The novice Newton High School girls’ basketball team showed marked improvement in a 57-44 loss to Salina South Tuesday in AV-CTL I play at Ravenscroft Gym.

It was Newton’s highest-scoring game by 17 points. The Railers had just 14 turnovers, 13 under their average. It was Newton’s most competitive game of the season. Newton wasn’t knocked out of the game until the last six minutes.

“That was an improvement,” Newton coach Kate Bremmerman said. “We scored 44 points and one of our goals was to score 40 points. Alexis Epp had a really good night in the post for us. We cut down turnovers, that was in the right direction.”

Kylie Arnold led 3-1 South with 13 points, followed by Sydney Peterson with 12, Mariah Janda with 11 and Victoria Maxton with 10.

Jenisa Cornejo led Newton with 14 points. Alexis Epp added 10.

Down 12-4, the Railers made a 5-0 run. A Sydney Peterson layup with 3.5 seconds left in the first quarter put South up 14-9.

Epp scored the first basket of the second quarter for Newton. South came back with a pair of 3-pointers. Cornejo answered with Newton’s first 3-pointer since the season opener. South finished the quarter with an 8-3 run to lead 28-17.

South was 10 of 20 shooting in the first half. Newton was six of 19.

Newton scored the first four points of the third quarter, but then gave up the next six. Newton drew within eight in the final minute, but Janda hit a trey at the buzzer to put South ahead 41-30.

Newton opened the fourth quarter with an Epp basket. Janda answered with a three-point play in a 15-4 run. Cornejo broke the run with a pair of 3-pointers. A Keila Gillispie putback got Newton back within 12.

Newton is 0-4 and ends the calendar year at 6 p.m. Friday at Derby. The Panthers took third at state last year and are 3-1 to start this year, topping Maize 50-42.

“They are still pretty good,” Bremmerman said. “We’re going to work a lot on defense to get ready for them. If we can get our offense to click again like tonight, you’d hope the defense will come along. We’ll see if that will help us.”

SALINA SOUTH (3-1, 2-1 AV-CTL I) — Raubenstine 0 (2) 1-2 3, 7; Peterson 2 (1) 5-6 3, 12; Arnold 4 (1) 2-2 2, 13; Janda 1 (2) 3-3 1, 11; Latham 0 0-0 0, 0; Franco 1 0-1 1, 2; Howard 0 0-0 0, 0; Hamel 1 0-0 2, 2; Herbel 0 0-0 0, 0; Maxton 5 0-1 1, 10; TOTALS 14 (6) 11-15 13, 57.

NEWTON (0-4, 0-1 AV-CTL I) — Kei.Gillispie 4 1-2 3, 9; Valle-Ponds 0 0-2 2, 0; Ken.Gillispie 1 0-0 3, 2; Antonowich 0 2-2 3, 2; Loewen 1 1-1 1, 3; Cornejo 1 (4) 0-0 1, 14; S.Entz 2 0-1 0, 4; Epp 5 0-0 4, 10; TOTALS 14 (4) 4-8 17, 44.

S.South;14;14;13;16;—57

Newton;9;8;13;14;—44