SALINA — The Newton High School girls’ basketball team struggled early, but pulled away for a 43-31 win over Salina Central Friday in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Division I play in Salina. Newton improves to 11-3, 5-2 in AV-CTL I play. Central falls to 9-5, 4-3 in AV-CTL I play. Newton outscored Central 12-4 in the fourth quarter, hitting 12 of 18 free throws. “I told the girls in the fourth quarter, ‘they have seven team fouls, so we’re shooting the rest of the way, so lets not take outside shots or crazy shots’ ” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “I told them to dribble-drive inside or get hand-checked. We did a great job of that.” Emily Hiebert led Newton with 11 points, followed by Abbie Lehman with 10 and Taylor Stahly with eight. Lehman blocked three shots. Shaelyn Martin led Central with 10 points, hitting six of eight from the line. Lehman blocked Martin three times. “Emily did a great job on Emily Wood,” Jordan said. “Wood can go off for 25 points on you. Emily used a lot of energy keeping in front of her. We didn’t want her catching it clean. It was a great team effort on defense.” Newton got caught standing on offense early, turning the ball over and allowing Central to take a 5-0 lead. The Railers finally got a couple of transition baskets to tie the game 5-5. Central ended the period on a 5-0 run capped by an Emily Wood trey. “We got caught standing,” Jordan said. “After a time out, we started moving.” Newton made a 5-0 run to start the second quarter. The Railers took their first lead on a Taylor Stahly trey with 5:32 left in the half. A Stahley trey with five seconds left in the quarter put the Railers up 20-18 at intermission. Newton led by as many as five in the third quarter, missing chances to extend it. A layup by Hiebert and a short jumper by Stahly put Newton back up by four, 31-27, at the end of the period. The two teams traded turnovers early in the final period. Newton hit two of four free throws in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter. Lehman also blocked two shots in that span. Martin broke the Central shutout with a layup with 3:06 in regulation. Hiebert missed a pair of free throws with 2:02 in regulation, but Newton got the rebound, setting up a pair of Carlgren free throws 18 seconds later. A pair of Carlgren free throws with 49.3 seconds in regulation put the Railers up by 10, putting the game away. “We were guarding hard,” Jordan said. “We just didn’t give them layups or wide-open shots. Taylor hit some big shots in the first half that got us going.” Newton sweeps the season series with the Mustangs. Newton finally gets a weekend off and a day of practice before facing Salina South at 6 p.m. Friday at home. South beat Newton earlier this season. “It’s just been a brutal stretch,” Jordan said. “Fortunately, we’re not battling injuries and, I hope, illness is behind us. We’ve played some very difficult teams in this stretch. That will prepare of for sub-state. This win helps us for sub-state. South is playing really well right now. They have a lot of seniors. I’m glad we’re playing them at home. They are playing good basketball. We just have to keep working at it and improving.”

NEWTON (10-3, 5-2 AV-CTL I) — Porter 1 0-0 2, 2; Anderson 0 0-0 1, 0; Stahly 1 (2) 0-0 0, 8; Hiebert 4 3-7 0, 11; Lehman 4 2-4 2, 10; Langley 0 3-5 4, 5; H.Carlgren 1 5-6 3, 7; TOTALS 11 (2) 15-23 12, 43. SALINA CENTRAL (9-5, 4-3 AV-CTL I) — M.Carlgren 0 0-0 1, 0; Wood 1 (1) 0-0 4, 5; Morris 0 (1) 0-1 4, 3; Bradshaw 0 0-0 1, 0; Peters 1 (1) 0-0 3, 5; Hamilton 1 0-0 0, 2; Mayfield 1 2-2 3, 4; Harvey 1 0-0 2, 2; Martin 2 6-8 1, 10; TOTALS 7 (3) 8-11 19, 31. Newton 5 15 11 12 —43 S.Central 10 8 9 4 —31