The Newton High School girls’ basketball team shook off almost two weeks of inaction to down Andover Central 64-50 Thursday in the opening round of the Newton Invitational Tournament.
Newton, 8-2, takes on Bishop Carroll at 8:15 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. Andover Central, 7-4, takes on Garden City at 4:45 p.m. in the consolation semifinals.
Newton jumped out to an early lead and withstood several comeback attempts for the Jaguars.
“Being off two weeks, I wasn’t sure how we’d respond,” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “It’s been two weeks since we took the floor. This says something about our seniors. We are a senior-laden squad and they provided leadership.”
DesiRay Kernal led Newton with 22 points, hitting nine of 10 from the free throw line. Kyndal Bacon added 19 points, hitting three 3-pointers.
“Kydal was special,” Jordan said. “Her driving and penetrating that zone was special tonight. I told them at halftime, if they extended that zone like they showed on video, that would give them good driving lanes. We needed to stop settling for the three. I know Kyndal was feeling it on the threes, but we were making it way more difficult than we needed it to be. Desi did a good job of driving the lanes when we needed it.”
Central was led by freshman Bailey Wilborn with 17 points, followed by Ashtyn Brown with 14 and freshman Jaden Newfarmer with 11.
“All night, we guarded really well,” Jordan said. “(Wilborn) is a special player. (Ryann Stearns, held to five points,) is hard to stop. Kalli (Anderson) and Savannah (Simmons) did a really good job on her. Kalli gave (Wilborn) fits. She’s just so long and hard to shoot over. We guarded hard all night long. Offensive rebounding was special too. We had about six or eight in the first half. I don’t know how many we ended up with.”
Six Central turnovers allowed Newton to jump out 14-4 in the first 5 1/2 minutes of play. The Railers added four more points to the run after a Jaguar time out before Bailey Wilborne broke the run with a 3-pointer. A Kernal layup just before the buzzer put Newton ahead 20-7.
Newton caught the turnover bug to start the second quarter, allowing a 6-0 Central run. Bacon then scored seven straight points for Newton. A Savannah Simmons layup off a Jada Berry pass set up by a turnover put Newton up by 16 with 4:28 left in the half. Newton led by 18 at the half, 33-15.
Andover had 17 turnovers in the first half to seven for the Railers.
Newton led by as many as 22 early in the second half. Railer turnovers and fouls, including a technical on the Newton bench. allowed Central to get as close as 13. Newton came back with a Bacon jumper and a Simmons layup. A Kernal trey with two seconds left in the period put Newton up 51-33.
Fouls were 8-1 against Newton in the period. The first two fouls of the fourth quarter were called against Newton. A Jordyn Maddex trey with 4:10 to play got Central within 12. Newfarmer followed with a layup after a Railer turnover. Newton came back with a Bacon shot and two Kernal free throws. Central missed two free throws, but Kernal hit two with a minute to play to put Newton back up by 16.
Newton plays a Bishop Carroll team that downed Garden City by 30.
“They are long and hard to guard,” Jordan said. “We have to put pressure on the guards so they can’t see inside. Des will have her hands full. We can’t let them spot up and shoot. We have to run them off the 3-point line and make them put the ball on the floor. We’re pretty quick, but if we let them spot up inside-out, it will be a pretty long night. We’re going to get up and down the floor. We have to work the transition baskets. We have to make them guard us in the half-court. We’ll have to put pressure on them by running our stuff.”
ANDOVER CENTRAL (7-4) — Wolf 0 0-0 1, 0; Williams 0 0-0 0, 0; Stearns 1 3-4 1, 5; Maddex 0 (1) 0-0 1, 3; Newfarmer 4 3-4 5, 11; Boline 0 0-0 0, 0l Wilborn 2 (4) 1-4 3, 17; Brown 4 6-6 5, 14; Davis 0 0-0 1, 0; TOTALS 11 (5) 13-18 17, 50.
NEWTON (8-2) — T.Antonowich 1 0-2 1, 2; Simmons 4 0-0 2, 8; Anderson 0 0-0 2, 0; Bartel 0 2-2 0, 2; Nichols 0 0-0 0, 0; Bacon 4 (3) 2-2 2, 19; Kernal 5 (1) 9-10 2, 22; Berry 4 1-2 4, 9; Brewer 1 0-0 4, 2; Dorrell 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 19 (4) 14-18 18, 64.
Technical foul — New.: bench.