It was the greatest comeback of the season for the Newton High School boys’ basketball team, stopping seventh-ranked (KBCA, Class 5A) Salina Central 65-56 in overtime in AV-CTL I play at Ravenscroft Gym.
Newton was outscored 33-6 from 3-point range, but outscored the Mustangs 25-9 from the free throw line and 34-14 inside the arc.
Newton trailed by as many as 13, 11 early in the fourth quarter.
“In the first quarter, we settled for jumpers,” Newton coach Andy Preston said. “They guarded pretty well early. What hurts is they got multiple possessions with multiple shots. We couldn’t get stops. They were grinding us with their motion. We had a lot of negative stuff going on in the first quarter. We started to speed them up a little bit. We had some guys step up and got us back in the game. The crowd was big late. Our student body was loud. They were carrying us. We had a lot of guys playing sick. They were playing past their will.”
Damarius Peterson led the Railers with 22 points, hitting 10 of 10 free throws. Jaxon Brackeen scored 14 points, all in the second half, including overtime. Brackeen had both of the Railers’ 3-point shots. Ty Berry scored 13 points, hitting nine of 10 free throws. Alex Krogmeier added 11 points.
“In the first half, we were just playing selfish,” Peterson said. “We usually play as a team. We started slow in the first half. At halftime, we talked. We executed. I wouldn’t say I carried anything. We had a lot of guys who hardly playing varsity who were playing great defense. Jaxon hit some shots. We just played as one. This is big for us. We’re still low in the rankings. Teams are going to realize we’re a good team.”
“They were playing box-and-one on Ty the whole game,” Brackeen said. “We were going to find someone. I got two good passes and made the shots. All of the first half and a little bit in the second, we were settling. Then we started busting the rim and getting our confidence up.”
Harper Williams led Salina Central, 10-3 overall and 3-3 in league play, with 18 points. Mark Grammer added 15 points. The two combined for seven 3-pointers. Both fouled out in overtime.
Newton trailed 17-8 at the end of the first quarter, hampered by seven turnovers and lack of rebounding. Central hit five of 13 3-pointers in the quarter.
Central scored the first five points of the second quarter, but the Railers closed out the period with an 9-4 run, trailing 26-17 at the half.
Newton opened the third quarter with a Peterson layup, but gave up a trey on the other end. Back-to-back Brogen Richardson treys put Central up by 15 with 3:18 left in the quarter. Newton finished the quarter on a 7-0 run capped by an Alex Krogmeier three-point play to get back within eight, 36-28.
Central opened the fourth quarter with a trey, followed by a 5-0 Railer run.
A David Grammer three-point play with 4:56 in regulation put Central up by nine. Newton responded with an 11-0 run, tying the game on a Krogmeier layup and taking the lead on a Jaxon Brackeen jumper with 1:30. Watkins broke the run with two free throws with 1:19 in regulation to tie the game.
After Brackeen hit a trey for Newton, Watkins hit two free throws with 16.3 seconds in regulation. Berry hit one of two free throws with 14 seconds left. Watkins hit a layup at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
Down two in overtime, Brackeen put Newton in the lead with a 3-pointer. After a 3-pointer miss for Central, Berry was fouled on a drive with 39 seconds remaining. Central was also called for a technical. Newton hit all four free throws — two for Berry and two for Peterson. On the inbounds, Brackeen was fouled and hit two free throws.
Berry followed with two free throws.
Newton plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hutchinson. The Salt Hawks are 2-11, 0-6 in league play after a 55-40 loss to Derby Tuesday. Newton won the first meeting 56-42.
“They really run their stuff,” Preston said. “They are very methodical. They don’t like to run up and down. They are going to make us really guard. They are another team that can shoot the ball. We have to come into practice focused.”
SALINA CENTRAL (10-3, 3-3 AV-CTL I) — DeMars 1 0-1 1, 2; Richardson 0 (2) 0-0 1, 6; D.Grammer 1 (2) 1-1 1, 9; Driver 3 0-0 5, 6; Williams 2 (3) 5-6 5, 18; M.Grammer 0 (4) 3-4 5, 15; Kickhaefer 0 0-0 3, 0; Glen 0 0-0 2, 0; TOTALS 7 (11) 9-12 24, 56.
NEWTON (8-6, 4-3 AV-CTL I) — Brackeen 3 (2) 2-2 1, 14; Berry 2 9-10 4, 13; Sauceda 0 0-0 0, 0; Krogmeier 4 3-4 3, 11; Ray 1 0-0 1, 2; Jones 1 1-2 2, 3; Peterson 6 10-10 2, 22; Mills 0 0-0 0, 0; Edwards 0 0-0 0, 0; Ruth 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 17 (2) 25-28 12, 65.
Technical foul — SC: Williams.