SALINA — The Newton High School girls’ basketball team again got caught flat-footed against a zone, leading to a 37-32 loss to Salina Central Tuesday night in AV-CTL I play in Salina.

The loss was Newton’s second straight as the Railers fell to 9-4, 3-3 to end the first half of league play. Central improves to 11-3, x-x in league play.

“We did have a lot of movement,” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “We had a lot of standing. Then when we did move, we didn’t have a lot of purpose. We didn’t get to an open area. We’d move and be behind a Central defender. I couldn’t reach them. And we missed a lot of shots. I thought we had some wide-open looks — not only under the basket, but out on the perimeter. I thought it was going to be a long night when we let (Myah Ward) loose twice in the first quarter for a wide-open shot. We scouted her. We knew what she could do and we leave her. That’s telling on how things went later on.”

Newton finished 11 of 42 from the field, while Central was 13 of 29.

Elisa Backus led Central with 10 points. Jada Berry led Newton with 13 points.

“Backus is tough to guard,” Jordan said. “Taylor (Antonowich) did everything she could do. The problem was we weren’t putting near enough pressure on the ball and they could find Backus. When we put pressure on their guards, Taylor was fine.”

Newton was without starting guard Savannah Simmons because of a knee injury suffered against Miege.

Three Myah Ward treys in the first 4 1/2 minutes of play put Central up 9-2. Newton took just one shot and had three turnovers in that span. Layups by Berry and DesiRay Kernal got the Railers within three at the end of the period, 9-6.

Newton opened the second quarter with a pair of Kyndal Bacon free throws and a Berry layup off a steal. Central came back with two Backus layups. Central added another layup to get out by five, but Newton cut it to one at the half, 17-16.

Newton finished the half six of seven from the free throw line in the half, while Central didn’t take a free throw. Fouls were 7-6 in Newton’s favor.

Central opened the second half with a trey. Newton replied with a 7-0 run that included a Berry trey. The Mustangs ended the period on a 9-2 run to lead 30-25.

Berry opened the fourth quarter with a short bunny shot off a turnover. Neither team scored again until Backus hit one of two free throws with 3:53 in regulation. Backus hit two more free throws 30 seconds later. Backus hit one of two with 1:11 to play to put Central up by seven.

“It’s like jet lag or something,” Jordan said. “We weren’t ready to play coming out of the tournament. We missed too many easy shots.”

Newton plays at 6 p.m. Friday at Campus and hosts McPherson Monday in a make-up game of a weather-related postponement. Campus is 2-10 after a 42-26 loss to Hutchinson.

“We have to figure this out because teams are going to continue to zone us,” Jordan said. “We missed Des a lot inside. It looks easy to get the ball to her from the stands, but it’s a lot harder to do it on the court. We had our chances and missed a lot of shots.”

NEWTON (9-4, 3-3 AV-CTL I) — Antonowich 1 0-1 3, 2; Anderson 0 0-0 1, 0; Bartel 1 0-0 1, 2; Bacon 2 2-2 1, 6; Kernal 2 5-8 3, 9; Berry 4 (1) 2-2 2, 13; Brewer 0 0-0 3, 0; Gillispie 0 0-0 1, 0; Dorrell 0 0-0 1, 0; TOTALS 10 (1) 9-13 17, 32.

SALINA CENTRAL (10-3, 4-2 CTL I) — K.Cobb 2 (1) 1-2 4, 8; Ginther 0 0-0 0, 0; Griffin 0 0-0 2, 0; M.Ward 0 (3) 0-0 0, 9; E.Cobb 0 0-0 1, 0; Merkle 3 1-1 1, 7; Backes 3 4-6 3, 10; Nash 0 1-2 1, 1; Sanderson 1 0-0 5, 2; TOTALS 9 (4) 7-11 17, 37.