The Newton High School girls' basketball team was good when it needed to be and lucky when it needed to be.
Jana Boston heaved up a 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation to tie the game against Andover Central in the first round of the Newton Invitational. Hannah Carlgren and Taylor Stahly hit the free throws in overtime to give the Railers a 52-46 win.
"I just knew I had to shoot it," Boston said. "It went in. I don't know how. The bank is open. I took a couple of shots (earlier in the game) that didn't go in. I just had to keep shooting. Eventually it would go in. It went in at a great time."
"You have to have some luck, and you have to play well, and we did," Newton coach Randy Jordan said. "I thought Jacque (Anderson) and Sarah (Bartel) did a wonderful job on (Skylar) Snodgrass in terms of not letting her get loose. We stayed on her hips on the screens. I thought our posts Hannah, Logan (Porter) and Payton (Roberts) did a great job with their athletic posts. They can put it on the floor a few times. If you give them the chance, they are going to the rim a lot."
Newton had 16 turnovers. Outside of five in the third quarter, it was one of the best ball-handling jobs the Railers did this season.
"We've been working on that," Jordan said. "We did take very good care of the ball. We were very patient. We tried to get the looks we wanted and make them guard us. We made 20-some free throws. The key was to make them guard us, taking the chance that they would hand check us or something."
Newton was 20 of 22 from the line, eight of 10 in overtime. Central was nine of 15, one of three in the fourth period.
Stahly led the Railers with 22 points, hitting five of eight from beyond the arc. Carlgren added 18 points, eight in overtime. Carlgren was 10 of 10 from the line, six of six in overtime.
"With the free throws, I was just feeling it tonight," Carlgren said. "Taylor was feeling it with the threes. Obviously, that's not meant for me. With the free throws in pressure situations, we've been practicing it and practicing it. It shows in games."
The win was Newton's sixth straight.
"It's been our attitude," Carlgren said. "We're not giving up. We know these next four games are going to be brutal. We come in with the attitude, 'We know we can win these games. We know we can play with these teams.' Sometimes we get so worked up, 'This team has a Division I athlete on their team, how can we play with them?' When we play together as a team, instead of five individuals, we can do anything. We've finally got that mentality."
In the first four minutes of play, Central hit a trey and Newton had a pair of free throws. Stahly scored the next eight points in the game. A pair of late Railer turnovers were converted by Central, cutting the Railer lead to two at the end of the period, 10-8.
Newton opened the second quarter with two free throws and a jumper for Hannah Carlgren, sparking an 8-2 Railer run. Central got back in the game with an Amanda Kakoulis trey and one of two Becca Schulte free throws with the Jaguars securing the rebound on the miss.
Central drew as close as one. A Logan Porter layup with four seconds left in the half put Newton up by four, 23-19.
Newton had just six turnovers in the first half, while Central had five.
A pair of Railer turnovers and a bunch of Central offensive rebounds led to an 8-3 Jaguar run to open the third quarter. A Stahly trey with six seconds left in the period put Newton back in the lead, 34-32.
Newton opened the fourth quarter with a pair of Carlgren free throws. Central answered with a Skyler Snodgrass layup and one of two Kretchmer free throws. A Schulte jumper with five minutes in regulation put Central back in the lead.
A Schulte layup with 3:01 remaining gave Central its biggest lead at three and forced a Railer time out. After a pair of Railer turnovers, Snodgrass missed the front end of a one-and-bonus with 58.4 seconds in regulation.
Newton missed a 3-point attempt on its next possession, but Central was called for a lane violation on a free throw attempt with 17.9 seconds. After Boston's trey, a Central shot at the buzzer was short.
After three missed Central shots to open overtime, Carlgren hit a pair of free throws. Kretchmar answered with a three-point play. After a Carlgren layup, Sarah Bartel missed the front end of a one-and-bonus for Newton.
Carlgren hit two free throws with 46.1 seconds left in the overtime to put Newton up by three. After a Central miss from 3, Stahly hit one of two free throws with 32.2 seconds to play. Kretchmar hit a layup with 16.8 seconds remaining. Stahly answered three seconds later.
Carlgren hit free throws with 4.6 seconds remaining to put the game away.
Newton, 8-2, plays top-seeded, top-ranked (KBCA, Class 5A) and unbeaten Kapaun-Mt. Carmel today in the semifinals. Central, 8-3, faces Dodge City at 4:45 p.m. today in the consolation semifinals.
Newton takes on Kapaun, looking for its third straight win over the Crusaders. Kapaun used a crushing defense to stop Dodge City 56-27 earlier in the day.
"All my attention was on Andover Central," Jordan said. "They are really good. It was a really good game. I'm going home tonight to watch video on Kapaun. I know they have everybody back from last year but one. We have to play our tempo and make them guard us — not wild shots or off-balance shots. I think the girls understand that. We need to make them guard us."
NEWTON (8-2) — Porter 2 1-1 2, 5; Anderson 0 4-4 4, 4; Boston 0 (1) 0-0 3, 3; Stahly 1 (5) 5-6 0, 22; Bartel 0 0-1 1, 0; Carlgren 4 10-10 4, 18; Roberts 0 0-0 1, 0; Akers 0 0-0 1, 0; TOTALS 7 (6) 20-22 16, 52.
ANDOVER CENTRAL (8-3) — Stamp 2 0-0 3, 4; Pederson 0 (2) 0-0 2, 6; Anaya 0 0-0 0, 0; Kakoulis 1 (1) 2-3 1, 7; Snodgrass 1 2-4 4, 4; Schulte 3 1-2 5, 7; Kretchmar 7 4-6 5, 18; TOTALS 14 (3) 9-15 20, 46.
Newton 10 13 11 7 11 —52
And.Ct. 8 11 13 9 5 —46