Class 3A Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament
Solon 54, Dubuque Wahlert Catholic 46

Solon’s season will go on, thanks to a late run after the Spartans let an 11-point lead slip away.

Second-seeded Solon finished the game with a 16-4 run to beat seventh-seeded Dubuque Wahlert Catholic 54-46 in the final game of the state tournament’s opening day to earn a trip to the Class 3A semifinals.

The Spartans led for much of the game and responded with some big shots after Wahlert Catholic pulled ahead midway through the fourth quarter. Hailey Miller had three key baskets during the late run and led the Spartans with 21 points. Callie Levin added 17 points, including two critical 3-pointers and four straight free throws to finish things off.

Wahlert Catholic got 13 points each from Claire Lueken and Emma Donovan, with Donovan adding 12 rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal to her line.

Solon built an early 18-11 lead and stretched it to 29-18 on consecutive 3-pointers by Levin and Hilary Wilson, who finished with eight points. It was 29-22 at halftime and Solon continued to hold off the Golden Eagles until Lueken knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cap a 9-4 burst that pulled Wahlert into a 42-38 lead with 4:29 left.

That’s when the Spartans went back to work. Levin, who had been 3-for-15 from the field up to this point, buried two straight 3-pointers and Miller followed with three consecutive buckets inside. It was 50-44 Solon with a minute left and Wahlert never threatened again.

Levin, a junior who has committed to Iowa, then made her four free throws for the Spartans’ final points. Though she was just 5-for-17 from the field, she helped out in other areas by grabbing six rebounds, handing out three assists and making a steal.

Solon, improving to 23-2, made the state tournament for the first time since 2006 and is in the semifinals for the first time since winning the 2A state title in 1998. The Spartans will play again at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday.

Wahlert Catholic, in the tournament for the ninth time, finishes 18-7. This was the first loss to a 3A team for the Golden Eagles, who play a mostly 5A schedule in the Mississippi Valley Conference.

First-round action in Class 3A will conclude when third-seeded West Marshall meets No. 6 seed Sioux Center at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.