Top-ranked Central stops Railer girls

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Newton sophomore Piper Seidl looks to drive on Andover Central senior Bailey Willborn during play Friday at the Newton Invitational.
Andover Central junior Gracie Hett posts up against Newton sophomore Alexia Hernandez during play Friday in the 45th Newton Invitational.
Newton senior Lexi Valle-Ponds handles the ball during play Friday against Andover Central.
Newton freshman Abigale Koontz handles the ball Friday against top-ranked Andover Central. Newton plays Saturday against Bishop Carroll.
Newton sophomore Gracie Hendrickson posts up against Andover Central junior Brittany Harshaw. Harshaw scored 24 points in a 64-32 Central win.

The Newton Railer girls’ basketball team continues to make progress, they just picked the wrong opponent.

Class 5A’s top-ranked team, Andover Central, proved their point with a 64-32 win over the Railers Friday in the 45th Newton Invitational.

“We’ve played a very tough schedule this year, but it’s only making us better,” Newton coach Tavis Leake said. “We’re continuing to see improvement, which is what we need to be doing. They are a great team, They are well coached. They hit their shots. I told my girls I’d rather they beat us from the outside than have us standing around and giving up points in the paint.”

Central is 10-0, while Newton is 0-10.

Brittany Harshaw led Central with 24 points. Bailey Wilborn scored eight points to reach the 1,000-point benchmark in her career.

The Railers were led by Marah Zenner with nine points.

Newton led 6-5 with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter, but Central replied with a 7-0 run capped by a Brayden Wheatley 3-pointer with six seconds left in the quarter. Newton was outscored 27-8 in the second quarter as Central started hitting from the outside and getting steals.

Central extended its lead to 32 at the end of the third quarter, 56-24, to ensure the running clock in the fourth. Newton did generate several three-point play chances in the period.

Central opened the fourth quarter on a Harshaw three-point play and 3-point shot. The Jaguar bench went back in shortly thereafter.

Newton concludes tournament play at 5 p.m. today against Bishop Carroll. Central takes on Kapaun-Mt. Carmel at 3 p.m.

“I played a lot of the younger girls tonight,” Leake said. “That gave us a chance to rest our starters and get those younger girls a chance to play against good competition. We’re excited about tomorrow. That’s another chance to play good competition.”

ANDOVER CENTRAL (10-0) — Jefferson 1 1-1 0, 3; Wilborn 1 (2) 0-0 2, 8; Stearns 1 (1) 0-1 0, 5; Newfarmer 1 (1) 0-1 2, 5; Harshaw 4 (3) 7-7 1, 24; Stafanek 0 0-0 1, 0; Amekpofor 2 0-1 2, 4; Parker 0 0-0 2, 0; Rogers 1 (1) 0-0 1, 5; Snodgrass 0 (1) 0-0 0, 3; Wheatley 0 (1) 2-2 1, 5; Hett 1 0-0 3, 2; TOTALS 12 (10) 10-13 15, 64.

NEWTON (0-10) — Valle-Ponds 0 0-4 0, 0; Zenner 3 3-4 0, 9; Seidl 0 0-0 2, 0; Loewen 2 2-2 2, 6; Koontz 0 (2) 0-0 0, 6; Hendrickson 2 2-3 3, 6; Entz 1 0-3 3, 2; Blaylock 0 0-0 0, 0; Hernandez 0 3-4 3, 3; TOTALS 8 (2) 10-19 13, 32.

And.Cent.;12;27;19;8;—;64

Newton;6;8;10;8;—;32

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com