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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Railers open NIT with Carroll

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  • The Newton High School girls’ basketball team is about to embark on its toughest test to date, hosting the 37th Newton Invitational, which begins today at Ravenscroft Gym. “It’s going to be a war every night, when you consider the competition at this tournament” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “It’s going to be a great experience for us. It will help us get ready for the finish of our regular season and our post-season. There are several teams capable of winning this tournament — and we’re one of them. “It’s going to force us to play the best basketball we have all season just to keep us from going 0-3 or 1-2. We’re capable of it.” The 8-1 Railers host the 6-3 Bishop Carroll Eagles in the 8:15 p.m. game. Newton is ranked third in the Class 5A coaches poll. “It’s hard to believe they are the seven seed,” Jordan said. “I had a coach telling me Olathe Northwest was the fifth seed. It shows the quality of the teams in this tournament.” Jordan said Carroll is a very disciplined team. “They are very patient,” Jordan said. “They can shoot the three, so you can’t just sit back on them. We match up real well. It just depends on how well we execute. They are very well coached and very disciplined.” In the second round, Newton will face either 9-1 Garden City or 5-3 Bishop Miege. Garden City is ranked seventh in Class 6A. Miege is ranked 10th in 5A. “Miege is much better than they were last year,” Jordan said. “They are much better than their record shows. They have a point guard who is really, really quick. She finds a lot of gaps in the defense and puts a lot of pressure on defenses to keep her out of the lane. They are very patient. “Garden City is very athletic. They’ve got great size. They are 6-1, 6-2. They use their size well. They pressure you full court. They try to force you to turn the ball over. They are legitimately ranked. It’s been a long time since they’ve been ranked.” On the other side of the bracket are top-seeded and top-ranked (Class 5A) Kapaun-Mt. Carmel (9-0), Goddard (1-8), ninth-ranked (Class 5A) Andover Central (7-3) and fifth-seeded (Class 6A) Olathe Northwest (6-3). Kapaun is the defending Class 5A state champion, while Northwest took second at state in Class 6A. “Kapaun has a lot of size,” Jordan said. “They can shoot it well from the outside. We’re a good match-up against them. We handled them last year. We were one of a very few teams to beat them. We have to keep them out of the lane, not let them dribble-drive and keep them off the free throw line. “Andover Central deserves to be ranked. They played a very good schedule. Their division turned out to be very good. Olathe Northwest plays a very difficult schedule. They are better than what their record shows. They have one, probably two Division I plays. Goddard will compete. They played a very difficult schedule.” Jordan said the team has the physical stamina of three games in three days. He said the team’s mental toughness will determine how far the Railers advance. “We can’t play a half a game at a high level and rest a half game,” Jordan said. “These teams are too good. We match-up well with everyone. We need to play a complete game. The closest we came was Hutchinson. Against Valley Center (last week), we played with a lot of composure. They got within one, and we could have folded our tent, but we didn’t. That shows me there is some mental maturity with this team. This weekend will tell me a whole lot more.”
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