of them, Solon held off Wadsworth 37-34 on Saturday in a battle of
Division I state powers and a rematch of a 2006 state semifinal contest.
Using a six-girl rotation and avoiding catastrophic fifth fouls to any of them, Solon held off Wadsworth 37-34 on Saturday in a battle of Division I state powers and a rematch of a 2006 state semifinal contest.
With junior guard Kirsten Holmes already out with a possible torn ACL and senior center and all-around leader Erin Wisner sitting for long stretches, Solon needed someone to step up. Enter Robin Gilmore.
The senior forward scored 10 points to go with a game-high seven rebounds and hit perhaps the biggest shot of the game with just under four minutes left.
Wadsworth, which trailed 32-21 late in the third quarter, pulled within 32-28 on a lay-up by Old Dominion signee Rachel DeMita. Her team needing something – anything – Gilmore calmly canned a 3-pointer at the other end.
“Robin's the type of player that nothing fazes her,” said Comets coach Julie Solis, whose team improved to 9-0. “That's why I love her so much. Nothing bothers her. She went into the game and she wasn't nervous. I talked to her before the game and said, 'You've got to be a big part of today offensively.' And she hit two threes.”
Gilmore's bomb was the only field goal Solon made in the final quarter and the Comets' only points in the period until a pair of free throws by Junior Dana Banda with 16 seconds left.
Banda's foul shots, her only points, were the final points in the game and came with Solon leading by a point. Wadsworth missed a pair of 3-pointers, including a 25-footer by Chrissy Pavlik at the final buzzer.
For the Grizzlies, it's been a season of frustration. Their 7-3 record includes two losses by three points and another in overtime to teams with a combined record of 28-1.
They still very well might be one of the best Division I teams in the state, but just don't look like it for sustained stretches.
“In all three games, there were things that if we would have done better, we'd have won the game,” Wadsworth coach Andrew Booth said. “Tonight was the same thing. We had 23 turnovers, we go 3 for 7 at the line in the fourth quarter, 1 for 11 from three, and we still have chances at the end to win it.”
In some respects, the game couldn't have gone better for the Grizzlies. Wisner, the Comets' 6-foot-3 center and a Miami (Ohio) recruit, scored 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and had five rebounds, but spent long stretches on the bench in foul trouble.
“Wisner takes a lot of pressure off us, but everyone else has to step up and do better,” Gilmore said.
The upside for Solon was the Comets showed they could win with their best player on the bench.
“It's huge,” Solis said. “That's what makes us so good this year. We are a true team.”
Now they have to find some more members. Of the dozen who dressed against the Grizzlies, half didn't play. The loss of Holmes – who went down in practice this week in a non-contact play and who will have an MRI Thursday to find out the extent of the injury – leaves them very thin.
With Wisner, Banda and Kaitlynn Zoller all finishing the game with four fouls, Solis' hand was nearly forced.
“There's a number of kids it could be, it's just a question of who is going to step up,” the coach said. “I was frustrated with my kids down the end, but they were dying. I was very proud of how we finished. We're going to have to find somebody.”
The Comets were out of gas against the much deeper Grizzlies, who played eight girls for significant minutes and nine altogether.
Wadsworth got solid efforts from DeMita and Pavlik, both of whom finished with 11 points. Seniors Steph Hicks and Britt Busson, and freshman Robyn Rotterschmidt each had six rebounds.
The Grizzlies certainly had their chances. A second-half stretch of nearly 11 minutes without a field goal – a span that included just five missed shots, thanks to 12 turnovers – was indicative of how things went for them.
“We're not clicking on all cylinders, that's for sure,” Booth said. “If we ever can put together 32 solid minutes, we can be dangerous.”