The Solon Springs girls basketball team won a pair of games this week, winning at Frederic 50-32 Monday, Dec. 28, and then downing Drummond 45-44 the next day at home.
The Eagles started slow against Frederic before picking up the pace to take a 27-19 lead at halftime, with their pressure defense giving the Vikings fits.
“We took advantage of their turnovers and turned them into easy points,” Solon Springs coach Adam Bielmeier said. “We had the momentum and wanted to keep it.”
The Eagles did just that, playing excellent defense in the second half to help keep Frederic at bay. Sophomore guard Bailey Monson filled the stat sheet with 16 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and five assists while Kyra Latvala added 14 points, four rebounds and six steals.
“I was proud of how the girls played,” Bielmeier said. “They give everything they’ve got when they are on the floor. This was a good game for us to get.
“Bailey has shown a lot of growth from her freshman year to this year. She not only has become an offensive threat, her defense has been fantastic. She is usually matched up against the other team’s top girl and she never steps down from the challenge.”
Jori Gehl and Muree Ahlberg each scored six points while Maddelyn Swanson added five. The Eagles are doing it with inside play, as Izzy Molina’s 3-pointer was their only 3-pointer of the game.
On Tuesday, Dec. 29, Solon Springs knew it was going to be a tough contest against Drummond and it certainly turned out to be. The Lumberjills consistently play very solid defense, forcing opponents to try to find ways to score.
The first half was a struggle, with Drummond taking a 21-18 lead into the break. Monson helped lead the charge in the second half as she finished with 14 points, five rebounds and five steals.
Gehl added a season-high 10 points and five steals, Swanson had nine, including a clutch 3-pointer late in the second half, and Latvala chipped in seven before taking a charge in the second half and going down with an injury that would keep her out of the remainder of the game.
Drummond was able to stretch the lead to nine points before Monson and Swanson created chaos atop the Eagles’ 2-3, creating steals that led to fastbreak points. Gretchen Hammond’s basket gave them their first lead.
“This was a fun and intense game to be part of,” Bielmeier said. “We were able to battle back and take a lead with about a minute left.”
The Eagles (4-3) weren’t able to hit all their free throws, giving the Lumberjills the ball with 10 seconds remaining down by four. They went down and hit a deep 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining. After a turnover on the inbounds attempt, Drummond (1-3) had the ball under its own basket with 1.8 seconds remaining. The Lumberjills were able to get off a shot from about 15 feet but it hit the back of the rim and went out.
“Just when things looked like they were going to be over, our girls fought through the adversity and battled until the very end,” Bielmeier said. “We had girls step up and take on roles that they may not usually need to. Through the ups and downs of the game, we didn’t give up and tap out. This was an awesome game for our girls to battle through and pull out. It showed our resilience and ability to fight.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier as the Eagles host South Shore in a doubleheader starting with the girls game at 5:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 4, with the boys to follow in what will be the Eagles’ first game of the season. Fans will not be allowed for any games against Bayfield County schools, whether home or away.
“I am so proud of these girls,” Bielmeier said. “All I ever ask is they give me everything they got and they always do. They are a fun group to coach and I look forward to seeing what we can do next.”