Solon Comeback Comes Up Just Short in Semifinal Loss to Seventh-ranked Sioux Center
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Everything on the stat sheet pointed toward Solon being on the wrong end of a blowout in its 3A state semifinal on Thursday.
Solon shot 27 percent and was 5-of-27 from 3-point range.
The Spartans were outrebounded by 15, gave up 18 offensive rebounds and had their leading scorer in foul trouble essentially all game before fouling out.
It’s what a stat sheet can’t show that gave the Spartans a shot.
Second-ranked Solon (23-3) battled back from a 15-point second half deficit and had game-winning 3-pointer by senior Hilary Wilson bounce out as time expired in a 46-44 loss to Sioux Center at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moiens.
“What that sheet doesn’t say is what’s underneath that jersey,” Solon coach Jamie Smith said pointing to his heart. “Our kids have awfully big hearts. They just kept playing.”
Sioux Center (20-5) saw a 15-point third-quarter lead shrink to one in the final minute and held on as Wilson’s corner 3-pointer rimmed out as time expired to reach the title game for the fourth time in program history.
The Warriors will be seeking their first ever title when the take on fourth-ranked Benton Community (23-3) in the 3A title game at 8 p.m. on Friday.
“I just hoped and prayed it didn’t go in,” Sioux Center senior guard Willow Bleeker said of the final 3-pointer. “They had some great looks at the end, fortunately they couldn’t put them in which was good for us. I was just hoping and praying that one didn’t go in.”
Sioux Center took control of the game with an 8-0 first-quarter run and led 22-13 at the half.
The Warriors outrebounded Solon 28-8 in the first half while racking up 14 offensive rebounds that turned into 14 second chance points.
“After half we knew we were going to have to step it up,” Solon junior Mia Stahle said. “They were outrebounding us, which killed us, and we knew we had to step up our defense and gets stops and hopefully that would transfer over to our offense and we did that and came back but just couldn’t finish it out.”
The Sioux Center lead ballooned to 28-13 less than three minutes into the third quarter as the Warriors opened the second half with six straight points.
Solon started to chip away.
“We never stopped fighting,” Solon junior Hailey Miller said. “We really wanted it, we believe in each other so I knew we could come back.”
Solon close the quarter on an 11-5 run to trim the lead to 33-24.
Anna Quillin started a 8-0 burst in the fourth quarter with a conventional 3-point play that was followed by a 3-pointer by leading scorer Callie Levin.
Levin picked up her third foul of the game with 4:23 remaining in the first half, fouled out with 1:29 remaining and was held to eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.
That didn’t stop the Solon comeback.
“We just stepped it up on defense,” Miller said. “We switched to that 2-3 zone and that was stopping them pretty well and we knew we had to start driving more because they had a lot of fouls so we knew we could get to the free throw line.”
Solon trailed 43-36 when Levin fouled out.
The Spartans kept charging.
Quillin made two free throws, Miller scored on a steal and layup and two more Quillin free throws cut the lead to 43-42 with 38 seconds remaining.
“We wanted it so bad and we were going to fight until the last second until the clock goes off,” Stahle said. “We are never going to give up. Even if we are down by 30 we are going to play like we are ahead.”
Sioux Center made 3-of-4 free throws to get the lead back to 46-42 but Miller scored on a driving layup and Sioux Center turned it over on the ensuing in bounds pass.
Solon had a final opportunity to tie or take the lead but Wilson’s 3-pointer was just off the mark.
“We came all the way back and we put ourselves in position and we had open looks at the end,” Smith said. “I’ll take that any day of the week and they just didn’t go in.”
Miller had a game-high 17 points for Solon while Stahle added nine points and Quillin had six points and 11 rebounds.
Makenna Walhof had 14 points and seven rebounds for Sioux Center while Bleeker had 12 points and 14 boards.
“I just give the girls a lot of credit, Solon is a great team, very physical that’s probably one of the most physical games we’ve played,” Sioux Center coach Doug Winterfeld said. “They didn’t let us get comfortable early, I thought our girls just kind of fought through it and were able to find a way.”
Solon 4 9 11 20 – 44
Sioux Center 10 12 11 13 – 46
Solon (44) – Kobi Lietz 0-4 4-4 4, Hailey Miller 6-12 4-7 17, Mia Stahle 2-7 3-4 9, Callie Levin 3-13 0-1 8, Hilary Wilson 0-6 0-0 0, Claire LaDage 0-0 0-0 0, Anna Quillin 1-3 4-7 6, Totals 12-45 15-23 44.
Sioux Center (46) – Tatum Schmalbeck 1-6 2-3 5, Willow Bleeker 3-9 6-6 12, Reagan Jansen 2-3 2-2 6, Makenna Walhof 5-11 4-4 14, Cori Harald 0-3 2-2 2, Taya Gesink 0-0 0-0 0, Kennedy Kooi 0-6 1-2 1, Margo Schuiteman 0-3 2-2 2, Maci Schmalbeck 0-0 0-0 0, Makailyn VanderWaal 2-3 0-2 4, Totals 13-44 19-23 46.
3-point field goals – SOL 5-27 (Lietz 0-3, Miller 1-5, Mia Stahle 2-7, Levin 2-6, Wilson 0-5, Quillin 0-1), SC 1-9 (Schmalbeck 1-4, Harald 0-1, Kooi 0-4). Rebounds – SOL 28 (Quillin 11), SC 43 (Bleeker 14). Assists – SOL 6 (Levin 3), SC 7 (Bleeker 4). Turnovers – SOL 13, SC 18. Total fouls – SOL 21, SC 19. Fouled out – SOL (Levin), SC (Harald). Technical fouls – None.
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