DERBY — The first time the Newton High School girls’ basketball team faced Derby, the 30-point running clock had to be employed.
The second time around proved much more difficult for the top-ranked defending Class 6A state champion Panthers in a 37-28 win over the Railers. It was the closest game 15-0 Derby has played this season.
Derby all-state post Kennedy Brown was held to 11 points on five of 13 shooting. Sophmore Jaidyn Schomp scored 10 points, hitting three of five from 3-point range.
“Claire Slechta did an amazing job on Brown tonight,” Newton coach Justin Schneider said. “She kept battling. That’s one of the top players you’re going to see in the state of Kansas. Down the stretch in the third quarter, we played with a lot of energy. We were so focused. We did a much better job against their press. We played a much better game in the second half. We took care of the ball better. Competing like that will go a long way for us. We need to continue to play with that energy.”
Newton was led by Jenisa Cornejo with 11 points. DesiRay Kernal scored eight.
Derby was held scoreless for more than three minutes at the start of the game as a Marah Zenner trey put Newton ahead. Turnovers late in the period allowed Derby to make a 9-1 run capped by an Alford trey at the buzzer.
Derby opened the second quarter with a two-shot foul and a technical against Newton, but only hit one of the four shots. Newton was held scoreless in the period until Lindsey Antonowich hit a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left in the half. Derby led 20-7 at the half.
Newton was just two of 22 shooting in the first half, while Derby was eight of 29. Newton had nine turnovers, six in the first quarter, to three for the Panthers. Fouls were 7-1 against Newton in the half.
Kernal opened the second-half scoring with a layup, followed by a Cornejo layup. Derby was held scoreless for 3:45 when Aliyah Myers hit a layup.
Newton pulled to within six on a Cornejo 3-pointer with 2:31 remaining. Derby replied with a pair of Schomp treys and a Brown free throw to lead 29-16 at the end of the period.
Cornejo opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer. Derby came back with a pair of layups.
A pair of Kernal free throws, a Kernal layup off a steal and a Cornejo trey got Newton to within seven with 4:48 in regulation.
Newton made several defensive stops. A Kernal layup got Newton within five with 1:31 to play. Brown replied with a a putback with 1:01 to play. Brown added another layup after a Railer miss.
Newton falls to 7-9, 4-5 in league play, and hosts Campus at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Newton topped the Colts 34-24 in the first meeting between the two teams.
“We’ll take the weekend off and have a practice on Monday,” Schneider said. “We’ll then get ready for Campus. We have almost all of our bodies back except Amanda (Dorrell). That really helped tonight. We had Mallory (Seirer) back for the first time in a few weeks. We played Lindsey a little more tonight. She gave us some really good minutes.”
NEWTON (7-9, 4-5 AV-CTL I) — Kei.Gillispie 0 1-2 0, 1; Anderson 0 0—2 2, 0; Bartel 0 0-0 0, 0; Antonowich 0 (1) 0-0 4, 3; Zenner 1 (1) 0-0 2, 5; Kernal 3 2-2 2, 8; Slechta 0 0-0 0, 0; Cornejo 1 (3) 0-0 1, 11; Seirer 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 5 (5) 3-6 12, 28.
DERBY (15-0, 8-0) — Nilles 1 0-0 0, 2; Myers 2 0-0 1, 4; Kennedy 2 0-0 0, 4; Schomp 0 (3) 1-2 2, 10; Alford 1 (1) 1-4 0 6; Mills 0 0-0 0, 0; Brown 5 1-7 2, 11; TOTALS 11 (4) 3-13 5, 37.
Technical foul — New.: coach.