EL DORADO – It was a barrage of threes. It was one after another and there was nothing Kapaun Mt. Carmel could do about it.
A season of frustration for the Railers seems to have turned around a season that had been filled with a lot to be desired. It started with Alex Krogeimer hitting a three from the left wing giving the Railers the early lead in which they would never trail.
“This could be that win that turns it around for us,” Newton head coach Andy Preston said. “We showed we can compete with the best in the state.”
The crème de la crème of Class 5A was brought down to earth after being the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Newton rolled to a third place finish with the win over Kapaun Mt. Carmel 83-56 on Saturday in the 52nd Annual Bluestem Classic at El Dorado High School.
“Really happy for the guys,” Preston said. “It doesn’t happen unless everyone buys in.”
They were shown to be mortals after losing to Great Bend on Friday night in the semifinals. Newton showed just how beatable Kapaun really is.
“We shot it really well tonight,” Preston said. “That can fix a lot of things.”
Jaheem Ray led the charge. Whether it was maneuvering the offense through the length of Kapaun to kicking it out to Krogeimer for a three. The energy led by Ray may have accounted for an extra 15 points if the Railers weren’t already shooting threes as if they were the Houston Rockets.
Krogeimer led the Railers with 26 points, including six threes. Ray finished with 18 points for the Railers.
"I'm all about finding my teammates," Ray said. "Alex [Krogeimer] made it easy for us tonight."
Ray hit a three from about Bethel College to end the first quarter and that’s about how the game went. Kapaun could do nothing to stop the Railers and the Railers took advantage.
“He’s a match up nightmare for guys,” Preston said. “He’s become such a facilitator for us.”
Without hitting a bucket inside the arc, the Railers led 47-29 at halftime. They had eight threes in the half while limiting Blake Danitscek to only two points for the game. He had his only bucket at the end of the first half on a buzzer beating layup.
Krogeimer came out in the second half, gunning from the arc once again and hitting with consistency. Newton had their biggest lead up 60-38 late in the third quarter.
"Our team just plays together," Krogeimer said. "It's fun to play with each other."
Back-to-back threes from Kapaun brought the lead under 20 points as the fourth quarter started to clock down. However, the hockey-style line changes was provided a mismatch for Kapaun.
“I think this catapults us into the second half of the year,” Preston said. “The guys are finally buying into what we’re selling.”
Kapaun never found a chance to get back into the game. The Railers shut it down and playing for 32 minutes in what may have been their best game of the season.
Newton will travel to Hutch on Tuesday, hoping to build something special off what they achieved in El Dorado.
“Now we have to get out and be consistent,” Preston said. “I’m excited to get back into the gym on Monday.”
Newton 19; 28; 14; 22 – 83
Kapaun 14; 15; 11; 16 – 56
Newton: Krogeimer 26, Ray 18, Brackeen 15, Petz 7, Sauceda 7, Mills 4, Edwards 3, Ruth 3
Kapaun: Johnson 19, Jones 12, Anciaux 8, Kennedy 7, Bezdek 6, Thengvall 2, Danitscek 2