The Newton High School girls’ basketball team went ice cold from the field, while Salina Central shot the ball well in a 54-37 Mustang win over the Railers Saturday at Ravenscroft Gym in the Class 5A Sub-State finals.

Central, 15-7, advances to state Thursday in Topeka against second-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas. Newton misses a trip to state for the first time since 2014.

“Midway in the second quarter, we got locked,” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “We got put back on our heels. It really stunned us and we didn’t recover for the rest of the second quarter. That was enough to give Salina Central that lead. We made some uncharacteristic bad plays. Every time we did, Central just fed that on their momentum. We can’t do that because we’re not a very good shooting team from the outside.”

Elisa Backes led Central with 17 points, followed by Kadyn Cobb with 15 and Selah Merkle with 12.

Kyndal Bacon led Newton with 10 points.

Newton lost leading scorer DesiRay Kernal to a possible concussion in the second quarter.

Down 7-4, Newton scored the last four points of the period. Bacon put Newton in the lead with 17 seconds left in the period. Central had a shot blocked by Kernal just before the buzzer.

Newton was outscored 16-3 in the second quarter. Newton had five turnovers in the period. Kernal went down with 2:09 left in the half.

With 19.8 seconds remaining in the half, Newton was hit with its seventh foul of the half and a technical foul. Central hit two of three free throws and drew a foul on the following play, hitting both free throws to lead 23-11 at the half.

Newton finished the half three of 19 shooting, one of 10 in the second quarter. Central was eight of 14, five of eight in the second quarter.

Newton’s drought extended into the first four shots and nearly three minutes into the third quarter. Bacon hit a short jumper with 5:03 left in the period for the Railers. Kadyn Cobb replied with a trey, followed by one of two Backes free throws. Newton finished the period on a 7-2 run to get within nine, 31-22.

Bacon opened the fourth quarter with a three-point play. Kadyn Cobb hit a trey and one of two free throws to put Central back up by 10 with 6:25 in regulation.

A Backes trey and two Kadyn Cobb free throws put Central back up by 14 with 4:37 to play.

“It was one of those nights where I don’t know how many shots rolled around and came out,” Jordan said. “Loose balls would bounce right to them for layups and I’d have three girls on the floor fighting for the loose ball. I’m proud of them, watching them battle back to within six. Then it was boom, back to 12.”

Newton ends the season 15-7.

“I’m proud of their resilience,” Jordan said. “We lose Taylor at the start of the season. She comes back, then Savannah (Simmons) goes down. That’s 11 points a night. We have to completely revamp of offense and defense to make up that 11 points. Our kids were able to do that for most part.”

Newton loses six seniors — Antonowich, Simmons, Aubrey Nichols, Bacon, Jada Berry and Taylor Brewer. All but Nichols were starters this season.

“We had a great group of seniors,” Jordan said. “They came to practice every day and worked hard. I really wanted this for them. We’re looking forward to getting back there again, but you suffer setbacks. The sun will come up tomorrow. They have a lot to be proud of.

“We have to get (the underclassmen) in the gym. We have to develop some shooters. We’re going to talk about that. We have to develop some players.”

SALINA CENTRAL (15-7) — K.Cobb 1 (2) 7-8 2, 15; Griffin 0 0-0 4, 0; Ward 0 (2) 2-2 2, 8; E.Cobb 0 0-0 0, 0; Merkle 3 (10 3-6 4, 12; Backes 4 (1) 6-9 4, 17; Nash 1 0-0 2, 2; Sanderson 0 0-0 2, 0; TOTALS 9 (6) 18-25 20, 54.

NEWTON (15-7) — T.Antonowich 2 (1) 2-3 3, 9; Anderson 1 0-1 4, 2; Bartel 0 0-0 2, 0; Nichols 0 0-0 1, 0; Bacon 3 4-5 3, 10; Kernal 1 4-4 0, 6; Berry 1 6-10 4, 8; Brewer 1 0-0 4, 2; Dorrell 0 0-0 3, 0; TOTALS 9 (1) 16-23 24, 37.



Techincal foul — New.: Dorrell.