Railer girls struggle in return

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan

The Newton High School girls’ basketball team returned to play with a 42-24 loss to Valley Center Friday in a non-league game at Ravenscroft Gym.

“We had a little run with COVID, so we had some girls in quarantine, and then we had some injuries which left us low on numbers,” Newton coach Tavis Leake said. “We’re a little exhausted but the kids played hard and are fighting. They are learning to play through that. We have a lot of young kids out there and they are still learning my system. Once we had two or three passes, we got much better looks. I told them if they make a mistake, make it playing hard.”

Valley Center, 3-4, was led by Kelsi Kinniburgh with 10 points. The win was Valley Center’s third straight.

Marah Zenner led Newton with 16 points.

Newton trailed 11-2, but a pair of Zenner free throws and a 3-point shot got Newton within six at the end of the period, 13-7.

Down six late in the second quarter, Newton gave up a 7-0 run to trail 23-10 at the half.

Seven Railer turnovers in the third quarter allowed Valley Center to lead 36-19. The Hornets continued to pull away in the fourth quarter. 

“It has been tough, but all of my girls are awesome,” Leake said. “They are all wanting to be learning. They all want to be improving. It’s a process and it won’t happen overnight.”

Newton plays Hutchinson at 4:30 p.m. today in a make-up game. The Railers host Salina South at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

VALLEY CENTER (3-4) — Edwards 1 (1) 0-0 0, 5; Eldridge 1 4-4 0, 6; Rice 0 0-0 1, 0; Britton 1 (2) 0-0 0, 8; Coash 3 1-4 2, 7; Niedens 0 0-0 1, 0; Hayden 0 0-0 1, 0; Hayden 0 0-0 1, 0; George 1 0-0 2, 2; Oliverson .2 0-0 0, 4; Kinniburgh 3 (1) 1-1 2, 10; TOTALS 12 (4) 6-9 9, 9, 42.

NEWTON (0-4) — Zenner 5 (1) 3-4 2, 16; Seidl 0 0-0 0, 0; Loewen 0 0-0 4, 0; Antonowich 0 0-0 2, 0; Koontz 1 (1) 0-2 1, 5; Hendrickson 0 0-0 1, 0; Ensz 1 1-2 1, 3; Edwards 0 0-0 0, 0; 34 0 0-0 1, 0; Blaylock 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 7 (2) 4-8 11, 24.

Val.Ctr.;13;10;13;6;—;42

Newton;7;3;9;5;—;24

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com

Newton senior Marah Zenner defends a Valley Center ball handler during play Friday. [MARK SCHNABEL/NEWTON KANSAN]
The starters for the Newton High School girls’ basketball team take the court against Valley Center. [MARK SCHNABEL/NEWTON KANSAN]
Newton freshman Abigale Koontz passes the ball Friday against Valley Center. [MARK SCHNABEL/NEWTON KANSAN]
Newton sophomore Olivia Antonowich guards a Valley Center player during non-league play Friday. [MARK SCHNABEL/NEWTON KANSAN]