It was a tough week for the Regina girls basketball team with road losses to Cedar Valley Conference rivals Mid-Prairie and West Branch, so the Regals had one thing in mind Saturday in Solon.
“Coming off those two games it was time to win,” Regina’s Jenna Lehman said.
Regina used a full-court press to force 12 first-half Solon turnovers, built a lead as big as 14 points in the second half and cruised to a 51-44 victory.
Both teams played Tuesday and Friday nights before the Saturday afternoon game. But Regina still was ready to use 10 players and keep the press on the whole game.
“We had our roughest week with losses to West Branch and Mid-Prairie, so we wanted to come out with a win,” Lehman said. “Pressing the whole game is what we needed to do. The press kind of helps us keep going because a steal and a stop gets you energized to keep going. Then you do it all over again. It’s like a cycle.”
“They did a good job of trapping right over half court so you couldn’t reverse it,” Solon guard Kristen Purdy said. “I didn’t know where to go.”
“We have a lot of speed, so it really helps. When we double team, they obviously can’t get out,” Regina guard Katie Wick said. “We put all our fast girls in at the beginning so we can get out to a good start right away.
“At the beginning, I was a little iffy about it. We switched to 80, which is our man, and then we switched back to the 2-2-1 and that worked really well. We got them rattled right away.”
Solon coach Tony Nicol attributed the turnovers to “tired legs.” His team split its two WaMaC games this week, winning at Maquoketa on Friday.
“I felt like we were breaking the press, but once we broke the press, it was like, ‘Oh,'” he said. “We had let up instead of taking care of the ball, and I think a lot of it had to do with tired legs from last night.”
Solon adjusted at halftime, and the full-court pressure was not as effective in forcing turnovers.
“We definitely had people come to the middle in the second half,” Solon guard Rylee Smith said. “Then just keep reversing the ball.”
Regina led 30-21 at halftime and built that to 42-29 heading to the fourth quarter. Solon pressed in the fourth quarter as Nicol tried to shake things up, but Regina led by 14 as late as the 4-minute mark before Solon chipped away at the end.
Offense remained a challenge for the Spartans, who shot 35 percent from the field. The tired legs probably didn’t help there either. Purdy complimented Regina on always getting back quickly on defense and preventing any easy baskets.
Solon couldn’t stop Regina’s Lehman, who led all scorers with 20 points, 15 of which came in the first half when Regina took control of the game.
“I didn’t know what kind of defense they were going to be in,” Lehman said. “There were open gaps where you can drive, and you’ve got to take them and go.”
“The plan was to put our best defender on her and have two girls helping,” Nicol said. “You give up 15 points in the first half on a lot of drives to the basket from 25 feet. Again I think it’s tired legs. I think the girls wanted to do it; I just don’t think their bodies could quite get to the right spot. It’s not that they didn’t want to.”
Regina is 12-4 and Solon 8-7.
REGINA (51) – Katie Wick 3-5 2-2 8, Kennedy Brown 2-8 0-0 4, Hannah Seaman 0-1 0-0 0, Jenna Lehman 8-13 2-2 20, Jordyn Lehman 0-6 1-2 1, Gabby Dutchik 1-2 2-2 4, Megan Fackler 2-5 0-0 4, Hannah Stein 2-2 1-2 5, Nikki Becker 2-5 0-1 5, Cammy Verducci 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 20-51 8-11.
SOLON (45) – Kristen Purdy 2-8 0-0 6, Rylee Smith 3-9 5-8 12, Kara Misel 3-6 0-0 6, Karly Kramer 3-7 1-2 7, Emma Rickels 2-4 2-2 6, Emily Capper 0-0 0-0 0, Ali Herdliska 1-3 0-0 3, Shelby Gunnells 1-4 0-0 2, Jordan Smith 1-2 1-3 3, Rachel Purdy 0-1 0-0 0, Sydney Lawson 0-2 0-0 0, team 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-46 9-15.
3-point goals: Regina 3-13 (Brown 0-1, Seaman 0-1, Jenna Lehman 2-4, Becker 1-3, Verducci 0-4 ), Solon 4-14 ( Kristen Purdy 2-6, Rylee Smith 1-3, Rickels 0-1, Herdliska 1-2, Rachel Purdy 0-1, Lawson 0-1 ). Total fouls: Regina 17, Solon 13. Fouled out: Jordyn Lehman.