The Newton High School girls’ basketball team overcame a slow first quarter to pull away from Andover 51-31 Wednesday in the Class 5A sub-state semifinals.

Newton, 16-5, plays Valley Center at 7 p.m. Friday in the sub-state finals. Andover ends the season

“I was just real pleased with how we played,” Newton coach Randy Jordan said. “We’ve hit a difficult part of the season. Friday night (an overtime loss to Salina Central), I desperately wanted something positive to happen for them, and we came so close. We talked about it tonight, how we respond tonight will tell a lot about us. We executed well. We increased the tempo of the game. We got out in transition. We guarded hard. (Hayley Jones) was tough and we tried running some people at her. Kyndal (Bacon) did a good job on her, along with Maggie (Remsberg), Kalli (Anderson) and Savannah (Simmons). We tried to keep fresh people out there.”

DesiRay Kernal came off the bench to lead Newton with 14 points. Jada Berry added 12.

“We picked it up and played our game,” said Berry, who scored the first four points of the game. “(In the second quarter,) we talked about who was hurting us and how we could defend it. We rotated better. We played better as a team. I hope we can get another win and make it to state, but we have to take it a quarter at a time and a game at a time. We have to fix whatever mistakes we had when we played Valley Center last time.”

“Desi had her best game since December,” Jordan said. “She was amazing tonight. She did so many good things. Rebounding. Savannah had her best game since December. She looked more comfortable tonight running the floor. It’s a great time for these girls to get their confidence back. Jada played hard. She got hot early. She’s getting her confidence back. She guarded hard. She worked hard to get to the rim against their zone. There were times we didn’t attack the zone, but there were times when we found gaps in the zone. They had to decide if they would stay inside and guard Abby (Schmidt). We found those gaps. Abby is a great rim protector and that allowed us to guard hard.”

Isabelle Reynolds led Andover with 10 points.

“We had some injuries that kind of hurt us,” Andover coach Clint Cornelsen said. “We were missing our leading scorer. We came out and played hard. Kaitlyn Seabrook did a good job. We had a bad second quarter.”

Andover ends the season 6-15, losing just two seniors — Seabrook and Audrey Wolf, who was injured.

“We’re going to be young,” Cornelsen said. “We’re mostly freshmen and sophomores. Next year should be our year. We just have to work hard in the off-season and come together.”

Berry scored the first four points of the game on a 3-point shot and one of two free throws. The Railers then gave up a 7-0 run. A Kaitlyn Seabrook layup with seven seconds left in the period put Andover ahead 10-8 at the end of the first quarter.

Newton went on a 9-0 run to start the second quarter. Hayley Jones broke the run with one of two free throws with 2:45 remaining in the first half. All Andover was able to get in the rest of the quarter was a Kylee Gaddis layup. A Taylor Antonowich trey and a pair of Berry free throws with 1.3 seconds remaining in the half put the Railers up by 11, 24-13.

Newton finished the half four of five from the line in the first half, while Andover was two of seven. Fouls were 10-6 against Newton. Andover had 10 turnovers in the first half to six for Newton, two in the second quarter.

Newton’s lead ranged from 13 to nine points for most of the third quarter. A Megan Akers layup and a Kernal layup, both off turnovers, put Newton up by 15 at the end of the period, 39-25.

Newton opened the fourth quarter with a Kernal three-point play, sparking a 10-2 run, putting the game out of reach. Andover finally started to press down 19. The benched were emptied in the final 1:19.

“We showed more confidence and poise tonight,” Jordan said. “It looked like they were having fun. … They were tired. We ran them up and down the floor tonight.”

Valley Center, 14-7, reached the finals with a 37-27 win over Salina South. The Hornets overcame a 10-point deficit to claim the win, outscoring South 22-5 in the fourth quarter.

Newton beat Valley Center 51-40 in December.

“They’ve improved,” Jordan said. “We’ll have to battle the zone. What I’m pleased with is we played with confidence. I hope we can carry that over.”

ANDOVER (6-15) — Cornelsen 0 0-0 0, 0; Jones 3 2-6 0, 8; Middelton 0 0-0 0, 0; Phelps 0 0-0 0, 0; Day 0 0-0 0, 0; Gaddis 1 (1) 0-0 3, 5; Young 0 0-2 2, 0; Showalter 1 (1) 0-0 1, 5; Conley 0 0-0 0, 0; Wekamp 0 0-0 5, 0; Reynolds 5 0-0 2, 10; Seabrook 1 1-3 1, 3; TOTALS 11 (2) 3-12 14, 31.

NEWTON (16-5) — Antonowich 0 (1) 1-2 2, 4; Simmons 3 0-0 1, 6; Remsberg 0 0-0 3, 0; Nichols 1 0-0 0, 2; Bacon 1 3-3 3, 5; Kernal 6 2-3 1, 14; Bartel 0 0-0 0, 0; Berry 3 (3) 1-2 1, 12; Brewer 2 0-1 1, 4; Schmidt 1 0-0 4, 2; Akers 1 0-0 0, 2; Anderson 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 18 (2) 9-13 16, 51.