By Mark Schnabel
Newton Kansan
SALINA — The Newton High School boys’ basketball team hasn’t had many leads this season, so Tuesday’s Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League cross division game at Salina South proved to be a new experience for the Railers.
Newton led by 13 at the half, but found itself trailing by the mid-point of the fourth quarter. The Railers recovered to claim a 46-43 win.
Newton hit 18 of 20 free throws in the game, 11 of 12 in the fourth quarter. Newton outscored South 18-3 from beyond the 3-point arc.
“We’ve never been there — never been ahead,” Newton coach Don Cameron said. “South came out and was the aggressor. We took really poor shots. That led to a lack of confidence, which led to turnovers. You have to credit South. They attacked the basket and we didn’t stop it. I was proud of the kids. In the last three minutes of the game, we showed some toughness. Austin Vermillion made some big baskets and some big free throws. Jon Alexander hit a free throw. We rebounded well in the first half. I thought (Matt) Moreland and Vermillion did well (rebounding). For us, that’s big.”
Vermillion and Tyler Rambo scored 12 points each for the Railers. Kyle Preston added 11. Vermillion hit a pair of treys in the second half that helped Newton.
“I was just thinking, we can’t blow a big lead like we had in the first half,” Vermillion said. “Tyler Rambo hit some really big free throws. That was a key to the win. The third quarter was a little shaky but in the last three minutes, we came together really well.”
“(Vermillion) played with a lot of confidence and a lot of composure,” Cameron said. “Rambo played with a lot of composure, keeping everyone settled. He takes a lot of hard (hits) out there.”
It was the second time in three games the Railers were able to win a game from the free throw line.
“We shoot a lot of free throws in practice,” Vermillion said. “Coach Cameron really emphasizes free throws. We had a lot of free throws. ... My dad is stressing shooting free throws under pressure.”
South, 2-9, was led by Andy Wiechman with 13 points.
Newton held South scoreless for the first 4:20 of the game, taking an 8-0 lead. South didn’t hit a field goal until the final minute of the quarter, getting a pair of fast-break layups, cutting the Railer lead to seven, 16-9.
The Railers opened the second quarter with a Kyle Preston three-point play. A pair of Alex Vermillion free throws with 28.8 seconds left in the half put the Railers up 13, 27-14, at intermission.
South was just four of 18 shooting with 11 turnovers. Newton was eight of 28 with three turnovers.
South opened the third quarter with an 11-2 run, taking advantage of Railer turnovers. A Trenton Forrester jumper with 3.3 seconds left in the period cut the Railer lead to two, 32-30.
Wiechman hit a putback with 4:45 left in regulation to tie the game. He followed with a layup 34 seconds later to give South its first lead of the game,
Jon Alexander gave Newton its first point of the fourth quarter, hitting one of two free throws with 3:21 left in regulation. Austin Vermillion followed with two free throws.
After a Devin Smith three-point play for South, Austin Vermillion hit a 3-point shot. Kyle Preston followed with two free throws to put the Railers up by three.
Adonis Jones hit a putback with 10.1 seconds left and was fouled, but missed the free throw, leaving the Railers up by one.
Austin Vermillion was fouled on the rebound, hitting both shots. A South trey fell short and Austin Vermillion got the rebound.
Newton improves to 4-9 and hosts Derby Feb. 5. The Panthers are ranked eighth in the Class 6A coaches poll.
“We’ll take a couple of days off,” Cameron said. “We need the rest. We have some guys banged up right now. The time off will help us.”
NEWTON (4-9) — Al.Vermillion 0 (1) 2-2 0, 5; Au.Vermillion 0 (2) 6-6 2, 12; Denno 0 0-0 2, 0; Preston 3 5-5 1, 11; Harms 0 0-0 1, 0; Rambo 1 (2) 4-5 3, 12; Dorrell 0 0-0 1, 0; Moreland 1 (1) 0-0 1, 5; Alexander 0 1-2 2, 1; TOTALS 5 (6) 18-20 12, 40.
SALINA SOUTH (2-9) — Unruh 1 0-0 3, 2; D.Smith 3 1-1 4, 7; D.Jones 3 0-0 4, 6; Wiechman 3 7-7 3, 13; Neuburger 1 (1) 3-4 2, 8; A.Jones 2 1-3 3, 5; Forrester 1 0-0 1, 2; TOTALS 14 (1) 12-15 20, 43.
Newton    16    11    5    14    —46
S.South    9    5    16    13    —43

Junior varsity
Newton 42, South 39

SALINA — The Newton High School junior varsity boys’ basketball team downed Salina South 42-39 Tuesday in Salina.
Newton led 20-18 at the half.
Newton plays Derby Feb. 5 at home.
NEWTON — Kingsley 7, Grosch 12, Denno 5, Kelsey 6, Dorrell 4, Lawrence 2, Alexander 6.
Newton    11    9    12    10    —42
S.South    11    7    9    12    —39

Freshman boys
South 54, Newton 48

SALINA — The Newton High School freshman boys were edged by Salina South 54-48 Tuesday in Salina.
Newton led 25-21 at the half, but gave up a 20-10 fourth-quarter run.
Newton plays Feb. 2 at home against McPherson.
NEWTON — Pauls 19, Walker 2, Krogmeier 7, Wright 12, Turner 2, Palmer 6.
Newton    10    15    13    10    —48
S.South    16    5    13    20    —54