The Newton High School girls’ basketball team got some of its swagger back with its fourth win in a row Friday, stopping Salina Central 50-39 in the regular-season finale at Ravenscroft Gym.
The Railers avenge a 37-32 loss to the Mustangs from earlier this year. The win also puts Newton in a position to host a Class 5A sub-state next week, although the pairings are expected to be set this morning.
“Ever since the Derby game, from one night to the next, we’ve been playing better basketball,” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “It’s been really fun to watch to see how the team has evolved since the Derby game. If you look at the teams we’ve guarded, we’ve faced some awfully good teams and guarded them well. We made it difficult for them to score. Tonight, against their 2-3 zone, we were very disciplined, we moved the ball well. We took great shots all night long. In the second quarter, DesiRay (Kernal) just took over the game.”
Kyndal Bacon led the Railers with 19 points, hitting nine of 12 from the line. DesiRay Kernal added 17, hitting five of seven from the line.
“We extended the zone and Des just drove lanes and was so aggressive to the rim,” Jordan said. “Kyndal as well. We didn’t settle. That was the most pleasing thing for we. We took good shots. We rebounded like crazy against the zone and got second-chance points. We must have gotten 10 second-chance points.
For Central, Elisa Backes scored 22 points, including all 12 of the teams points in the first half. Central ends the regular season 13-7, 6-6 in the league. The Mustangs drop their third straight game and four of the last five.
“Central has some really good shooters,” Jordan said. “We did a really good job when Backes would drive it in and kick it out to the shooters.”
Newton jumped out to a 9-4 lead after the first quarter and led 23-12 at the half. Newton led by as many as 18 in the second half, leading 40-25 at the end of the third quarter. Central was able to cut the Railer lead to 11 by the end of the game.
Newton hosts its first post-season game Wednesday with the finals Saturday. Newton will have a coin flip with Maize for the third and fourth seeds.
“We’ll have to wait and see what happens,” Jordan said. “It’s pretty special to watch this group and how they rallied around the last few games. They’ve gotten so much better and smarter.
“The thing about our league and our tournament is it prepares you for this time of the season. It’s a battle every night. You’re not shocked or stunned by what you see from other teams.”
SALINA CENTRAL (13-7, 6-6) — K.Cobb 0 (1) 3-4 1, 6; Griffin 1 0-0 1, 2; Ward 0 (2) 0-0 1, 6; E.Cobb 0 2-2 4, 2; Merkle 0 1-2 4, 1; Backes 9 4-6 4, 22; Nash 0 0-0 0, 0; Sanderson 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 10 (3) 10-14 20, 39.
NEWTON (14-6, 8-4 AV-CTL I) — T.Antonowich 1 2-2 3, 4; Simmons 0 0-0 0, 0; Anderson 0 0-2 0, 0; Bartel 0 0-0 0, 0; Nichols 0 0-0 1, 0; Bacon 5 9=12 1. 19; Kernal 6 5-7 0, 17; Berry 1 3-6 5, 5; Brewer 0 (1) Gillispie 0 0-0 0, 0; L.Antonowich 0 0-0 0, 0; Dorrell 1 0-0 1, 2; TOTALS 14 (1) 19-29 12, 50.
The Newton High School girls’ basketball team led for all but nine seconds in Thursday’s 33-32 win over Maize in AV-CTL I play at Ravenscroft Gym, but the Railers quickly responded when the lead was lost.
Taylor Antonowich hit a layup on a feed from Kalli Anderson with 22.5 seconds remaining. The defense then prevented a shot in the remaining time.
“What a game,” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “I’m real proud of the girls. They didn’t hang their heads when they took the lead. We just came down and tried to keep the floor spread. They were really overplaying us and we were spread to try and give us driving lanes. Kalli caught it at the top and saw Taylor open. After that, we played really good defense. We tried to switch every thing we could. We didn’t want to give up a 3-point shot or drive to the lane. We had great help defense at the end. We tried to keep attacking. They made it tough. They are very athletic. We did a good job of making them guard us way past the 3-point line.”
