In a clash of teams trying to stay in the AV-CTL I race, the Newton High School girls’ basketball team held off the Hutchinson Salt Hawks 42-34 Friday at Ravenscroft Gym.

Newton improves to 5-2, 3-2 in league play. Hutchinson drops to 3-3, 1-2 in league play.

“We didn’t always finish around the rim,” Newton coach Justin Schneider said. “We talked a lot about that during the break. At times, it seemed like we tried to draw fouls and didn’t try to score. Hutchinson is a good team. They are well coached. It just seemed like we never had the game in hand until the end.”

“We really got off to a poor start,” Hutchinson coach Casey Stiggins said. “(DesiRay Kernal) is a really good player. They played hard. We didn’t match their intensity. They beat us on offensive rebounds. We settled down in the second half and played better. We did a better job getting the ball inside.”

Newton was led by DesiRay Kernal with 17 points and Amanda Dorrell with 12.

“I think my confidence was a whole lot better,” Dorrell said. “Last year, I didn’t play a lot of minutes on varsity. This year, I had to step up my game. We scrimmaged a lot during the break. That really helped my confidence.”

Dorrell, at 5-foot-8, has been put in the low post this season because of the team’s lack of height.

“I know that when I’m on the court I have to be more aware on defense,” Dorrell said. “I have to know where the ball is going and try to use that to my advantage.”

“(Dorrell) really had a good feel for the game tonight,” Schneider said. “She knew when to take the shot and when to drive in for the layup. She had her best moments when she was driving.”

Hutchinson was led by Jayla Bynum and Mekenzie Hefley with 10 points each.

Newton jumped out 6-0 in the first 4:14 of the game as Hutchinson missed all five shots it took, while Newton was three of seven. Newton added one more basket to the run, but Hutchinson ended the quarter with a 4-0 run.

Hutchinson’s shooting woes continued into the second quarter allowing Newton to take a 20-10 lead at the half.

Newton finished the half seven of 23 shooting, while Hutchinson was five of 23.

Hutchinson opened the third quarter on a 6-2 run. Newton replied with a pair of Kernal free throws and a Megan Bartel layup off a Kernal steal and assist. Hutchinson ended the quarter on a 6-0 run to get within four, 26-22. Newton had four turnovers in the first half and five in the third quarter.

The Railers got back out by nine early in the fourth quarter. A Dorrell jumper with 2:38 remaining put the Railers back out by 10. Kernal followed with a layup set up by a Hutchinson turnover.

Newton plays at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Goddard, followed by Kapaun-Mt. Carmel at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the GWAL-AV-CTL Challenge.

“We have two really tough games with one day of rest between them,” Schneider said. “The girls are excited about the challenge. It will be tough going on the road. They are ready to take a break from league play. I don’t know a whole lot about Goddard. I have some film on them. They beat Salina Central this year, so that says something about them. We have to execute our game against them. We have to do a better job finishing at the rim.”

Hutchinson plays Tuesday against Salina South.

“We just have to rebound better and shoot the ball better,” Stiggins said.

HUTCHINSON (3-3, 1-2 AV-CTL I) — Krol 0 0-2 2, 0; Armbrust 4 0-0 2, 8; Williams 0 0-0 2, 0; Elmore 0 0-0 0, 0; Robertson 1 2-2 3, 4; Posch 1 0-0 0, 2; Bynum 4 2-4 5, 10; Hefley 5 0-0 0, 10; TOTALS 15 4-8 11, 34.

NEWTON (5-2, 3-2 AV-CTL I) — Kei.Gillispie 0 0-0 0, 0; Anderson 1 1-4 1, 3; Bartel 1 0-0 0, 2; Antonowich 1 0-0 2, 2; Zenner 1 (1) 0-0 0, 5; Kernal 7 3-5 1, 17; Slechta 0 0-0 1, 0; Cornejo 0 0-0 0, 0; Seirer 0 1-2 0, 1; Dorrell 5 2-2 2, 12; TOTALS 16 (1) 7-13 7, 42.