Railer girls get off to slow start

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Newton senior Lexi Valle-Ponds, right, defends Salina South's Kylie Arnold during play Tuesday at Ravenscroft Gym. Valle-Ponds scored 15 points, 10 in the fourth quarter, to pace the Railers.
Newton sophomore Oliva Antonowich scored 10 points Tuesday in a 51-39 loss to Salina South. Newton plays Friday at Derby.
Newton sophomore Camryn Entz defends a shot during play Tuesday at home against Salina South.
Newton senior Marah Zenner scored 10 points Tuesday against Salina South.

The Salina South girls had the defensive touch in the first half, while the Newton Railers struggled to find their offense until the second half in a 51-39 Cougar win Tuesday night at Ravenscroft Gym.

South claimed its first win of the season.

“We needed to play defense tonight,” South coach Ryan Stuart said. “Our schedule has been brutal, to be honest. We’ve played some really good teams. I feel like our team is a little bit better than our record indicates. We aren’t in it for 32 minutes very often, but we were tonight. We got off to a pretty good start. We held Newton to 10 points in the first half. That was the key.

“We needed a win bad. We’ve played Maize, we’ve played Derby, we’ve played Salina Central, we’ve played Maize South, we’ve played Goddard Eisenhower. All of those teams are very dangerous. We lost a game to Hutchinson I thought we could have had. We were up by seven in the third quarter. But this is huge.”

South was led by Kalysa Hamel with 11 points. Sydney Peterson and Elizabeth Franco scored 10 points each.

“In the first half, we were a little bit out of it today,” Newton coach Tavis Leake said. “The team in the second half, if we can play like that, we can scare people. That’s the team I think we are. I can’t wait for us to become that team.”

Newton, 0-6 overall and 0-3 in league play, was led by Lexi Valle-Ponds with 15 points, 10 in the fourth quarter. Marah Zenner and Olivia Antonowich each added 10 points. Hayley Loewen scored the other four.

“I’m trying to tell them all to be a threat,” Leake said. “They should all be a threat. They’re learning that as they play. Lexi turned into a spark. We can all be a spark. We have to not get punched first.”

South jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Newton broke the shutout when Valle-Ponds hit 1 of 2 free throws with 3:07 left in the period. South led 10-5 at the end of the quarter.

Both teams struggled in all aspects of the offense in the first three minutes of the second quarter. Newton opened the scoring with a pair of Zenner free throws, but turnovers allowed South to make a 7-0 run. South led 24-10 at the half.

Newton hit just 2 of 11 from the field in the half with 12 turnovers.

South opened the third quarter with a 6-0 run. A Kylie Arnold trey with 15 seconds left in the period put South up 40-20. Newton opened the fourth quarter on a 10-5 run. Newton finished the period one point shy of doubling its output from the first three.

Newton plays Friday at 5-1 Derby.

“They play hard and they play physical,” Leake said. “I’m going to try and prepare our team to be the best we can be. We just need to play hard.”

South plays at 6 p.m. Friday at Campus, 3-2.

“They’re a team playing a lot better than in years past,” Stuart said. “They already have three wins. They beat Hutch and they beat Andover. They have a pretty solid junior class led by Tya Tindall. They will be a challenge.”

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com

SALINA SOUTH GIRLS 51, NEWTON 39

S.South;10;14;16;11;—;51

Newton;5;5;10;19;—;39

SALINA SOUTH (1-6, 1-4 AV-CTL I) — Weis 1 (1) 0-0 3, 5; Peterson 4 2-2 4, 10; Arnold 2 (1) 0-0 3, 7; Janda 1 0-0 0, 2; Herbel 2 1-2 3, 5; Franco 4 2-2 2, 10; Hamel 1 (3) 0-0 0, 9; Ajderson 0 1-2 2, 1; Allen 0 0-0 0, 0; Nash 0 0-0 0, 0; Harris 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 15 (5) 6-8 18, 51.

NEWTON (0-6, 0-3 AV-CTL I) — Valle-Ponds 2 (1) 8-13 0, 15; Zenner 1 (1) 5-6 3, 10; Seidl 0 0-0 0, 0; Loewen 1 2-2 3, 4; Antonowich 2 (2) 0-0 4, 10; Koontz 0 0-0 0, 0; Hendrickson 0 0-0 0, 0; Entz 0 0-0 1, 0; Edwards 0 0-0 1, 0; TOTALS 6 (4) 15-21 12, 39.