Playing two games in the span of about three hours, the Newton Railer eighth-grade boys' basketball team suffered a blowout and a close loss in the first two games of pool play in the Mid America Youth Basketball Summer Kickoff Tournament at Newton High School. The Railers opened with a 47-27 loss to the Orangemen, a team with players from Derby, Mulvane, Rose Hill and Maize. The Railers then fell to the GFS Ballers 53-47, a team with players from Glascow, Slater, Fayette and Prairie Home, Mo. "We're limited in numbers, that's our biggest problem," said Newton coach Dane Lawrence. "We're only playing four tournaments. This is our second tournament. We kind of mirror what the high school boys are doing. We play in the same tournaments they do. "We don't really practice. We just show up to play. With all the other activities these kids do — camps and football and weights — that's a lot of activities." The players will be freshmen at Newton this fall. The Railers dressed just six players. Newton finished both games with five due to a foul out. Against the Orangemen, Newton stayed in the game early, but a late run aided by the press allowed the Orangemen to pull away to a 19-10 lead at the half. The Orangemen made a run to start the second half and Newton was never able to recover. Tyson Love of Maize led the Orangemen with 11 points. Jordan Paul of Rose Hill added nine points. Newton was led by Nathan Ahrens with 10 points, all in the second half. Against the Ballers, Newton fell behind 6-0, but came back with a 10-point run of its own. The Railers led by as many as five late, but gave up a 13-4 run. Newton scored the last two baskets of the half to tie the game 23-23 at the half. In the second half, Newton led by as many as three early. Leading 31-30, Newton gave up a 12-2 run. The Railers drew as close as two in the remaining time, but could never get any closer. The Ballers hit enough free throws late to hold the Railers at bay. Newton was led by Ahrens with 19 and Logan Hamm with eight. For the Ballers, Adam Monning scored 17 and Kennedy Davis scored 14. Newton closes out pool play at 1:25 p.m. today at Ravenscroft Gym against Goddard Eisenhower, followed by bracket play. "We knew the first team we played," Lawrence said. "We didn't know much about the other team. The team we play tomorrow is from Goddard Eisenhower, except they picked up a really good player from Andover. I'm very pleased with the way we played. We have a few kids with not as much varsity experience. We have a few kids with some varsity experience, but they played well together. They shared the ball well. We're competing."
vs. Orangemen NEWTON — Aherns 10, Lawrence 4, Hamm 2, Blaufus 5, Shroeder 6. ORANGEMEN — Paul 9, Tabor 5, Jones 8, Love 11, Scantlin 7, Helbing 3, Calvin 4.
Newton 10 17 —27 Orange. 19 28 —47
vs. GFS Ballers NEWTON — Ahrens 19, Shroeder 5, Brenneman 4, Lawrence 6, Hamm 8, Blaufus 5. BALLERS — Hackman 7, Davis 14, McMillan 2, Wilkey 2, Phillips 9, Monning 17.
Newton 23 24 —47 GFS 23 30 —53