SALINA — The Newton High School boys’ basketball team would get a lead, let it get close and build it back up in a 67-53 win over Salina Central Tuesday in AV-CTL I play.
Newton’s win came after losing four of the previous five games. Central has a four-game winning streak snapped.
“It’s all part of the growing process for this team,” Newton coach Andy Hill said. “We just had to go through some phases like that early in the year where we didn’t always play well together. We had to learn how to stay poised and composed, how to show leadership and positive energy. All of those things that it takes to win. We have to learn this season. This doesn’t mark that we’ve arrived. We have to come right back and get to work tomorrow. It’s something you hope can jump start you and lead to something positive.”
The win was Newton’s first at Central since 2012. The Railers improve to 6-8, 4-2 in league play. Ninth-ranked (KBCA, Class 5A) Central drops to 10-4, 3-3 in league play.
Newton finished the game hitting 21 of 37 from the field, while Central was 18 of 49. Newton was 19 of 22 from the line, while Central was 10 of 21.
Damarius Peterson led Newton with 21 points, followed by Ty Berry with 19. Alex Krogmeier added 12 points.
Peterson scored 19 points in the second half, hitting nine of 11 free throws. Peterson hit eight of eight free throws in the final period.
“I struggled in the first half,” Peterson said. “I wasn’t in my rhythm. I came out better in the second half. We were setting up screens inside. I was able to get the ball. Ty was getting me the ball. I respect him. When he gets me the ball, I have to score. This is a big win. We get to celebrate tonight. I don’t know how long it’s been since we beat Central at their place.”
“(Peterson) is an X-factor for us,” Hill said. “When we get a great night out of him, we’re tough to beat. That was certainly the case tonight.”
Harper Williams led Central with 14 points, followed by Brogen Richardson with 10.
Newton jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first three minutes of play. Central got as close as four, but Newton extended its advantage to 10. Harper Williams hit two free throws with 2.9 seconds left in the period to get Central within eight, 16-8.
Newton led by as many as nine early in the second quarter. Central drew within two on a Williams layup with 2:46 left in the first half.
Newton took a time out and made a 5-0 run. A David Grammer putback at the buzzer got Central within four, 30-26.
Newton outscored Central 9-3 to open the second half, seven by Peterson, to take a 10-point lead. Central took a time out and got back in the game on a pair of Brogen Richardson 3-pointers. A Mark Grammer three-point play and a Richardson trey got Central within one with a minute left in the third quarter. Berry hit a trey with three seconds left to put Newton ahead 48-44.
Central got within two early in the fourth quarter, but the Railers came back with a 7-0 run capped by a Krogmeier trey with 4:45 in regulation. The Mustangs took a time out and hit three of eight free throws to get within six with 2:41 remaining. Peterson hit two free throws with 2:22 to play. Peterson hit with 1:16 to play to get Newton’s lead back up to 10.
Williams hit a trey with a minute to play, but Cailen Valdez and Peterson each hit two free throws.
“We tweaked some things on offense,” Hill said. “We had a week off after McPherson. We just made some tweaks, put some people in different positions. They all bought into it. They executed well.”
Newton plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Campus. The Colts are 6-7, 2-4 in league play, after a 51-43 win over Hutchinson. The Colts have won three straight. Newton beat Campus 66-57 earlier this season.
“They are playing very well,” Hill said. “They have won something like five out of six. They have some very talented guys. Things have fallen together for them all over the place. We’re going to have to step things up. We have to have two great days of preparation.”
NEWTON (6-8, 4-2 AV-CTL I) — Presley 0 (1) 0-0 3, 3; Valdez 1 4-5 0, 6; Krogmeier 3 (2) 0-0 3, 12; Hampton 1 0-0 2, 2; Jones 1 2-2 4, 4; Berry 3 (3) 4-4 2, 19; Peterson 6 7-9 4, 19; TOTALS 15 (6) 19-22 18, 67.
SALINA CENTRAL (10-4, 3-3 AV-CTL I) — Shaffer 0 (3) 0-0 3, 9; Richardson 0 (3) 1-3 0, 10; D.Grammer 1 0-0 0, 2; Speer 1 (1) 3-6 5, 8; Williams 4 910 3-4 1, 14; M.Grammer 1 1-2 3, 3; Altherton 1 1-4 3, 3; Kickhaefer 2 1-2 1, 5; TOTALS 10 (8) 10-21 17, 54.