Newton avenges a 45-42 overtime loss back in December. The two teams split the regular-season series.
DesiRay Kenal led the Railers with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Jada Berry added 10 points.
“I think the first time we played Maize, we underestimated them,” Berry said. “That overtime game really hurt us. Then we had to wait two days because of snow days. We just kept on wanting to play Maize. We just wanted to play our game. In the first half, we played with a lot of intensity. We just wanted it more. Coach gave us a lot of motivation. We executed what we wanted to do and I’m very proud of the team.”
Sydney Holmes led Maize, 13-6 overall and 7-4 in AV-CTL I play, with eight points.
Newton was more content this time to work the ball around the perimeter against Maize’s zone, although Newton did still have a few turnovers from trying to force the action inside. Down in the fourth quarter, Maize was forced to come out of the zone and try to pressure Newton full court.
“We’ve had a lot of practice working on the zone,” Kernal said. “We’re not a shooting team. Defenses are going to work a zone against us. We sometimes have to play a delay. We still need to be strong with the ball, but we’re just going to keep working.”
Newton jumped out 7-4, but then had five straight turnovers to prompt a 5-1 Maize run. Newton led 10-9 at the end of the period.
Newton outscored Maize 8-2 to start the second quarter. Newton led 18-13 at the half.
Newton struggled with fouls and turnovers in the third quarter, but Maize could only hit two of four free throws in the first four minutes to get within three. Berry broke the Railer drought with a layup with 2:30 left in the period. Sydney Holmes answered with a three-point play 15 seconds later. A Taylor Brewer jumper with five seconds left in the period put Newton up 24-18.
Kernal opened the fourth quarter with a putback. Halie countered with a three-point play and a layup off a steal. After a pair of Newton misses on one-and-bonuses, Emily Laham hit one of two for Maize to cut the Railer lead to two. Kernal hit two free throws with 3:17 in regulation.
Berry hit two free throws to put Newton up by four with 1:49 in regulation. Holmes countered with a 3-pointer. After a turnover, Autumn Hanna hit a pair of free throws to put Maize in the lead for the first time.
“When they got the lead, we were like, we can’t let this happen,” Kernal said. “We couldn’t foul because of foul trouble. They also were in foul trouble. When we went into our press break, it wasn’t very good. On that last possession, I passed to Kalli on the high post. She turned around and saw TA and TA finished it. When she scored, I knew we had it.”
Antonowich hit a layup with 22.5 seconds remaining, missing a free throw on the play. Anderson stole the ball just before the buzzer to preserve the Newton win.
“There were times when things weren’t going our way, the girls never hanged their heads,” Jordan said. “They just kept playing. This week has been a crazy week. We were supposed to play Tuesday — we didn’t. We were supposed to play Wednesday — we didn’t. I thought we played with a lot of passion and focus tonight.”
MAIZE (13-6, 7-4 AV-CTL I) — Onwugbufor 1 0-0 3, 2; Holmes 2 (1) 1-1 3, 8; Jones 2 2-3 5, 6; Cauthon 1 (1) 0-0 2, 5; Laham 2 2-4 2, 6; Hanna 1 3-4 3, 5; Miller 9 (2) 8-12 19, 32.
NEWTON (13-6, 7-4 AV-CTL I) — T.Antonowich 1 (2) 0-4 1, 8; Anderson 0 0-0 1, 0; Bartel 0 0-0 1, 0; Nichols 0 0-0 0, 0; Bacon 0 0-1 4, 0; Kernal 4 5-7 3, 13; Berry 3 4-6 4, 10; Brewer 1 0-0 1, 2; TOTALS 9 (2) 9-18 15, 33.
Bishop Carroll 15-5
Salina Central 13-7
Andover 12-7 0.632
Wichita Heights 12-8
Valley Center 10-9
Maize South 8-11
Kapaun-Mount Carmel 8-12
Salina South 7-13
Goddard Eisenhower 4-14
Topeka West 4-16
Great Bend 3-16