”
Miller gave Solon the lead for good with a driving basket with 2:55 remaining.
The junior guard gave the Spartans a 48-44 lead with another baseline driving hoop with 1:55 remaining.
She put the game away with her final basket with 1:00 left.
“Coach told me that I could keep getting to the rim so I kept driving,” Miller said. “We put in a new play for me to get to the rim and it worked perfectly.”
The 21 points for Miller and 19 from leading scorer Callie Levin helped Solon offset a big second half from Wahlert that saw the Golden Eagles erase a seven-point halftime deficit.
Miller had 13 of her game-high 21 in the second half accounting for more than half of the Spartans second-half points.
“I love Hailey, we’ve played basketball together for so many years and being able to see her succeed is amazing,” Levin said. “She is a great basketball player and she is easy to play with.”
Solon used an 11-2 second-quarter run to take a 29-22 halftime lead.
Wahlert needed a little more than four minutes to erase that halftime deficit, opening the third quarter with an 11-3 run.
“Wahlert came out with a lot of energy in the third quarter and some of that was built off the last two minutes of the first half,” Smith said. “They are good, I think they are really, really good. They are athletic, they are strong and they are tough to guard.”
Wahlert led by as many as four in the fourth quarter and took a 44-41 lead on an Emma Donovan layup with 3:52 remaining.
Solon tied the score on a Levin 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.
“We have a bunch of girls that can hit a bunch of shots,” Levin said. “When we get down we know we are going to fight back and that’s what we did.”
Then Miller took over.
She scored the next six points in an 11-0 Solon run that gave the Spartans a 52-44 lead with 37 seconds remaining.
“I 100 percent believe in Hailey Miller more than she knows,” Smith said. “We ran some stuff for her late, we thought we saw some matchups where she could get to the rim. She’s a winner.”
Emma Donovan had 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead Wahlert while Lueken had 13 points and five rebounds.
Anna Quillin had 10 rebounds for Solon which was outrebounded 35-31 but largely kept the taller Golden Eagles at bay in the post.
“We knew that they had height and we knew we had to box out especially Donovan and Lueken,” Quillin said. “They are really good players so we knew that those two were the two to keep off the glass that we had to block out.”
Dubuque Wahlert 13 9 13 11 – 46
Solon 18 11 5 20 – 54
Dubuque Wahlert (46) – Olivia Donovan 2-10 0-0 4, Maria Freed 2-3 4-4 8, Nora King 4-13 0-2 8, Emma Donovan 5-11 2-4 13, Claire Lueken 6-15 0-0 13, Claire King 0-2 0-0 0, Kylie Sieverding 0-0 0-0 0, Ruth Tauber 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 19-55 6-10 46.
Solon (54) – Kobi Lietz 1-4 1-2 4, Hailey Miller 9-17 1-2 21, Callie Levin 5-17 6-6 19, Mia Stahle 1-2 0-0 2, Hilary Wilson 3-5 0-0 8, Claire LaDage 0-0 0-0 0, Anna Quillin 0-2 0-0 0, Totals 19-47 8-10 54.
3-point field goals – SOL 8-17 (Lietz 1-4, Miller 2-5, Levin 3-6, Wilson 2-2), DW 2-9 (Maria Freed 0-1, King 0-3, E. Donovan 1-1, Lueken 1-3, King 0-1). Rebounds – SOL 31 (Quillin 10), DW 35 (Donovan 12). Assists – SOL 8 (Levin 3), DW 7 (Freed, King 2, E. Donovan 2). Turnovers – SOL 10, DW 10. Total fouls – SOL 12, DW 13. Fouled out – DW (E. Donovan). Technical fouls – None.