The Newton High School boys’ basketball team, mired in foul trouble for most of the game, came back from a pair of double-digit leads before falling to Dodge City 79-76 Tuesday night in the Railers’ season opener at Ravencroft Gym.
Dodge City was 14 of 32 from 3-point range and 26 of 59 from the field overall. Newton was five of 15 from 3-point range and 30 of 51 overall.
The loss spoils the start of Newton coach Andy Preston’s second tenure.
“That says a lot about our team’s character,” Preston said. “We were down something like 18 in the second half. We fought back. We were down in a hole all night. It would have been easy to hang it up and call it a night. We had too many fouls and too many turnovers. We need to learn to value each possession and there were times when we didn’t do that tonight. … You have to tip your hat to them for hitting some of their shots. We have to learn to take better fouls.”
Noah Sowers led 1-1 Dodge City off the bench with 19 points. Adrian Mendoza scored 18 points. Josh Johnson V scored 13 points.
Newton was led by Ty Berry with 32 points despite sitting for more than 10 minutes with foul trouble. Damarius Peterson scored 22 points. Jamieson Jones scored 10.
“Max Ruth and Owen Mills had good games off the bench,” Preston said. “Owen did some nice things. He’s a freshman. He’s a 14-year-old kid and out there playing varsity ball. Jaxon Brackeen did some nice things for us off the bench. Kolyn Sauceda did some nice things off the bench. I see a lot of positives. Our biggest enemy right now is us.”
Dodge City hit four of its first five shots, all from beyond the arc. Newton came back with the next eight points. The Railers got back within two on a Berry layup with under five minutes left in the period. A Jones layup with eight seconds left in the period kept Newton within three, 23-20.
Newton took its first lead on a Berry trey with 5:40 left in the period. Berry followed with a pair of free throws 20 seconds later. The Red Demons replied with a 6-0 run. Dodge led 43-36 at the half. Berry sat out the last 5:20 of the period with foul trouble.
Newton finished the half 13 of 25 from the field, but with 12 turnovers. Dodge City was 15 of 35 with five turnovers.
Dodge City led by 17 at the end of the period, 62-45. Berry picked up his fourth foul with 5:43 left in the period. Newton also was called for a technical in the period. Dodge City was just two of seven from the line in the period. Newton never got to the line.
Newton opened the fourth quarter with a 16-2 run capped by an Alex Krogmeier trey to get Newton within three with 5:34 to play. Krogmeier tied the game on a three with 4:43 to play.
After a defensive stop, Peterson hit a layup to put Newton up by two. Sowers broke the run with a pair of free throws with 3:21 to play, tying the game back up.
With the game tied and 1:32 to play, Dodge City was hit by a technical foul and Berry hit two free throws. Newton was called for three seconds on the possession, setting up a Mendoza trey with 1:05 to play.
Newton regained the lead 12 seconds later on a pair of free throws. Mendoza struck with another three. After a Peterson layup tied the game, Dodge City came back with a Sowers layup and one of two Cody Ibarra free throws. A Berry shot at the buzzer rimmed off.
“We started playing inside-out,” Preston said. “We started working the ball down low to Damarius and Jamieson. That opened us up from outside.”
Newton plays at Goddard Eisenhower at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Eisenhower, ranked ninth in the Class 5A coaches poll, fell to Maize 69-42 in its season opener Friday at home. Jordan Vincent led the Tigers with 17 points.
“They’re a good team,” Preston said. “Vincent is a good player. He’s at a high level. He’s just an old school player out there. They have a couple of other good players out there. It will be a good test for us. They run a lot of spread offense.”
DODGE CITY (1-1) — Speakman 0 0-0 0, 0; Friess Jr. 1 (2) 0-0 1, 8; Ibarra 0 (1) 2-4 4, 5; Smith 0 (2) 0-0 3, 6; Mendonza 2 (4) 2-5 1, 18, Foster 0 (1) 1-4 2, 4; Sowers 5 (1) 6-8 4, 19; Johnson 2 (3) 0-0 4, 13; Knedler 0 0-2 1, 0; Vela 2 2-2 1, 6; TOTALS 12 (14) 13-25 21, 79.
NEWTON (0-1) — Presley 0 0-0 4, 0; Brackeen 0 (1) 0-0 1, 3; Berry 8 (2) 10-11 4, 32; Sauceda 1 0-0 5, 2; Wondra 0 0-2 0, 0; Krogmeier 0 (2) 0-0 1, 6; Jones 5 0-2 1, 10; Peterson 11 0-0 5, 22; Mills 0 1-2 0, 1; Ruth 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 25 (5) 11-17 21, 76.
Technical foul — DC: Foster. New.: bench.