The Newton High School boys’ basketball team was nearly run out of the gym several times against Salina Central Friday at Ravenscroft Gym, but each time, the Railers fought back. A Grant Walker banked a trey off the backboard with 3.6 seconds remaining in regulation, followed by a pair of Jacob Wright free throws, gave the Railers a 55-52 win. Newton trailed by seven with 4:49 to play, but made a 15-5 run to end the game. “We ran our offense pretty well,” Walker said of the final shot. “When it went off my hands, it was like, ‘Oh, wow!’ It went in, and everybody went crazy. It was like, ‘bank.’ At practice, we work a lot on conditioning drills. We just keep fighting. We finally got the lead, and put it away.” “I hit them when it counted,” Wright said. “Our team always believes we’re capable of winning. We always fight to the end. ... We just have to play within ourselves.” “I thought the banks closed in Newton after 4 p.m.,” Newton coach Don Cameron said. “After what happened to us (last week) against Hays, we were due one. ... I’m just proud of the guys. I always felt like we were on the verge of getting the momentum.” Newton, 2-2 overall and 1-0 in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I play, was led by Jack Kingly with 11 points. The Railers had six players with five or more points. Central, 0-3 overall and 0-1 in AV-CTL I play, was led by Treyton Hines with 14 points, Justin Bengtson with 12 points and Mark Vaughn with 12 points. Damion Cooper scored eight points in the fourth quarter. Newton’s bench outscored Central’s 14-0. “Our bench gave us a solid game,” Cameron said. “There’s not much difference between the bench and the starters. Gunnar Drinnen played about as well as he has. Jack Kingsley was steady. Brendan Downey really broke out tonight. Josh Robinson had some nice minutes. When we start shooting free throws, we’re going to be a whole lot better.” Newton struggled with shooting and turnovers early, falling behind 15-7 with 2:24 remaining in the first quarter. Newton got the last basket of the quarter on a short Krogmeier jumper. Newton drew within three early in the second quarter, only to give up an 8-0 run. Newton replied with a 7-0 run of its own to get back in the game. Jack Kingsley hit a trey at the buzzer to get Newton within two, 27-25. Newton was 11 of 21 from the field in the first half. Central was 11 of 18. Newton took its first lead of the game on a Gunner Drinnen layup off a steal with 5:18 left in the period. Newton led by as many as four in the period. Central cut it to two at the end of the period, 37-35. Central opened the fourth quarter with a 12-3 run. A Jacob Wright three-point play got Newton back within two with 3:36 remaining in regulation. Wright tied the game with two free throws with 2:46 in regulation. After a Vaughn layup broke the Railer run, Kingsley put the Railers ahead with a trey. Wright drew a charge and the Railers ran the clock down to 31.7 seconds. “That was big,” Wright said. “Krogmeier forced him baseline. I rotated over. We practice that every day and took the charge.” Vaughn put Central up on a three-point play with 21.1 seconds to play. After Walker’s trey, Wright stole the inbounds and was fouled with 1.1 seconds in regulation, hitting both free throws. Central missed a shot at the buzzer. “We did not come this far to lose it at the end,” Walker said. “We had to step up our game and get the lead back.” Newton plays at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Salina South. “They are playing very well right now,” Cameron said. “They are another very athletic team.”
SALINA CENTRAL (0-3, 0-1 AV-CTL I) — Grammer 0 0-0 0, 0; Cooper 1 (2) 0-0 4, 8; Bengtson 6 0-0 2, 12; Kuhn 0 0-1 4, 0; Kossow 0 0-0 1, 0; Hines 2 (2) 4-5 1, 14; Vaughn 5 2-3 4, 12; McNelly 3 0-0 3, 6; TOTALS 17 (4) 6-9 19, 52. NEWTON (2-2, 1-0 AV-CTL I) — Krogmeier 2 (1) 0-1 4, 7; Wright 1 5-9 2, 7; Morrison 0 0-0 2, 0; Drinnen 1 (1) 0-0 1, 5; Walker 2 (1) 0-0 1, 7; Carlgren 2 1-2 0, 5; J.Kingsley 2 (2) 1-2 2, 11; Downey 3 2-4 0, 8; Pauls 0 (1) 0-0 1, 3; Robinson 1 0-0 1, 2; Lehman 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 14 (6) 9-18 14, 55. S.Central 15 12 8 17 —52 Newton 9 16 12 18 —55