Solon upsets No. 12 Washington
Second-chance baskets were the key as Solon knocked off No. 12 Washington 55-49 on Saturday night.
The biggest two came midway through the third quarter. The two teams were tied at 26 at halftime, but Solon missed its first six shots of the second half and the Demons opened up a 31-26 lead, the biggest advantage for either team. But Solon senior Emma Rickels grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked it out to senior guard Kristen Purdy for a 3-pointer and the Spartans’ first points of the second half.
On Solon’s next trip down the floor, Rickels grabbed another offensive board, but missed the putback. Teammate Jordan Smith grabbed the offensive rebound and passed it out to Purdy, who drained another 3-pointer to put the Spartans ahead 32-31.
“To me, the turning point was, A, we didn’t block out very well, and, B, they hit those two 3-pointers back to back,” Washington head coach Phil Long said. “They were shooting 20 percent from the 3-point line [coming into the game]. I told the kids to let them shoot the ball out there, and they stepped up and hit them, so that’s my bad.”
The Spartans (2-2) hit five of their 15 shots from beyond the arc in Saturday’s game. After Washington senior Johannah Vittetoe banked in a jumper in the lane to tie the score at 42 with just under seven minutes remaining, Solon junior Rylee Smith nailed a 3-pointer to give the Spartans the lead for good.
Senior Karly Kramer made a pair of foul shots and senior Kara Misel added another free throw as Solon built a six-point lead midway through the fourth quarter. Washington, which has struggled to score this season, was unable to get closer than four points the rest of the way.
“We don’t have the firepower for that,” Long said.
Solon out-rebounded Washington 40-31 in the contest, and the Spartans had 16 offensive rebounds that led to 16 second-chance points.
“These girls are just tenacious. They are,” Solon head coach Tony Nicol said. “They’re very tenacious on the boards, and it pays off in big situations like that.”
Washington (3-2) was out-rebounded for the second time this season. In both of their losses this year, the Demons were physically beaten by more aggressive Mid-Prairie and Solon squads.
“We can get pushed around pretty easily,” Long said. “It was the same way with the Mid-Prairie game. When we get big, physical kids who are going to pound it in at us, if we don’t sit down and block out, we’re going to be behind the eight ball all the time.”
Smith scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Spartans, and Rickels added 10 points and seven rebounds. Misel had 10 rebounds, and Kramer added eight.
Senior Sammy Ellingson, senior Beth Dillon and junior Stephanie Fishback scored eight points apiece for the Demons. Vittetoe, senior Lauren Kimball and junior Dema Giardino each chipped in six points.
Long wasn’t too worried about Washington’s second loss of the season.
“I wanted [to play] a good, quality 4A opponent we might see down the road at tournament time so we could measure where we’re at. That’s the reason I put them on the schedule,” Long said. “[Now] we’ve got a week to work before we play Fairfield.”