In the theology of basketball, a good defense can absolve the sins of the offense.
That was the case for the Newton High School girls’ basketball team Friday night in a 25-24 win over Bishop Carroll in the semifinals of the 42nd Newton Invitational at Ravenscroft Gym.
Kyndal Bacon scored a layup off a steal with 24 seconds to give Newton the lead. The Railers were able to keep the Golden Eagles away from the basket in the remaining time with Kalli Anderson blocking Allison McFarren at the buzzer.
“We were really having trouble getting through their zone,” Bacon said. We were moving the ball around. We just couldn’t hit our shots. We just played awesome defense. Taylor (Antonowich) played great. She got a steal for us; Savannah (Simmons), Kalli. Des(iRay Kernal) played hard inside. They were getting physical with her. I love my teammates. They played so hard. There was no worry. We just had to play with confidence.”
The block was Anderson’s first.
“I’ve never blocked a shot before,” Anderson said. “I was so scared. I played against (McFarren) in club basketball in middle school. That helped me. She’s a great player and an amazing defender. I had a great time. We just had to play hard on defense.”
“(McFarren) is an amazing player out there and so is (Ashton McCorry),” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “They were hitting a lot of threes last night, so we decided to guard hard. We challenged them not to leave (McFarren). I thought we guarded really well all night. We guarded together. Our biggest problem is we just couldn’t get shots to go down. We had some great looks. The girls were getting frustrated. I told them to keep taking shots and something is going to go down. The defense ended up winning for us.”
Newton was just 10 of 39 from the field, while Carroll was 11 of 24. Newton finished the game with just nine turnovers to 18 for the Golden Eagles. Carroll went one of eight from the line, while Newton was four of eight.
Newton broke the tournament record for the lowest score by the winning teamThe game was the third lowest scoring game in tournament history and was two points off the record set by Salina Central and Salina South in 1982 (South 26, Central 21).
Jada Berry led Newton with seven points. McCorry and Britney Ho each had six points for Carroll, 10-2.
Both teams struggled against the other’s zone early. Carroll led 9-6 at the end of the first quarter.
The only points of the first three minutes of the second quarter was a jumper by Newton’s Megan Bartel on the 3-point line. Allison McFarren answered with a layup about a minute later. A Hannah Landwehr trey put the Eagles up by six with 2:11 left in the half. Newton cut the deficit to four at the half, 16-12.
Carroll hit seven of 14 from the field in the first half, while Newton was four of 20.
Newton was two of nine shooting in the third quarter, while Carroll was two of five. The Eagles led 20-16 at the end of the period.
Carroll opened the fourth quarter with a Brittney Ho layup. Ashtyn McCrory followed with a six-foot jumper with 3:40 to play. That would be Carroll’s last points.
Savannah Simmons broke the Railer drought in the fourth quarter with a putback with 2:14 remaining. After a missed Carroll free throw, Jada Berry got Newton within four with a putback with 1:47 to play. Newton missed numerous opportunities to get closer until DesiRay Kernal hit one of two free throws with 56.3 seconds remaining and Simmons put in the missed shot on the rebound.
Bacon put Newton in the lead with a layup off a steal with 24 seconds in regulation.
“I could see Kyndal zomming in,” Jordan said. “I thought she might foul, but it was a clean steal. We were down one and didn’t want to foul. We thought they were getting shaky against our defense toward the end. I was so glad Kyndal didn’t give it up. She went right to the rim with it. That eliminates the chance of it getting tipped or something. I told them in a time out to go to the rim, don’t try to run an offense. God bless her, she did.”
Newton takes on top-ranked Bishop Miege at 5:30 p.m. today in the finals. Carroll faces Wichita Northwest at 6 p.m. for third place.
“We’ll get to run our man offense against Miege,” Jordan said. “We’re just going to guard hard. We’re going to try and guard as hard as we can and see if we have any energy left after tonight. We have a deep bench, but they are a really athletic team. They have two or three players who are Division I.”
NEWTON (9-2) — T.Antonowich 0 3-4 0, 3; Simmons 3 0-0 3, 6; Anderson 1 0-0 0, 2; Bartel 1 0-0 3, 2; Bacon 1 0-0 3, 2; Kernal 1 1-4 2, 3; Berry 2 (1) 0-0 4, 7; Brewer 0 0-0 0, 0; Dorrell 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 9 (1) 4-8 15, 25.
BISHOP CARROLL (10-2) — McCorry 3 0-0 4, 6; Schuckman 0 0-0 1, 0; Hageman 0 0-2 3, 0; McFarren 2 1-2 3, 5; Landwehr 0 (1) 0-1 3, 3; Ho 3 0-0 3, 6; Welsby 2 0-0 0, 4; TOTALS 10 (1) 1-8 17, 24.