Railer girls hold off Campus for second win

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Newton senior Lexi Valle-Ponds scored 13 points to lead Newton to a 45-41 win over Campus Saturday at Ravenscroft Gym.
Newton sophomore Gracie Hendrickson, right, scored eight points Saturday against Campus. The Railers sweep the Colts this season.
Newton sophomore Piper Seidl guards Campus senior Alyssa Brown during play Saturday. Newton hosts Derby Tuesday.
Newton sophomore Olivia Antonowich scored 12 points in a 45-41 Railer win over Campus at Ravescroft Gym.
Newton freshman Abigail Koontz takes a jump shot during play Saturday at Ravenscroft Gym.

The Newton High School girls basketball team learned how to win.

Saturday afternoon, the Railers learned how to hold onto a win, stopping Campus 46-42 Saturday at Ravenscroft Gym. The win was the Railers’ second in the past three games. The Railers sweep the 4-12 Colts for the season.

“I came out strong and my teammates kept pushing me, so I kept shooting,” Newton senior Lexi Valle-Ponds said. “I’m pumped.”

Valle-Ponds hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter, celebrating her 18th birthday. She finished the game with 13 points.

Valle-Ponds has played under four different head coaches in her four seasons.

“It’s been really tough,” Valle-Ponds said. “We’ve had to get our chemistry right with every coach. I think that’s been hard for us. But Tavis, this year, he’s got it. I had to really step it up this year because I’m a senior, but he got us where we are today.”

Listed at 5-foot-2, Valle-Ponds is one of the smallest players in the league.

“I just have to go out there and try and get it,” she said.

Sophomore Olivia Antonowich added 12 points, hitting three of five from the line.

“We had to all work together, but it all came down to this,” Antonowich said. “It was important for us all to step up. We were missing our senior guard (Marah Zenner). That was a little scary going into this game. We were trying to double our wins from last year. Maize South (on Friday) we played a lot better. We handled the press way better. We’re playing better each game.”

“It wasn’t easy, but they pulled through,” Newton coach Tavis Leake said. “I was worried. (Campus) ran some great sets and their girls ran them correctly. We just had to weather the storm a little bit better than they did.”

The area where the Railers kept Campus alive was the free-throw line. Newton did a good job of drawing fouls and getting to the line — fouling out three Colt starters — but Newton was 11 of 26 shooting from the line.

“We shoot free throws every day, but we struggled today,” Leake said. “Yesterday, it was the 3-point shot, but today we did a little bit better. Today, we struggled from the free throw line. We have to balance out which we need to spend more time on.”

Tya Tindall led Campus with 12 points. BreAna Garrett-Tillotson scored 10 points.

Down 4-0 early, Newton started hitting from the outside to take a 14-13 lead by the end of the quarter. Newton made a 14-6 run in the second quarter to lead 28-19 at the half.

Campus opened the second half on a 6-2 run. The Colts drew within three late in the quarter. Newton pulled back out by five, 36-31, at the end of the quarter.

Gracie Hendrickson opened the fourth quarter with a layup. Neither team scored again until Campus’ Alexa Thomas hit a layup with 5:50 in regulation. Newton turned the ball over on an inbounds violation, setting up a Garrett-Tillotson 3-pointer. Newton broke its drought on a pair of Antonowich free throws with 3:23 in regulation, but Campus came right back to tie the game.

Newton took the lead for good on layups by Camryn Entz and Antonowich.

Newton, 2-14, plays Derby at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The eighth-ranked (KBCA, Class 6A) Panthers are 11-4, beating Newton 54-22 earlier this season. Derby is on a three-game losing streak — all against state-ranked opponents.

“We kind of want to make a statement,” Leake said. “The girls continue to play hard. We can stay with anybody we play against if we do everything correctly.”

CAMPUS (4-12, 1-7 AV-CTL I) — Thomas 2 0-0 5, 4; Garrett-Tillotson 1 (2) 2-4 4, 10; Brown 0 (1) 0-0 1, 3; Nedeau 1 0-0 0, 2; Tindall 4 (1) 1-1 1, 12; Jones 0 (1) 0-1 0, 3; Smith 3 0-2 5, 6; Hubbard 1 0-0 5, 2; Laake 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 12 (5) 3-8 21, 42.

NEWTON (2-14, 2-7 AV-CTL I) — Valle-Ponds 0 (3) 4-10 1, 13; Seidl 0 0-0 3, 0; Loewen 0 0-1 5, 0; Antonowich 3 (1) 3-5 1, 12; Koontz 1 (1) 0-0 0, 5; Hendrickson 1 (2) 0-0 1, 8; Entz 2 4-10 1, 8; Blaylock 0 0-0 0, 0; TOTALS 7 (7) 11-26 12, 46.



Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com.