The rivalry game between the Solon Springs Eagles and the Northwood Evergreens created undeniable energy in the stands for the Eagles' home opener Tuesday, Nov. 16, but not enough to put the Eagles on top.

Though starting their season with a 63-40 loss, Solon Springs first-year head coach Sarah Smith said the game was a good start.

“Looking at the scoreboard you wouldn’t think we did well, but as a team, we’re satisfied with our performance,” said Smith. “We had picked wins that we would have without necessarily winning on the scoreboard, and we executed those things.”

The beginning of the game looked promising as Solon Springs junior guard Bailey Monson scored the first two points of the opening half, but Northwood quickly battled back and used height to their advantage to take a 4-2 lead.

Monson added two 3-pointers and was the only player to score for the Eagles in the first seven minutes of the game, leaving the Eagles trailing 13-8.

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Solon Springs’ Maddelyn Swanson (14) ties up Northwood’s Annika Patrick (1) to force a jump ball in the first half of the game in Solon Springs on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. 
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Solon Springs’ Maddelyn Swanson (14) ties up Northwood’s Annika Patrick (1) to force a jump ball in the first half of the game in Solon Springs on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Though she worked hard to secure those eight points, Monson alone wasn’t enough to stop the Evergreens from continuing to take control. The Evergreens' defense and rebound game became an advantage for the team as they led 29-16 at the end of the first half.

Although the Eagles were behind the Evergreens, they didn’t let it stop them from starting off strong in the second half. Junior guard Kyra Latvala added a 3-pointer less than a minute into the second half, while junior forwards Claire Holmstrom and Gretchen Hammond added two points apiece in the first three minutes, cutting the lead to 31-23.

The trio of Hammond, Latvala and Holmstrom proved to be dominant forces in the second half, scoring 9, 8 and 4 points, respectively.

The Evergreens might have taken the game, but long-time head coach Jason Schultz said he believes the team still has a lot to improve on.

Solon Springs’ Kyra Latvala (11) looks to pass around Northwood’s Annika Patrick (1) in the first half of the game in Solon Springs on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. 
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Solon Springs’ Kyra Latvala (11) looks to pass around Northwood’s Annika Patrick (1) in the first half of the game in Solon Springs on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

“It was obvious it was the first game of the year,” he said. “We have to be able to finish better. We have to be able to make layups. We have to be able to score when we get the opportunity to score. Inside, close to the basket, we’ve got to be able to make those shots. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Senior forward Emily Berg led Northwood with 15 points, followed by senior guard, Annika Patrick and Emmalee Golembiewski with 13 points apiece.

Despite the loss, there is no doubt that the Eagles have plans and high hopes for the rest of the season.

“For having such a young team, we really focused on swinging, getting the movement of the ball, and stopping the inside. We’re kind of a shorter team, but we’re a fast team, so being able to last a full basketball game and staying strong the whole game is something we need to improve on, but that will come as the season continues,” Latvala said. “We don’t have the biggest team, but we definitely held our own I think, and it’s a good start to the season. A very good start.”

The Eagles will be back in action Thursday, Nov. 18, at Siren High School to take on the Dragons.

Northwood’s Peyton Downs (23) catches a half court pass over the outstretched arms of Solon Springs’ Maddelyn Swanson (14) in the first half of the game Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Solon Springs. 
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram
Northwood’s Peyton Downs (23) catches a half court pass over the outstretched arms of Solon Springs’ Maddelyn Swanson (14) in the first half of the game Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Solon Springs. Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

Solon Springs 16-24 – 40

Northwood 29-34 – 63

Solon Springs — Bailey Monson 11, Kyra Latvala 8, Maddelyn Swanson 2, Claire Holmstrom 6, Gretchen Hammond 13.

3-point goals — Monson 2, Latvala.

Northwood — Annika Patrick 13, Isabel Golembiewski 7, Emmalee Golembiewski 13, Peyton Downs 11, Emily Berg 15, Keira Link 2, Elizabeth Link, 2.

3-point goals — Patrick 3, I. Golembiewski, Downs, Berg.