The Newton High School girls’ basketball team got off to a slow start, but was able to pull away in the second quarter to down Salina South 50-23 Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Class 5A sub-state tournament in Newton.

The 15-6 Railers host Salina South at 6 p.m. Saturday for a state berth.

“In the second half of the second quarter, we were playing basketball, but up to that time, we were sleepwalking,” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “We had no energy. There was no energy in the building. We were throwing the ball all over the place. It wasn’t like they were tipping passes. We were flat throwing it out of bounds. It was pretty scary. I haven’t seen this out of this team for a while. We had spurts where we looked like the team coming into sub-state. Then we would go flat. We would go flat for long periods of time. Offensively, we stood around at times.”

Kyndal Bacon led the Railers with 14 points, followed by Taylor Antonowich with 11 and DesiRay Kernal with 10.

“The turnaround was we were driving to the basket more,” Bacon said. “We started kind of flat, but then we started going to the rim. I know the other girls started driving more. We’re moving the ball more on offense. Before, we were just standing around on offense. We’re passing the ball better. Our defense overall has been going a lot harder.”

Bacon and Antonowich both blocked two shots.

“It’s something I think about,” Bacon said. “Sometimes, I will step out on a shooter to see what she does and then go after it.”

Gretchen Cox led 7-14 South with 10 points off the bench.

Each team was one of eight from the field in the first six minutes of play. After giving up a trey to open the game, Newton went on a 7-0 run. Newton led 7-5 at the end of the quarter.

The Railers scored the first five points of the second quarter on a Kyndal Bacon trey and a Taylor Antonowich layup, sparking a 12-2 run. South came back with a layup and 3-pointer by Allie Valdez to get back in the game.

Newton finished the half on a 9-0 run to lead 30-12 at intermission.

“Kalli (Anderson) was the spark there at the end of the second quarter,” Jordan said. “She gave us that energy. Until that point, we were flat.”

Newton held South scoreless for nearly seven minutes in the third quarter. A Cox three-point play with 1:09 left in the period broke the shutout. Regan Weatherd hit a layup at the buzzer to keep South within 21, 38-17.

Newton came within two points of starting the 30-point running clock midway in the fourth quarter, but instead gave up a 6-0 run.

Newton reserves played the last 2:22. South’s bench came in 25 seconds later.

“We talked about that, if we could maintain that 20-point lead, we would rotate girls out,” Jordan said. “We were able to rotate the starters in and out.”

Newton and Central split in the regular season. Newton lost the first meeting 37-32 in Salina, but won the second meeting 50-39. Central downed Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 61-56 to snap a three-game losing streak.

“We have to play our game,” Jordan said. “We have to play with way more intensity. I think we will. Both teams will bring a lot of energy and a lot of passion.”

SALINA SOUTH (7-14) — Zamecnik 0 0-0 4, 0; Gall 0 0-0 5, 0; Raubenstine 0 0-0 0, 0; Schreiber 0 0-0 1, 0; Connell 0 (1) 0-0 2, 3; Weatherd 1 0-0 0, 2; Valdez 1 (1) 0-2 2, 5; Maxton 0 0-0 0, 0; Marcott 0 (1) 0-1 2, 3; Cox 3 4-5 4, 10; Simon 0 0-0 0, 0; Schuman 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 5 (3) 4-8 20, 23.

NEWTON (15-6) — T.Antonowich 3 (1) 2-2 2, 1; Anderson 1 0-0 2, 2; Bartel 2 (1) 0-0 0, 7; Nichols 0 0-0 0, 0; Bacon 3 (1) 5-8 2, 14; Kernal 3 4-9 1, 10; Berry 1 2-2 3, 4; Brewer 0 0-0 3, 0; Gillispie 0 0-0 1, 0; L.Antonowich 1 0-0 1, 2; Dorrell 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 14 (3) 13-21 15, 50.

S.South;5;7;5;6;—23

Newton;7;23;8;12;—50

Class 5A Girls’

Sub-State games

East 1

St. Thomas Aquinas 59, Kansas City Wyandotte 15 

Leavenworth 39, Pittsburg 27

East 2

Mill Valley 57, Kansas City Turner 39

Blue Valley Southwest 57, DeSoto 39

East 3

Lansing 78, KC Washington 17

St. James Academy 49, Topeka Seaman 47

East 4

Highland Park 55, Olathe West 43

Kansas City Schlagle 65, Shawnee Heights 49

West 1

Liberal 52, Great Bend 26

Goddard 45, Valley Center 33

West 2

Bishop Carroll 61, Topeka West 31

Wichita Heights 67, Emporia 60

West 3

Andover 62, Maize South 58

Maize 47, Goddard Eisenhower 29

West 4

Newton 50, Salina South 23

Salina Central 61, Kapaun-Mount Carmel 56