Sometimes you just have to find a way, any way, to get a win.
That was the situation the Solon girls basketball team was in Friday and the way the Spartans found to win was with defense.
Solon outscored Maquoketa 10-0 in the third quarter to overcome a one-point halftime deficit and held on for a 37-31 win in a foul-filled WaMaC matchup.
The Spartans evened their season record at 4-4 with the win and improved to 1-4 in WaMaC play.
“Coming out of the break, especially after we had our last game snowed out, so you are talking two and half, three weeks between games, you never know what you are going to get and you just have to find a way to win,” Solon coach Tony Nicol said. “We will definitely take the win.”
Playing its first game since Dec. 17, Solon committed 25 turnovers and shot 35 percent from the field but held Maquoketa (3-5, 3-4) scoreless for more than 10 minutes to open the second half.
Solon outscored Maquoketa 17-0 during the opening 10:03 of the second half, turning a 16-15 deficit into an insurmountable 32-16 lead.
“We started off a little rough, but we picked it up when we needed to,” senior Rylee Smith said. “The breathing was a little tough when you haven’t played a game in three weeks, but we picked it up in the second half.”
After struggling on the offensive end in the first half, Solon got a lift from its defense after halftime.
The Spartans forced 13 Maquoketa turnovers in the third quarter while holding the Cardinals scoreless.
Solon scored six points on breakaway layups following steals in the third quarter as the Spartans opened up a 25-16 lead.
“We know we have athletes so we are always trying to generate some offense with our defense,” Nicol said. “Tonight, we really needed that.”
Madi Shafer gave Solon a 17-16 lead 18 seconds into the second half on a short jumper.
The Spartans then took control of the game with steals and layups by Nichole Oberthien and Josie Durr.
Durr’s second steal and layup of the third quarter gave Solon a 25-16 lead with 1:10 left in the third quarter.
Maquoketa was 0-for-6 from the field in the third quarter as Solon took control of the game.
“I just thought our girls executed our defense exactly the way we talked about,” Nicol said. “They just did a great job.”
Smith scored on a driving layup one minute into the fourth quarter, Shafer scored on a putback, and Ali Herdliska hit Solon’s only 3-pointer of the game following a steal to put Solon up 32-16 with 6:22 left.
“We talked about defense a lot at halftime,” Smith said. “Obviously, that was a big difference for us in the third and fourth quarters.”
Maquoketa made things interesting in the fourth quarter.
The Cardinals cut the lead to 32-24 on a basket by Allison Vandemore with 3:37 left, but a basket by Sydney Lawson made the score 34-24 and Maquoketa wouldn’t get closer than six the rest of the way.
Solon held Maquoketa to 28 percent shooting and forced 28 turnovers as the Spartans won their third straight game.
“Defensively, this team gets it,” Nicol said. “They play very hard and are in good position.”
The two teams combined for 49 fouls and shot a combined 48 free throws, but Solon did just enough to win.
Durr led Solon with six points as nine Spartans scored Friday.
“It was a little rough tonight, but we are working on it,” Smith said. “It’s great to get this first one after break. Now we just need to keep improving.”
Vandemore led Maquoketa with a game-high 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Maquoketa (31) – Taylor Bickford 0-6 2-4 2, Amy Wirth 0-2 1-4 1, Allison Vandemore 4-9 2-4 10, Chiara Atienza 1-3 1-4 3, Kailie Hazer 2-4 0-1 5, Aubree Taylor 1-3 4-6 6, Kaleena Wilkins 0-2 2-2 2, Liz Gavin 1-3 0-0 2, Totals 9-32 12-25 31.
Solon (37) – Nichole Oberthien 1-4 2-4 4, Molly Walkner 2-3 1-2 5, Rylee Smith 1-3 0-4 2, Candice Kucera 1-2 1-2 3, Ali Herdliska 2-5 0-0 5, Madi Shafer 2-3 0-0 4, Sydney Lawson 1-4 2-6 4, Alex Henry 1-3 2-2 4, Josie Durr 3-8 0-0 6, Shelby Gunnells 0-5 0-2 0, Totals 14-40 8-22 37.
3-point field goals – SOL 1-8 (Smith 0-1, Herdliska 1-3, Lawson 0-1, Henry 0-2, Durr 0-1) MAQ 1-6 (Bickford 0-1, Hazer 1-3, Wilkins 0-1, Gavin 0-1). Rebounds – SOL 36 (Herdliska 7), MAQ 32 (Vandermore 10). Turnovers – SOL 23, MAQ 28. Total fouls – SOL 23, MAQ 26. Fouled out – Bickford, Atienza, Taylor. Technicals – None.