EMPORIA — It was almost a repeat of last season’s opener for the Newton High School girls’ basketball team against Emporia Friday in Emporia.

Only this time, instead of watching a big lead evaporate late and having to hold on, the Railers held the lead, winning 48-35.

The Railers struggled on offense in the first half, but was able to come through in the second half for the win.

“The first quarter, you could definitely tell it was our first game,” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “In the second half, we took much better care of the ball. You could tell it was a much different game. In the second half, we defended better. We ran our run-and-jump well. Our bench played phenomenal. Megan (Bartel) had the game of her high school career. Kalli (Anderson) and Aubrie (Nichols) and Lindsey (Antonowich) all came in and defended well. The run-and-jump took its toll on Emporia in the third quarter, mentally and physically. We have some things to work on. We gave up some things inside that we need to eliminate. We got out well in transition. We controlled the tempo of the game for most of the game.”

DesiRay Kernal was held to three points in the first half, but finished with 17. Savannah Simmons added 12 points.

“In the first quarter, it was our first game and we just needed to get the butterflies out,” Kernal said. “We were so tempted to make an error. We just needed to get it out of our system. When we came into the locker room, we talked about what we needed to do. We got out all of our anger. In the second quarter, we showed Emporia what we were made of. My team behind me was there to support me.”

Kernal missed last year’s game against Emporia because of a concussion in the pre-season.

“This was my first year playing them,” Kernal said. “We knew what we had to do. The first half wasn’t as pretty as it needed to be. The second half, we showed what Newton was made of.”

Newton was without Taylor Antonowich due to a hamstring injury. She is expected to be out for the next couple of games.

Emporia was led by Taylor Milleson with 13 points.

Four missed layups and a turnover put the Railers down by three early. Newton came back with a 5-1 run, but turnovers prevented the Railers from extended the lead any further. Mya Tovar hit a pair of free throws with 1:16 left in the period to put Emporia up 6-5. Newton had nine turnovers in the quarter to seven for Emporia.

Newton opened the second quarter with a 10-2 run, getting some early layups off steals. Emporia came back with a pair of free throws and its first field goal of the period on a #2 layup. Newton ended the quarter on one of two Bacon layups, followed by a put-back to put the Railers ahead 18-12 at the half.

Newton was eight for 21 shooting in the first half, while Emporia was two for 10. Newton cut back to three turnovers in the second quarter, while Emporia had nine.

Newton opened the second half with a pair of free throws and a trey by Kernal. Emporia responded with a pair of Milleson layups. Newton led by as many as 15. Taylor Cooper hit two free throws with no time remaining in the period to get Emporia within 11, 36-25.

Newton jumped out 5-2 to open the fourth quarter. A pair of Tovar layups got Emporia back within 10 and forced a Railer time out. Up by nine, Simmons hit a pair of layups to put the Railers up 46-33 with 1:25 to play.

“The second half, we played much better basketball,”

Jordan said. “It wasn’t perfect, but we were unselfish and we got it out in transition. They got within nine a couple of times and we had the answer. In the third quarter with Desi in foul trouble, we went to a point zone. We still played hard on defense.”

Newton hosts Goddard Eisenhower at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Ravenscroft Gym.

“They are a scrappy team,” Jordan said. “They do a lot of trapping. We have to make it a track meet. We need to control the tempo. We need to get out in transition.”

NEWTON (1-0) — Simmons 6 0-0 0, 12; Anderson 0 0-0 2, 0; Bartel 2 0-0 1, 4; Nichols 1 0-0 2, 2; Bacon 2 2-4 3, 6; Kernal 4 (1) 6-7 4, 17; Berry 1 3-5 2, 5; Brewer 1 0-0 5, 2; L.Antonowich 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 17 (1) 11-15 19, 48.

EMPORIA (0-1) — Cooper 1 2-2 1, 4; R.Fornelli 1 0-0 0, 2; Chapman 0 0-0 0, 0; Christensen 0 (1) 2-4 3, 5; Breshears 0 (1) 0-0 2, 3; Davis 1 1-3 3, 3; Schmid 0 0-0 1, 0; Tovar 2 4-6 1, 8; Milleson 6 1-2 4, 13; TOTALS 10-19 15, 35.